Live Review: The Story So Far | Manchester O2 Ritz | 12/10/2018

The Story So Far’s Parker Cannon has become infamous for his live show antics whether they be good or bad. From defending crowd surfers from rough security staff at Warped Tour 2014 to causing controversy in the scene for violently kicking a lingering stage diver back into the crowd in 2016, the frontman knows how to get himself into the headlines. But since the Californian five-piece took a short break for the sake of his mental health and returning with their long-awaited fourth album Proper Dose, things have clearly changed. With Proper Dose seeing them strive further away from their pop punk roots while Cannon openly denounced his title of the genre’s leader, who knew what band fans would really be seeing tonight.

Fellow Californians All Get Out (9/10) fitted in perfectly with tonight’s line-up, bringing emotive alternative-indie breakdowns with the energy to match. Despite officially being classed as a duo made up of Nathan Hussey (vocals/guitar) and Kyle Samuel (guitar), there was such cohesion between them and their accompanying backing band you’d never have questioned their status. All members were comfortable facing the 1,500-capacity venue with Hussey confidently interacting with the audience without a waver in his speech. Their short setlist dipped into their two albums including ‘The Season’ and ‘Room To Talk’ and new single ‘However Long’, all of which sparked the interest of the ever-growing audience. Tonight, All Get Out were a prime example of why you should never skip the opener.

Unfortunately for Citizen (7/10), no matter how good your music is, if it’s even slightly slow or mellow then you’re going to struggle as a support act. While the crowd reacted well to heavier tracks such as ‘The Summer’ and ‘Roam The Room’, as well as minor anthems ‘Sleep’ and ‘The Night I Drove Alone’ – all taken from their break-through album Youth – they clearly lost interest during lesser-known tracks. During quieter sections and in between songs, the chatter from the now-full venue set an uneasy atmosphere, however they didn’t falter. Although they lacked stage presence and movement in general, they were weren’t awkward or uncomfortable in their static stances; they were just unbothered. After forming almost a decade ago though, this was probably just another run-of-the-mill set for the Ohio collective as they took it in their stride.

The Story So Far (10/10) made it known that Oasis were a huge inspiration when writing Proper Dose so it was only apt that they walked onstage in Manchester to the sound of ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ with Cannon wearing a huge green parka. He spent the majority of the set parodying Liam Gallagher’s stance: legs spread, hands behind his back with the mic stand positioned far too high – and the crowd lapped it up. After their verge on hiatus, it was assumed there’d be an air of nervousness for their first full-length UK tour in three years, however they were clearly back at home on the stage. Bouncing from popular hits such as ‘Nerve’ and ‘Heavy Gloom’ into brand new tracks of a completely different style, the audience went along without a drop in the atmosphere despite the change in pace. Stripped-back songs ‘Upside Down’ and ‘Take Me As You Please’ in particular stood out as they were played in concession but their dainty melodies and cutting lyrics only engaged everyone further. Ending the set with their most melancholy track ‘Clairvoyant’ could have been a shot to the foot for the pop punk giants, however rather than act as anti-climactic, it simply spurred on the already-emotional crowd.

The most noticeable part of their performance however was Cannon’s attitude towards the other members of the band, as tonight showed him very clearly trying to shake his frontman complex. Not only did he introduce each member individually, but when a faint chant of his name began he quickly changed the subject by saying “Hey! Did you know it was Kevin’s [Geyer, guitar] birthday two days ago?” This awkwardly unsubtle move proves that maybe there has been some serious development in Cannon’s character, which can only mean better things for The Story So Far.