Originally scheduled to take place in February, Los Angeles rockers Lifehouse return to Manchester after an absence of five years in which they've gone to release their fifth album. The band's sole UK hit charted at 21 a decade ago, so the fact that they can headline a venue with a four-figure capacity is nothing to be sneered at.
Support this evening comes from Brighton outfit The Crave, an unsigned act who certainly look the part of rockers with their tattoos and straggly hair, and they go on to prove a worthy choice to share the stage. With their output firmly pitched in the alt-rock genre, they blast through a 30 minute set of anthems which is topped by 'Breaking The Silence', the lead song from their album and a tune of rousing guitars and lyrics. Not many of the crowd will have been aware of them prior to the evening, but many should go home with at least an intrigue in the quartet.
Lifehouse's introduction number is basically a rousing way of saying "hello" but it isn't until 'All In' that the audience really become enthused, and it is followed by 'Here Tomorrow, Gone Today' in an opening section top-heavy with new material. The latter track shows off Bryce Soderberg's vocal talents, something that will be impressively displayed in full when he takes lead vocals for 'Wrecking Ball', but it is this second track that gains new life compared to its studio counterpart. Older favourites get a predictable reaction, particularly 'You And Me' and the aforementioned hit 'Hanging By A Moment', while an acoustic section allows Jason Wade to take requests and delve into a catalogue including 'Only One' and 'Storm'. It is also at this point that he makes a marriage proposal on behalf of a crowd member, much to the delight of those in attendance when a positive answer is confirmed. Returning back to the day job, Lifehouse produce a huge rendition of 'Take Me Away', an obvious favourite, while 'Broken' ends the main set in throat-straining fashion. A two song encore stomps through 'Halfway Gone' before 'Everything' brings the evening to an epic close and in which Wade delivers an emotive performance of a genuinely moving ballad. It may have been the best part of ten years to see the band in this part of the UK, but the wait was certainly worth it.