Gratitude / Fastlane / Soon To Be September - Manchester Roadhouse 07.09.05

The amiable Fastlane appeared as though Malcolm McLaren hypnotised Good Charlotte to pretend they were a Bloodhound Gang, Sex Pistols and Metallica super group, going by the crudely titled mid-set number ‘Suck My Balls’. Focused emo-punk was proffered with spirit and chugging guitar loops by this Benji  Phillips fronted, Surrey quintet. They paid humble homage to the headliners of the show at every given opportunity and possessed a refreshing enthusiasm for their music. However, they could do with experimenting a little more than sticking to the litmus test of straight forward emo punk, although they did this to some extent in the above mentioned song that instilled a trace of metal into their set up.

Straight away the vigorous intensity of the Dillinger Escape Plan strangling Sikth sound of Soon To Be September hit you in the screeching and storming opener; ‘I’d Like To Burn This City Down’. These five Lancastrians channel anger, musical release and biting lyrics into a bubbly sewer of post rock, emo-punk and metal. They took on a more troubled emo feel in ‘Being Wrecks & Saints’, via the troubled and searing vocals of Kristov who reached out to the gathered with his friendly between song banter and his fervency during the ripping set.

The corrosive and careering bass lines of Adam Bradbury that would race alongside the vocals, provided bite to the proceedings, being most noticeable in the metallic and lacerating ‘Writing Death Threats’. The devilishly performed and titled closing offering; ‘Why We Want To Eat Our Lovers’ had an undercurrent of a melodic indie meets Thin Lizzy guitar riff that would occasionally draw the attention, as it was juxtaposed by thumping Avenged Sevenfold style bass and percussion, as well as the shrill disagreeable voice of Kristov. Soon To Be September provided variety and skill to make their anger and intensity palatable and compelling.
The former underground stonewall with Far; Jonah Matranga bounded onto the stage at a compact, sound concealing venue the like of which have been his bread, butter and marmalade for the bulk of his career to passionate soccer fan like chants of his forename. With crisp and tight backing from a skilful band, inclusive of former Crumb guitarist; Mark Weinberg, Gratitude soaked up the appreciation and utilized it to give added energy and passion to the bracing emo/post rock opening number; ‘Someone To Love’. Matranga’s longing and yearning Chris Conley crossed with Christopher Ender Carrabba vocals added honesty and sentimental power to proceedings.

Humble and deep hearted sentiments were projected by the endearingly earnest Jonah, who dedicated songs to people at their lowest ebb. Also, he appealed to people to stop blaming others (even Bush, although he proceeded to lambaste him at every given opportunity) and admit that they are part of the world’s problems and to start doing something about it. This feeling continued into the San Francisco outfit’s material that was mainly drawn from their self-titled debut album. The crowd became involved in a stirring rendition of the spirited; ‘Another Division St’.

The band’s feeling and life summarizing ability was epitomised in the commanding and musically soaring ‘The Greatest Wonder’, with the potent lyrics stunning you into submission;

“You cannot give somebody joy, but you can find it by trying,
   you can’t save someone from death, but you can love them while they’re dying’

Pleas from the front man to enjoy the evening and have fun were exuberantly indulged towards the end, with chest bearing male crowd members clambering onto the amps, obstructing views of the band with their rambunctious gyrating. ‘This Is The Part’ ensured that the main set closed in an uplifting manner and that the overwhelming word to sum up the enthralling evening is ‘Gratitude’.

David Adair

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