Chiodos - Manchester Academy 3 - 5.2.09

YOU either love or hate Craigery Owens.

Lead vocalist of Michigan post-hardcore sextet Chiodos – as well as a gold-selling product of the MySpace generation - he is every inch a man to make teenage girls swoon, and twenty-something boys sigh.

Perhaps though, that is buying too much into a painfully overused stereotype. Delve a little bit deeper and tonight, in the enclosed and intimate setting of the smallest venue within Manchester’s Academy venue, there’s something a little bit epic about Owens – and his band’s - performance.

Ably supported by Derrick Frost’s pounding drums and the swirling synths/samples of keyboardist Bradley Bell, opener ‘The Undertaker’s Thirst For Revenge Is Unquenchable’ sets the tone for a set which underlines the heavier side of the band’s recorded material, the majority of which comes from new record ‘Bone Palace Ballet.’

More than three years since the band last graced the city – it is very evident that they have spent most of that time playing much larger arenas in the States: to say they are unfazed by tonight’s setting would be an incredible understatement.

Moving seamlessly between anguished screams and delicately beautiful harmonies, the front man truly comes into his own on crowd favourites ‘All Neroids Beware’ and ‘There’s No Penguins In Alaska’ – taken from 2005’s ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ LP – although the 300-strong crowd is in such good voice tonight, he could almost get away without being quite so pitch perfect.

By the time the set nears its close and the band play the anthemic ‘Baby, You Wouldn’t Last A Minute On The Creak,’ one thing is as certain as their song titles are infuriating:  Tonight Owens has Manchester hanging off his every word.

Words: Mark Orr
Photos: Mark Forrer

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