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AAA Music | 12 April 2021

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The Menzingers – Live @ Gorilla

| On 09, Oct 2014

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Friday 3rd October, Manchester

Punk politics can be very contentious, or at least it used to be when the term “selling out” was thrown around relentlessly, to the point where it could be used in any context of band seen to be doing something that was “commercial”; thankfully, that term seems to have been forgotten about. Punk as a genre is still thriving, whether it is new or old bands, the genre seems to be just as successful a sit was during the days of NOFX, The Offspring and Rancid, when they were blasting through our speakers for the first time. Not that the genre has rejuvenated itself, but it seems to have found a nice niche in which it can sustain itself, rather than relying on being a byproduct of mass market consumption.

Anyway, on with the first band on the bill, The Holy Mess, who couldn’t haven’t been further from the definitive meaning of a “punk” band. Taking cues from NOFX, No Use For A Name, and the list goes on, the band paid homage to iconic bands, but don’t let that word deter you, for it is a compliment to this band. They brought the energy, the hooks, and melodies galore. Having been institutionalised via Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph back when I was first discovering alternative music, I revelled in this band and what they had to offer. Even if they are not exactly my first port of call anymore, I was still able to respect and appreciate what they did tonight.

The Menzingers

The Menzingers

Next up was The Smith Street Band, who brought a different flavour to the evening, which was down to the more subtle tones the band have created, as opposed to the more abrasive sounds heard earlier by The Holy Mess. The band, for all their interesting textures, did not leave much of a lasting appeal with this listener, which I put down to the songs somewhat lacking deliveries that lit that necessary spark.

Lastly was The Menzingers, whose climb to the top has been nothing but exciting to see – from the first time I saw them in the now closed Moho Live, to here tonight at the Gorilla, in a packed room of hundreds, all ready and willing to give the band every bit of energy that they could muster. Much of the set was weighed down by their past two releases, but that did nothing to alter the atmosphere – with every song there were massive singalongs and it was truly momentous to see a band have this kind of an impact on a crowd; all the distance between the band and us, over land and sea, proves how well music can intrinsically bond us together.

Review + Photos: Joe Sheridan