BOYSETSFIRE - Live @ Manchester Academy 3: 20/06/2003

BOYSETSFIRE: Manchester Academy 3
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BOYSETSFIRE: Manchester Academy 3: 20/06/2003

The usual chore of the long walk down Oxford Road to the venue had a tinge of interest about it this time, solely due to the large number of people heading towards the venue. What could this mean? Have the lethargic public stood up and taken note of Nathan Gray’s verbal pleas for people to wake up and protest the injustices of this world? Was everyone heading to the hardcore punk gig as a show of strength and pledge of allegiance to the common cause? Alas, no, the reason for the large train of people heading towards the Academy was encapsulated on a plain white A4 poster on the wall “The Libertines, Academy 1, 20/06/03 SOLD OUT”.

Brighton’s pop punkers Hiding With Girls opened proceedings with a sincere and cheery start to the night. Metal punks Atreyu who took things to another level with a lively set that was much appreciated. ‘Somebody is standing on your chest’was the highlight of thrashing set. The sheer sincerity and anger of Boysetsfire was prevalent from the off, as they ripped into their politically savage opening track backed by abrasive guitar riffs: ‘Release The Dogs’ makes most other modern punk outfits sound like an Avril Lavigne tribute band.

With flowing shiny black locks that glisten in the bright lights like black beauty’s mane and a dark Mediterranean tanned complexion, Nathan Gray does not seem to have a great deal to be angry about. He soon rips into controversial topics such as the aftermath of 9/11 in ‘Foundations To Burn’ and public apathy in the face of corruption in ‘Eviction Article’, which gets damned to eternity:

“ When will the time come to stand and take it back from their hands.
Now the blood is on your hands, life stealing motherfxxxers.”

His sincerity and disillusionment is genuine and prevalent throughout the gig. There is not a moment where he sounds forced or sanctimonious, preferring to leave that to Fred Durst. Even the interim time between songs is passed with Nathan’s discoursing about Bush, Blair and respect in general. Also, he subtly tried to get a message to people who surfing more than internet caf frequenters, who were in danger of hurting others:

“How can we expect respect from anyone-else, if we don’t respect each other here tonight?”

The band’s genuine nature and left wing ethos is epitomised in the chilling ‘After The Eulogy’ consisting of a battering bassline and stern lyrics as the band enquire:

“Where’s your anger? Where’s your fucking rage?”

That is a good question.

David Adair