I almost didn’t go.
I was not in the best of moods. I left work and managed to get slightly lost getting into Manchester. Luckily the new Hilton Hotel building can be seen from miles around to I just pointed the car at that. The NCP car park that I was heading to is just next to it, which was fortunate.
I managed to get something to eat and wandered around the centre for awhile, trying valiantly to kill some time. I didn’t really fancy standing outside The Academy for over an hour. But after walking around the town hall a couple of times I decided to head off down Oxford Road.
At about a quarter to seven there was already a fair few people milling about. In front of me were about 5 or 6 blokes and in front of them were 4 girls. Two of the girls were really the worse for drink. One of them kept asking anyone who would listen if they like Rancid. The other one was either lying on the floor or was leaning against one of the buses as if her stomach contents were about to make a hasty exit. “Do you like Rancid? I love Rancid me.” One guy with a mohawk helped the girl who had trouble with gravity up off the cold pavement. Punks do have hearts.
I can’t understand why people can only enjoy a concert when they are completely drunk. So out of their heads that they cannot function. Why would you buy a ticket to a concert months in advance, count off the days until the gig, only to get plastered a few hours before.
7:30pm came around and we filed in.
I had seen Henry Rollins at The Academy back in March but I’d never been to a concert there. Being one of the first 40, or so, people inside it was only a few people deep at the barrier at the front of the stage. Or at least that’s what it looked like from my spot in front of the mixing desk.
Kamikaze Sperm started things off and must be one of the few punk bands to have a saxophone player. That horn really cuts through the fuzz of the guitars, but after awhile the songs started to sound the same. The Unseen, who were energetic and passionate enough but I just felt that they suffered a similar fate. Possibly it’s because I hadn’t heard their material before. I remember listening to one of the more recent Rancid albums for the first time and thinking the same thing.
Speaking of which… the lights dimmed and the Rancid logo was projected on to the backdrop, then the faces of the band members. The first song kicked in and whole place went apeshit. Don’t ask me what it was because they all went by in a blur. Lars looked great in his grey striped suit jacket. I’ve never seen anyone in any band move around as much as he does. Tim kept spinning around and jumping off a box at the front of the stage and then off the drum riser. Matt just kept to his own side of the stage nailing those bass lines down hard. Brandon, the new drummer, was astounding considering that this was his first concert I think Lars said later on. All the while the screen is flashing up stills from zombie pictures and more Rancid logos and art work. As musicians they can’t be faulted. Tim and Lars exchanged the majority of vocal duties with Matt singing a couple of songs. The majority of the songs from And Out Come The Wolves was aired with an Operation Ivy song thrown in for good measure. For the first encore they played a couple of songs unplugged before blasting through Ruby Soho before the end of the show. I’m pretty sure it was Ruby Soho as this was the song that was buzzing around in my head as I wandered back down Oxford Road.
And to think that I almost didn’t go!!