Waiting a long time for a headline band to come onstage is never ideal for the band or the crowds. We’re here at the pit barrier of Manchester’s Academy 2, moments before EVERYTHING EVERYTHING are about to come on, and have just been informed that the sound desk needs replacing. Ensues 30 or so minutes of soundchecking, with whooping and jeering from the crowd, as the guy checking the mics gets a round of applause and cheers after each successfully checked mic, eventually cracking up into laughter. Lucky for the band, this is Manchester on a Friday night and people are in good spirits.
We’re in a packed out room, and it’s getting uncomfortably sticky with the heat. The crowds are getting understandably rowdier and merrier by the minute as they squeeze in their bonus rounds before the band come on. Security is getting equally frustrated and we have a good natter – they have some great stories involving a Mr. Bieber, among others. Scanning the room, we have a mix of middle-aged men and women and a healthy collection of young ladies practising their screams on the front rows. This band has quite a following, but this is not really the crowd for me, if I’m honest.
Once on, to everyone’s relief (it is really getting too hot now), the band doesn’t waste any time in jumping into their set, lead singer Jonathan Higgs energetically bounding onto the monitors to get up close to the public. The screams take hold and we’re deafened by the combined blast of sound from the speakers and the screeching vocals emanating from the front rows.
Academy 2 is a strange venue – I’ve always felt it doesn’t have much atmosphere, but that doesn’t bother the crowds as they happily sail along with the set. Higgs apologizes for the delay, hoping to win over those members of the audience still feeling disgruntled by the wait. After the first few songs, the band seems to be finally hitting their rhythm, but I suspect that they’re not yet in their element. There’s definitely tension onstage, presumably caused by the delay. In terms of sound, I’m still locked, waiting to see the reason for the hype that has become to surround them. Higgs does have a good voice and the songs are interesting – you can definitely hear the potential, but I still need some convincing.
At this point, sadly, because of the heat, we have to make our way right to the back of the venue just to get some air. Our photographer has practically melted under the burning lights from the stage even just for the first 3 songs, and so off we go to get her urgently hydrated. Eventually, because of the long initial delay and heat issues, we’re forced to miss the rest of the set. Hopefully next time, things will run on cue and in a better ventilated venue, so that we can receive the ultimate Everything Everything experience. In the meantime, Academy 2 should sort out its ventilation issues, and possibly reassess its capacity intake, so that photographers and general members of the public don’t have to leave for fear of passing out part way through a band’s set.