Live Review: Tonight Alive, Roam and The Gospel Youth - O2 Ritz, Manchester 06/03/2018
Tonight Alive hit up the Manchester O2 Ritz with huge supports Roam and The Gospel Youth for the opening night of a European tour. With all three having new material out in the last year we were very excited to see these three bands perform their new tracks.
First up we had The Gospel Youth a British band from Brighton who formed in 2014. Performing debut album ‘Always Lose’, the five piece pop-punk newcomers were a fantastic warm up act. Whilst they claimed this was the biggest venue they had played the lads from Brighton didn’t struggle to fill the room and with much of the crowd singing along throughout their set, these boys clearly have a pretty strong following already. Opening with song I Will Deliver You To The Fireflies all five lads had great stage presence and with ease warmed the crowd up for the evening. Continuing with songs Wildlife, Bloodlines//Love Stopped Me Coming Home, Kids and closing with Moods Like English Weather I really enjoyed The Gospel Youth and I hope I can catch them headlining venues around the UK very soon.
Up next Roam, the last time we caught the lads from Eastbourne was at Fatlip festival 2017 where they smashed the mainstage with their energetic performance. Tonight was no different with the lads bursting onto the stage full with as much energy as I remember them having at Fatlip. Performing their latest album ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ which is the follow-up from their fantastic debut album ‘Backbone’. The lads played songs Left For Dead, Flatline, Open Water and The Rich Life of a Poor Man. The later being my stand out song from the night and favourite off of the new album, this catchy song had the crowd singing along and moving the room from the first note and for a song that isn’t a single is quite an achievement, this clearly is a fan favourite. Roam closed with Playing Fiction their latest single from ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’. Overall I thought Roam had a fantastic performance and although on this occasion it wasn’t their own headline show I have no doubt these lads will sell out the O2 Ritz in years to come. If you haven’t heard or seen Roam live before you have a great opportunity to catch them this summer at slam dunk festival, they are simply incredible with their raw energy and catchy songs you’ll be singing, smiling and moving along by the first song.
The time came for Tonight Alive, a four piece band from sydney Australia, to return to the Manchester stage with another album titled ‘Underworld’, which was recently released earlier this year. Another album under their belt since we last saw them and they gave us nothing but high energy and they all looked to be enjoying themselves up there and this is what I like in a band, seeing them doing what they enjoy whilst appreciating the crowd for their attendance. From the off they had the crowd right where they wanted them, singing back their lyrics from old to very new and you could tell the packed out room was full of lifelong fans of the band and the crowd went crazy when they came on to the stage. The powerful voice of lead singer Jenna echoed around the room and enticed the audience in. Opening with Book of Love, it was clear a lot of energy was out on that stage and you could see the passion they have for their music.
Tonight Alive played songs from the new album which came out six weeks ago and were more than welcomed by the faithful fans as they were singing along as though they’d been out for a decade such as newly released single Disappear and Crack My Heart. As well as showcasing their new material Tonight Alive mixed in some old favourites such as Lonely Girl, What Are You So Scared Of and Listening.
You hear bands changing their sound over the years to what was nothing to what you would expect but Tonight Alive remain close to their roots and that’s what I enjoy about them, their new album still has elements of nostalgia from the older Tonight Alive songs whilst still remaining fresh to listen too. Saying that, the songs they performed from new album were performed as though they’d been performing them same songs for years too, completely and utterly effortless. I don’t quite know how they all had such high energy and it’s impressive Jenna can sing so effortlessly whilst jumping around the stage and filling it with her presence.
Every chance lead singer Jenna got to praise the crowd she did and it seemed genuine and between songs she engaged with the crowd and said some pretty inspirational quotes between songs with loud responses from the crowd each time.
In the middle of the set half of the band went off the stage and the bassist got an acoustic guitar out to perform Oxygen with Jenna from album ‘Limitless’ which was a beautiful way to calm the crowd for a song which deserves to be properly listened too and taken in. Afterwards Jenna instructed the crowd to jump for the next song which quickly picked the pace back up singing ‘I just wanna runaway and be free’ from the song To Be Free. Her voice is something special and they’re so infectious to watch live.
Jenna has the greatest stage presence of a front person that I’ve seen in a while, it’s no wonder they have been around for a decade now and still going strong, bringing out albums to inspire and get important messages out there with the added bonus of them being super catchy.
The song that was my favourite to hear live was How Does It Feel from album ‘Limitless’ and Crack My Heart from the new album ‘Underworld’ with its powerful vocal and the reaction it had from the Manchester crowd. Throughout the whole set Jenna had the crowd in the palm of her hands, getting them singing along and repeating lyrics back to her and the atmosphere of the room was something to remember.
After returning from the gig back to normality I feel myself wanting to dive back into the bands further, wanting to listen to everything I heard all over again. This tour is sure not to be missed, with new content from The Gospel Youths' debut, Roam’s new album and Tonight Alive bringing out another solid collection of songs to the table, I urge anyone to go along to a show and see the range of pop punk bands around today and a band who have been the placeholders for female lead rock music in today’s pop punk scene.
Words by Joe Mellor and Photography by Jessie Jones