After six-and-a-half hours on a National Express Coach from London to Manchester, I was barely awake and more than just a little bit worse for wear on Friday. Even the fact that I was going to see Motion City Soundtrack for the second time in 2 days wasn’t quite enough to make me feel better. Had I known then what was in store for me that night, however, I would have felt completely different I’m sure!
I got to The Ruby Lounge in Manchester earlier than I usually would to a gig. I’d not been to this venue before and I was pleasantly surprised by it when I got inside – it wasn’t the dive I had been expecting! I had made some friends in the queue outside and we all got right to the front which was great, because the night before I had been subjected to people constantly edging their way forwards in front of me the whole time.
The support band for the night were Morain. They were less like Motion City, more like many other new bands emerging from the alternative scene. Even so, I found them to be very likeable… unlike a lot of similar bands out there. They made a good impression on me despite the fact I rarely listen to their style of music anymore, and it was a really pleasant way to start the evening! They even stayed behind afterwards to hand out free download fliers for their song ‘Islands’. This band reminds me a lot of Canterbury, who I also like. Having said that I do think I prefer this band live.
Motion City Soundtrack were welcomed like heroes into the tiny venue – it was even smaller than XOYO, the venue I saw them in the night before (a review of which you can read here). They wasted no time in opening with Attractive Today, instantly treating me to a song I was yet to hear them play live, from their album Commit This To Memory. Within the first few songs there were some technical difficulties, causing a few silences that were filled with some amusing stories from Justin Pierre about the lack of grapefruit in Britain and why he doesn’t understand rocket salad. We were even treated to a short rendition of his family history.
Their set list contained all the obvious hits and crowd pleasers that you might expect and a good mix of songs from all four albums. Naturally, The Future Freaks Me Out was met with more singing from the crowd than from the band, during which I felt I was part of something really very special.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints they were unable to play A-OK, however during the encore I was delighted to hear Everything is Alright and to my excitement, True Romance, being played live. Despite the fact that the song has only been out for a very short period of time, nearly everyone around me was singing along to at least the chorus.
After the show the band stayed behind to meet fans outside the venue in the freezing cold English weather, which I thought was a really cool thing for them to have done. I waited with the masses to meet Justin Pierre first, because as we all know, he is my ultimate hero and it had been my dream to meet him for a very long time. I can’t express enough how much of an amazing guy he was when I finally made it to the front of the crowd. Although he was resting his voice and therefore unable to speak to me, he communicated with me using his own special nerd-like sign language, signed something for me, had his picture taken with me and gave me a great big hug too. He really liked my Motion City Soundtrack bracelet I showed him, which I made myself and is something I wear almost every day.
I was also able to meet the rest of the band – besides guitarist Josh Cain who disappeared before I had the chance to look for him – and they too, were really lovely guys. I chatted to them about how I had seen them the night before, and that I was seeing them again in May at Slam Dunk North, and they all seemed really appreciative of this. They stayed outside chatting away with anyone who wanted to speak to them and it was this, along with their fantastic set, that reinforced the fact that they are my favourite band.
If I had the chance to do this all again, I would, and hopefully one day I will.