Photo: Shirlaine Forrest
“Don’t put a band on a pedestal. Please don’t look at us as anything but equal to you” spouts Gallows front-man Frank Carter to his adoring rabble crammed into the sold out venue. He may wish to be seen on the same level as the sweat-soaked hoards before him, but they certainly piss all over other bands in performance, attitude and sheer entertainment. Gallows have somehow managed to battle through one of the most gruelling of tour schedules ever seen. Though any thoughts that this could leave them visibly drained and half-hearted were instantly dismissed as soon as they stormed the stage. On this staggering showing all the media hype and bucket load of praise hasn’t changed a thing. They still play as if their life depended on it.
Set Your Goals’ buoyant blend of pop-punk and hardcore may not have been everyone’s choice for tonight’s main support. But nearly all were won over by the San Francisco lad’s infectious energy and plucky attitude, not to mention their catchy-as-hell tunes. The set up of two lead singers absent of guitars already gives the band an intriguing edge, while their hybrid sound proves difficult to accurately pigeon-hole. But one thing is for certain - Set Your Goals are a stunning live act. Mountains of hyperactivity gave the distinct impression they maybe enjoying it even more than their fans down the front. But what really makes SYG so enthralling is their approach to song writing which is as refreshing as it is radical. With the first four songs on full-length debut ‘Mutiny!’ merging into one, their formula is simply perfect for a live show.
Relentless, ruthless and damn right ridiculous their set exploded into life with ‘Mutiny!’ and with the P.A. system geared for a gallows onslaught, the meatier sounding riffs gave SYG a menacing edge. ‘Work In Progress’ is a perfect sing-along while ‘We Do It For The Money Obviously!’ sounds awesome tonight. ‘Don’t Let This Win Over You’ even warranted Frank Carter lending a hand on the vocals, a nice show of respect from bands miles apart in sound. ‘Echoes’ has become Set Your Goals signature tune, a song so personal to both singers Jordan and Matt, upon seeing the crowds devotion they instantly adopt the widest of smiles. Finishing with ‘To Be Continued’ the sextet have put on a performance hard to begrudge and so easy to love. They are rebels without a scene, the way they always planned it.
Gallows are a band on the edge, something that makes their fans and even intrigued observers want to see every performance they can – in case it is their last. Rarely do they disappoint, and tonight they fucking rule Manchester. The slight frame of Frank Carter emerges to deafening devotion, his hand punching the air, before pummelling straight into current single ‘Just Because You Sleep Next To Me Doesn’t Mean You Are Safe’. Ripping his t-shirt off to reveal the more familiar look of his heavily tattooed torso, the red-haired rioter explains, “This song is about living in a shitty town” cue the skull-smashing riff of ‘Come Friendly Bombs’. The energy is mesmerising as Frank decides to hurl himself into the baying crowd, a few tugs from the burley security later and he is back on stage, claiming “Which mother-fucker tried to pull down my pants?”
Now time for the big guns, ‘Kill The Rhythm’ followed by the awesome ‘Abandon Ship’ showed just why they were the band of 2007. The songs still sound so vital and fresh as they are performed with such passion. ‘Rolling With The Punches’ sees Matt from Set Your Goals sprint from backstage to fly into the crowd, every moment something or someone is being transported by the sea of hands. Circle pits are as common as Mohawks at hardcore/punk gigs, but a pit that pushes a sold out room to bursting point due to the sheer scale is something to marvel. With almost half the crowd taking their place in it, mayhem quickly ensued. Earlier support and Fucked Up main-man even joined the party, proceeding to give Frank Carter a piggy back as he viciously spat out every lyric. ‘Will Someone Shoot That Fucking Snake’ was furiously followed by ‘In The Belly Of A Shark’ before they briefly went off stage in readiness of the inevitable encore.
The crowds rabid chanting for their return summed up just how worshipped the Watford boys have become. Upon their re-entry Frank pleads “Due to Lethal not being here, I will have to mc tonight, so please forgive me” He is already excused as the belting cover ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’ is played to perfection. There is only one thing left now. As soon as Carter screams “My name is Casanova, and I am basically a man” the room erupts into absolute carnage, as every word in chanted back with such burning passion. ‘Orchestra of Wolves’ was the only way to end, and what an end. With a show drenching in adrenaline, blood sweat and guts, Gallows showed how it should be done. With album number two finally in the pipeline, there is no doubt this band will rein supreme for as long as they want it.
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