Haken kicked off their latest tour once again in Manchester, selling out the Academy 3 to showcase Vector, the band’s latest album.

Opening with the first three tracks from Vector you knew this was going to be a special night. The band were so tight, not a note out of place and sounding incredible. The packed room was loving it, and this time the sound guy wasn’t wearing his headphones! The sound was much better than the last outing I saw here, helped by the packed room.

The new tracks sounded even better live, they really suit the stage and the people around me were loving it. Haken have a cracking back catalogue and pulled out some of my favourites. Highlights were 1985, Falling back to Earth, Nil by Mouth, Veil and the Architect. I say highlights, I’ve just listed the whole set ‘cause they were all belters. Ross was awesome playing the room, getting the crowd involved with epic sing alongs and just generally loving life. This is the second time I’ve seen Haken live and I was blown away the first time, I didn’t think a live band could be any better but they have proved me wrong!

I was waiting for Cockroach King as an encore because what else could they play? Crystallised! What a song to finish on, incredible! At the end of the set Ross exclaimed let’s fill downstairs next time, referring to the bigger venue of Academy 2. They will, and they deserve it, this is one of the best live bands you will see and they deserve to be packing out venues on tour. However, I’ll be honest, I selfishly love seeing them in this smaller, intimate venue. I highly recommend you see them before you’re watching with binoculars, but still go see them then too.

To end on, I took the gf knowing full well this was not her bag. She had nothing but praise, “Ross has a beautiful voice”, “they are all so good”. Granted she’d had three pints, but Haken has appeared on her Spotify playlist for the last week now, so make of that what you will.

Get out there and support this band! 6 stars out of 5!