Blue October, O2 Ritz, Manchester

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Supported by Broken Witt Rebels, Blue October return to Manchester.

Almost a year to the day, Blue October, consisting of Justin Furstenfeld, Jeremy Furstenfeld, Ryan Delahoussaye, Matt Noveskey and Will Knaak, return to Manchester’s Ritz, and put on an astonishing show.

The night was opened by the Birmingham-based, soulful rockers, Broken Witt Rebels. With his gritty, Caleb Followill-esque (Kings of Leon) vocals, Danny Core’s power boomed throughout the quirky venue. Ending on ‘Shake Me Down’ from their self-titled debut album, Broken Witt Rebels left the stage to a rowdy applause.

Around 8.30pm, the lights dimmed, the photographers got in place, and Blue October entered the stage to the brutally raw track ‘Say It’, from their 2009 album Approaching Normal. Blue October’s older lyrics are well-known for their candid imagery, so the opening track containing ‘So now I breathe it out, I breathe it out, I spit it on the crowd ‘cause they lift me up, they lift me up, they lift me up’ was a perfect introduction to this extraordinarily talented bunch of people. They continued onto the heavier ‘The Chills’ from Any Man in America, and second Approaching Normal track, ‘Should be Loved’

My favourite thing about the night? The perfect chaos that is Justin Furstenfeld’s voice. He did not falter an inch. The emotion behind each track is delivered in such an intense, raw and even strained way at times, but it never, ever falters.

The 18 song setlist contained Foiled favourites ‘Into the Ocean’ and ‘Hate Me’, as well as the new, catchy and noticeably more electronic track, ‘I Hope You’re Happy’. And through each of the tracks, apart from the immense talent of each Blue October member, the main thing I was in complete awe of was the audience. Usually, you’ll go to a rock gig, and you know it’s a rock gig just by looking at the audience; the way they dress, their general personal style. But for Blue October, it was different.

You had Mohawks next to Adidas baseball caps, hippies next to metal heads, young next to old, and none of this deterred anyone from joining in with each and every song. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was involved. Whilst weaving in and out of the audience to grab some front of house shots, everyone was helping me, moving aside from their prime position to let me get ‘the best shots’. I’ve never experienced an audience like that. There was no pushing, shoving, beer throwing or aggravation of any sort. Just a bunch of people with the same, genuine love for this incredible band.

The stunning night ended with the bouncy ‘Italian Radio’, from 1998’s The Answers, and finally Sway’s ‘Things We Do At Night’.

The night was incredible. Blue October are incredible. If I were to give you one piece of advice it would be this: You need to see this band. You don’t need to know all the songs- in fact, you don’t need to know any of the songs – just go and see them, trust me.

Based in Central Manchester, but frequently found in other parts of the country in the name of live music. Otherwise, I am a departmental manager for a software company.

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