It’s been a long time since live music was performed, at least to the extent of 3,500 capacity gigs. Only just coming back after over a year and a half of silence, concerts are anticipated and highly missed by the masses attending the events as quick as they come.

Yet, it seems these days, bands can just pick up a guitar, bass and some drums and think they’re a fully accomplished band. The thing is, there is a lot more to music than just the basis of instruments.

While harsh to say, AIRWAYS (4/10) performance was lifeless for a good four fifths of the set. No doubt they could play and sing, but is that all that makes a performance? No, its not.

Sadly, the quartet at first appeared as if they did not even want to be on stage, standing still and lifeless with the occasional movement from lead vocalist Jake Daniels, The music, while well played, came across as generic, unoriginal indie, the least they could have done is attempt to put on a show. However, this isn’t the end. With a bit of work and experimentation with stage personas, Airways can make themselves into a captivating live band.

Fresh out of the field and Covid-19 doesn’t help their situation in terms of performing and while they could have done better, it wasn’t entirely terrible. As their set progressed into their final two songs, the group finally started to come more into their element, exploring the stage more and interacting with each other much further than at the beginning of their set. It is just a shame it took a while for them to become comfortable enough to do this.

Next up, hailed as one of the UKs top rising rock bands was YONAKA (9/10). Rising through the industry in the last few years, it is easy to see how they have made it this far already. The Brighton-based quartet embraced the engaging eccentric performance they created, bringing full energy from the first second of their set.

Understandably, the crowd were hesitant to react to Yonaka, For many, this was their first large scale show in a full year and a half so getting back into the spirit of gigs is something most likely forgotten by a large proportion of the audience. Opening with ‘Seize The Power‘, the performance electrified the audience, despite the prior restraint and after three songs, its as if the hesitation never existed. . Mosh pits, jumping and pure energy throughout the entire set.

Rockstar‘ moved the crowd as a perfect way to close their set. While not as punchy and vicious as their penultimate track ‘F.W.T.B‘, the track instead brought a brilliant blend of melodic bounce, a wonderful way of bringing the crowd together for one last track.

Yonaka can control a crowd, be it the fitting light setup, the on stage connections or the fact they can perform brilliantly. Yonaka outshined the lineup and they are 100% a band to watch for certain.

Nothing But Thieves (8/10 have a clear fanbase. Selling out two nights back to back in Manchester, people knew what they were going to see.

Sadly, not every song appeared to be a hit to the audience. Aside from the obvious enjoyment for the band and music in general, energy for newer tracks such as ‘Miracle, Baby‘ left the energy lacking, both on stage and in the audience. While tracks off their latest LP ‘Moral Panic‘ went down with energetic ecstacy, unfortunately other tracks missed the mark.

Unperson‘ and ‘Phobia‘ translated much better to the stage than originally expected. From the audience, the energy, excitement and extravagance was obvious, the audience taking in every second of the concert. However, from the back it seemed almost as if something was missing from the performance as a whole. The quintet have ten years under their belt so they clearly have experience in performing, yet, there felt as if there was some unknown element they just failed to hit during the show/

The happy glances between bandmates was heartwarming to witness, the group clearly missed performing over the year, but on the other hand, the lack of humour and any sense of playful engagement made the show appear too scripted and added a lack of genuine happiness to be there. Humble thanks are always a guarantee from bands, but its the fun interactions and jokiness you often see in smaller shows that unfortunately loses its existence in such large gigs.

A long awaited concert for sure, its truly a sight to see so many eager fans connecting through music once again, especially after the lack of music as of late. Energies from the audience blew up beyond expectations during Yonaka and Nothing But Thieves, but it would have been nice to see more of a connection between the headliners and the audience together. It is something that will return with the resurgence of live music, and this was definitely one hall of a good start back into live performances.

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