The Band's Huge Break Up Announcement Has Hit Indie Fans Hard
Bethan Shuff || September 20th
I’ve never left a gig crying until tonight. With a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat, I waved my last goodbye to a band that introduced me to a phenomenal sound, echoing social and political angst, and saw me through my adolescent years: The Enemy.
I arrived at the O2 Ritz in Manchester full of excitement, but with a heavy heart. I had seen The Enemy put on some insane performances before, at both Keele SU and Manchester Academy, but this was to be the last.
The opening support act was a 4-piece from Tameside called The Tapestry, In a male dominated industry, it’s so nice to see mixed gender bands and it adds a cool and edgy slant to the band and their overall sound. Drummer Zara and bassist Katy have got some real sass on stage; and add some beautiful backing vocals to layer Liam’s lead. They confidently took to the stage and played their first track before interacting with the audience with ‘Hello Apollo’ (despite us actually being at The Ritz…).The Tapestry have got Rock and Roll almost down to a T; throwing mic stands around, kicking kit about, slinging guitars, throwing drumsticks – you name it – it fits in perfectly with their Slaves-esque sound, particularly Dyna’s guitar and Liam’s screams. However, I did find it pretty amusing after a stage thrashing that Liam realised that he actually needed his pedals to not be half way across the stage and had to take a moment to reorganise; his stage presence reminds me of Ian Curtis in his movements and mannerisms. Brilliant start to the night from The Tapestry, though – definitely set some standards.
April occupied the main support slot; another amazing opportunity after supporting The Sherlocks back in February and performing at this year’s Leeds and Y Not! Festivals. April brought more upbeat, meaty tracks to the night, playing their crowd-pleasing single Ten Miles first. April have developed a great deal in the past months since seeing them at The Sugarmill in February; they’re more refined. Their reverb, Sci-Fi synths and wah effects give some proper cool, punky vibes as casually confident frontman, George, bounces from one side of the stage to the other (almost knocking a bottle of water onto his Apple Mac in the process!).Their penultimate song was what is going to be their latest single; it’s called Open Mind and will be released in the coming weeks. It features some funky guitar lines and really nice lyrics – I’d definitely recommend having a listen! Before leaving and throwing guitars own, April let us know we were in for a treat – and oh my, they were not wrong.
There was a half hour interval of classic indie music from Oasis to The Fratellis as we waited in anticipation for The Enemy to enter the stage. The boys modestly walked onto the stage and picked up their instruments and played Had Enough, Aggro, Be Somebody and No Time For Tears – 4 tracks from their first two albums. The atmosphere in the room was a lot different to The Enemy gigs I’d been to previously, it was like nobody wanted to talk about the elephant in the room, so Tom addressed it: ‘this is our last ever Manchester show… we can either be sad about it or do what you Mancs do best and have a f***ing party’, before erupting into the infectious bass line of Technodanceaphobic.
Andy is always the one riling up the crowd and getting them raring with his boyish charm and blatant raw passion for the music – the crowd went mad during the entire set, after all, it is music for the people.
This Song and We’ll Live And Die In These Towns were probably the most emotional of the main set. It was heartbreaking to watch the lads play them clearly upset, but so full of pride. After This Song, The Enemy left the stage as the crowd chanted relentlessly, ‘now, this song, is about is about is about you… now, this song, is about is about is about you.’ until they returned for another chorus.
We left Tom speechless as he tried to explain that he didn’t was to play the next song because that would mean they’ve reached the end: You’re Not Alone. We weren’t letting them leave that easily though. After the track we continued to chant This Song… Andy and Liam were walking off stage and Tom stopped and looked at the crowd in awe, turned to his band mates and simply nodded. Liam picked up his sticks and Andy picked up his bass, however was plectrum-less because he’d given it to me (oops). The boys performed a final chorus of This Song – you can tell they really are in it for the fans. To complete the night, Tome stood to the left of the stage alone, picked up his acoustic and announced ‘let’s end on a cheerful one’ before strumming the first few chords of Last Goodbye.
Tom stepped back from his mic just before the chorus and the crowd got there before him with ‘as I say my last goodbye’. He stood frozen and smiled, trying not to cry as he realised how much his music means to us all.
The Enemy will truly be missed by their fans, but it was a beautiful last goodbye in Manchester. Thank you to The Enemy for almost 10 years of incredible music.