Blink 182 and Castlefield Bowl were an unlikely match thrown together by the tragic events of Monday the 22nd of May at the cities arena.
Due to the arenas subsequent closure the stadium sized three piece left fans hanging as to whether there would be a gig in the city for several days causing intense worry, however they would eventually announce there would be a gig and Castlefield Bowl would be the venue.
Despite the event being born from such a horrific disaster the people of Manchester continued their admirable capability to continue to smile in the face of relentless adversity and as I walked into the open amphitheatre-like venue the mood was not one of looking back in anger, but of looking forward with excitement.
The opening act The Front Bottoms were well received despite their quirks (such as a guy sitting on a couch onstage throughout the set apparently contributing nothing) and soon it was Frank Turner’s opportunity to take the stage.
Frank continued to show why he’s one of the hottest properties in British music right now and utterly commanded a crowd which was almost tearing apart at the seams in desperation to see their headline act, although his confidence was probably helped by his own status (he is able to headline venues of a similar size alone anyway).
From the second Frank Turner left the stage an eager anticipation set in to the crowd like a happy unease as every second dragged them tantalisingly closer. Then eventually this tension was smashed into a thrashing river of dancing spectators as the band burst into their signature opener “Feeling This” inciting widespread delight.
This was followed relentlessly by another classic in “The Rock Show” which had fans moshing themselves into dizzy exhaustion before the high tempo was continued by “cynical”. This was the first song from the new album “California” and the intensely passionate crowd reaction indicated that the Blink 182 of Matt Skiba still possess the punk rock mastery which once skyrocketed the band to fame with ex-member Tom DeLonge at the helm.
It was around this time that in true British fashion the heavens erupted and a torrent began to cascade down upon the revellers.
However Mark Hoppus’ high octane style of fronting a band gave him the charisma to turn the rain from a problem into simply another element of the chaos (think Prince’s super bowl show but with his hair gelled up like 2004 never ended). Hence as the band powered into “Anthem Part Two” the crowd was at full throttle and would remain this way throughout most of the set, even moshing to comical songs like “Built This Pool”. Although even this crowd took a moment to incite a mass singalong to emotional classic “I Miss You” which continues to shine brightly despite the loss of DeLonge’s iconic vocals.
When the time finally came for the band to leave the stage in the wake of “Los Angeles” the crowd were not for one second thinking about leaving and began to relentlessly chant for more. As expected Blink finally returned crashing into commercial success “All The Small Things” and the crowd continued their high pace even at this late stage.
Soon they erupted into their long-term closer “Dammit” which unleashed wild fervour and intense circle pits which broke out viciously all over the crowd. The song then rolled into a high powered instrumental where Travis Barker’s son Landon played a drum solo in his place and helped close proceedings beautifully.
This performance overall helped to show that Blink 182 even without Tom DeLonge are not only still apt musicians but that they are undoubtably one of the world’s super-bands thrusting guitar music into the mainstream with a relentless capability to inspire and succeed.