Live Review: Against The Current w/ The Faim | 02 Ritz Manchester | 23/09/18

The typically dreary, post-summer Manchester weather welcomes New York pop-rockers Against The Current ahead of the release of their second studio album Past Lives. With hundreds of fans queuing around the block, eagerly awaiting the moment the venue opens its doors, the miserable weather proved to be no match for the electricity and excitement in the air as Against the Current make their long-awaited return to British soil.

Kicking the evening off were Aussie rockers The Faim (9) whose sound blends a mixture of dark, synthesised melodies, with infectiously buoyant, thumping choruses. Following the release of their brilliant debut EP Summer is a Curse in September, it would seem that they have somewhat of a mountain to climb in order to win over the room filled with fans anxious for the main act to hit the stage. As the lights went down, the whole room were immediately captivated by a 'Reign in Blood' style drum intro as each member entered the stage, they then confidently declared their arrival by launching into 'My Heart Needs to Breathe'; a track from their latest EP.

Right from the get-go The Faim truly made the stage their own, which in turn sparked an incredible amount of participation from those in attendance. The energetic, feel-good tracks such as 'I Can Feel You' and 'Saints of the Sinners' had the whole room bouncing and completely enthralled with what was going on in front of them. What was being witnessed was more akin to a double headline show rather than just a support slot. The Faim's ability to drum up the crowd into a passionate craze and create an unparalleled party atmosphere is something to be truly commended, especially when considering that the majority of the people in the room were their solely for the main act.

The band's tact and versatility truly shone in the sets more subdued moments such as in the ballad-like 'A Million Stars'; which at this point had everyone intently hanging on vocalist Josh Raven's every word. There is no doubt that The Faim's gloriously eclectic set captivated the minds of the entire crowd, and if there was anyone who wasn't a die-hard fan before, they certainly were now. The bar had been set incredibly high and Against the Current have a herculean task on their hands in order to follow a performance like that.

Opening with 'Strangers Again', the first track from their new album, then jumping straight into another new track 'Personal', Against the Current (8) burst onto the stage with an explosive energy that soon negated any Sunday blues possibly floating around the room. The incredibly receptive audience reaction to what was two of the bands latest singles could only be further indication of how anticipated their second full-length album is among fans. The response to the four songs already released from the new album were like they'd been fan favourites for years, with plenty of people passionately shouting the lyrics back towards the stage and devotedly singing all of the gang vocal sections.

Moving into more familiar territory with 'Chasing Ghosts', the packed house were energised by the return to their much-loved debut album In Our Bones. It might have been a while since the band's last run of UK headline shows, but the Manchester crowd gave everything they had to make them feel right at home.

In between songs vocalist Chrissy Constanza encouraged everyone to party like it's still a weekend despite a lot of people going back to the monotony of modern life the next day: even going so far as to extend the offer of a doctors note from “Dr. Chrissy”. Keeping within the same vein, the band then jumped into another much loved classic 'One More Weekend' – much to the delight of the fans.

Against the Current put together a set which felt completely 'for the fans' – not only in the way the setlist was constructed, but in the humbled performance and immense expression of gratitude throughout. The whole set had an air of 'we wouldn't be where we are without you' and nothing expressed this more than the encore. The band ended what was a truly astounding night with two more fan favourites: the title track from their debut album 'In Our Bones' and the synth-heavy 'Wasteland'.

With both The Faim and Against the Current wholly captivating the crowd and giving performances that left nothing in the reserve tanks, one thing was certain - there's no better way to spend an otherwise dreary Sunday evening.