(by Tom Leucine) (Photo’s by Claire Lousie Parkinson)

I managed to score last minute tickets to see New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong and Crime In Stereo in Manchester. I’d originally planned to see them in Liverpool until the gig was moved to Manchester (so they got two), then Manchester but it was sold out, then Leeds until a nameless individual who was supposed to get tickets left it too late so they were sold out too. Therefore, it was a result to manage to get tickets so last minute.

I arrived at the end of Crime In Stereo’s set so didn’t really appreciate them as much as i could. However, after listening to them on MySpace I have been very impressed. They play fast, melodic, upbeat punk kind of like the Gaslight Anthem. They are definitely a break from the normal and expect to hear a lot from this band in the future.

Next up, Four Year Strong from Massachusetts. This band were the selling point for me, I loved this bands debut CD Rise Or Die Trying and caught a quick sample at this years Give It A Name Festival and was very impressed. They play a combination of heavy doublebass, breakdowns coupled with synth and pop-punk and managed to get the whole crowd jumping. The dual vocals of guitarists Dan and Alan compliment each other superbly whether back up lyrics or the thick harmonies as well as synth player Josh occasionally picking up the mic to scream some catchy lines the whole crowd join in with. They finished with the song Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die, the standout track for me of their first album.

Following them came Set Your Goals from San Francisco. Like Four Year Strong they have dual vocalists, however, both of instrument-less. Like the band before them I was eagerly anticipating their set having enjoyed there debut album MUTINY!!!. They play straightforward punk-pop with a few hardcore elements but nowhere near the extent of FYS. Unlike a lot of punk-pop bands however, who sing about breaking up with girls and not getting into the baseball team Set Your Goals sing more about not selling out, taking risks in life and not being forced into religion. Both singers, Matt and Jordan’s vocal skills compliment eachother again, one being high and the other low as to create a natural harmony. The transitions between there songs are so seamless you may not even notice that a new song has started. The finished with their song Echoes which ends with a catchy and harmonious “da, da, da” that everyone joined in with. The whole performance was fantastic and the crowd buzzed off them and set up perfectly for the headline act.

New Found Glory. I’d only caught them before at festivals or support slots so it was good to finally get a good long set from these guys. They still sing with the youthful energy they began with even though they must be getting on a bit now. I’m not too familiar with there newer material but the songs I did know where performed perfectly. Lots of crowd interaction and you could tell they care about their crowd, stopping one song when a crowd surfer ate the floor and knocked himself out. They played a mixture of old and new as well as their famous cover of Sixpence None The Richer’s Kiss Me, an amazing version of The Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris and an ear-clenching recital of the Never Ending Story theme. They finished with the fantastic My Friends Over You probably there biggest song to date.

After the gig we went to Satan’s Hollow where Four Year Strong, Crime In Stereo and Set Your Goals were out for a good night out so we had a good chat with them too which was fun!