By Callum Baker
Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield
Friday saw the hotly anticipated return to Manchester of pop-punk titans, The Story So Far. A nominal upgrade from their last UK venture, the renowned O2 Ritz played host to the night’s congregation.
A major draw for many attendees was the unity of the headliners and their main support coming in the form of emo rock heavyweights, Citizen. There was a notable consistency of energy and appreciation for the duration of both acts’ sets. This is indicative of their already well-established collective listenership implicitly acknowledged by Citizen, who wasted no time with the ritualistic formalities often expected of support acts with a crowd yet to win over.
In the politest possible way, Citizen and The Story So Far are largely two sides of the same coin – the former exploring the morose and sullen side of punk, whereas the latter are often characterised by their somewhat optimistic sentiment. Citizen frontman Mat Kerekes is a presence, to say the least. His broad frame starkly contrasts his emotionally charged and transparent lyrical content. This is elegantly unified with the band’s resonant, slacker guitar melodies and occasional sweet moments of grit.
The Story So Far, though gradually exhibiting signs of maturity as musicians and lyricists, don’t immediately establish themselves as a band who are interested in taking themselves too seriously. The band walk out and are subsequently joined by frontman Parker Cannon, swaggering into centre stage in an unquestionably Gallagher/Bez-esque manner. This, though baffling and somewhat unbecoming of the Californian and quintessentially American rock band, is largely welcomed by the crowd, predominantly composed of Mancunians.
The band power through a set which neither misses a beat nor overstays its welcome. Touring immediately off the back of their newest release, Proper Dose, which has succeeded a brief off-the-grid interval, they recognise the album’s need for a longer teething period before subjecting audiences to a proper showcase of their most recent work. As a result, they limit themselves to only select picks from their latest effort – a move that takes a lot of artistic self-reflexivity. Show goers are treated to a seemingly effortlessly delivered set which highlights every moment that has secured The Story So Far as one of the more credible staple pop-punk bands in a scene that is otherwise rife with sickly sweet oversaturation. The band re-join the room in a synergetic performance of fan-favourite ballad, ‘Clairvoyant’ – exuding emotion and electricity throughout the Ritz’s walls, fans are left on a soaring high note.