The last time that Kentucky’s Emarosa were on tour and performing in any capacity in Manchester was on December 8th 2010. That’s right, almost six whole years, and a lot has changed in that time; only two of those members part of the band back then still remain, and the band have released an EP and two full-length records, the latest ‘131’ being the reason that they’re finally back in the UK.
Before they come to show their faces again, British newbie Grumble Bee  (or, Jack Bennett) has been popping up all over the radar lately, and the opening slot on this tour is just another time to show face. Accompanied with Callum Connell and Zach Phelps to help recreate his work live, there’s a more gritty likeness to Royal Blood about them. The show’s clearly all about Bennett, as it should be, and if tunes like ‘Sky Writer’ don’t show that, Bennett sprinting around the Sound Control basement with his guitar in hand for their closing moments sure will.
Things enter a more pop-rock realm with following act Sykes . The London trio sound like a less accessible Echosmith, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They’ve got a few hooks here and there, and vocalist Julia Sykes has a decent set of pipes on her, but their dulcet tones are not enough to captivate and keep interest. The backing vocal tracks, though of course aren’t a crime, just add further injury, and guitarist Kristian Taylor barely singing along a good foot or two away from the microphone isn’t helping.
With almost six years of anticipation to make up for, Emarosa  have an awful lot riding on them for this performance. Thankfully, they more than make up for their over half a decade long absence. The stage is a little small, but the melodic alt rockers full use of their space and the crowd before them. Bradley Walden‘s pipes soar through the likes of ‘Mad’, ‘Miracle’ and ‘Blue’, and, despite much discussion to put their two albums to bed on the live circuit, he proves that me more than cuts the mustard against Jonny Craig when the blast out the classics like ‘Set It Off Like Napalm’, ‘Heads Or Tails? Real Or Not?’, and ‘Truth Hurts While Laying On Your Back’.
What really sticks out and makes Emarosa‘s performance all the more enjoyable, however, is just how much they’re clearly enjoying it. Walden rides on someone’s shoulders in the crowd at one point, and the next he lifts and flips bassist Ryan Kienie off the ground in a full 360° like a Catherine wheel. They’ve clearly missed being here, the first time ever for Walden, who closes the set by thanking the crowd and muttering “We’ll be back next year.” Emarosa, we’ll see you then.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)