It’s not a regular occurrence to attend a gig at an outdoor venue, at least not in the UK. Yet, following the tragic events that took place at the Manchester Arena in May, a number of shows scheduled to be hosted there had been moved, rescheduled, or cancelled for the coming months whilst repairs are carried out. Blink-182 went for the former option, instead occupying the amphitheatre makeshift venue that is the Castlefield Bowl for their first Manchester show in five years.
New Jersey boys The Front Bottoms  open up proceedings, and their folk-esque style of pop-punk is one that’s certainly rarely touched upon. Sure, there’s songs like ‘The Beers’ and closer ‘Twin Size Mattress’ are certainly worthy of a sing-along and a bit of a dance, but there’s something about them that’s a little difficult to take seriously, and that’s coming from the perspective of seeing an opening support act for a Blink-182 show. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s a guy sitting on a couch in the middle of the stage the whole way through.
Easily able to recruit and command a venue and crowd of this size for his own headline show, Frank Turner  and his fellow band dubbed The Sleeping Souls have the Castlefield Bowl in the palm of their hands from the get go. ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Try This At Home’ are just two of many highlights from a set of his jaunty punk rock back-catalogue. What’s more, his invitation for a fan named Becky onto the stage to perform a freestyle harmonica solo for ‘Dan’s Song’ was not only a moment of whismy, but one that also shows the close and relatable connection that Turner has with his fans.
After a five-year long wait since the mischievous pop-punk trio heading out their own headline tour of the UK, and this also being their first since long-standing member Tom DeLonge stepped down and had his shoes filled by Matt Skiba, on top of the horrific events that resulted in today’s venue change, there’s something in the air with this Blink-182  show that has everyone more on the edge of their seats and ready to get their pop-punk on than your average gig. Even the unexpected downpour can’t dampen spirits this evening.
Not far from being a greatest hits set, it’s the big guns that get the biggest booty shakes and fist pumps during the night. ‘Feeling This’ and ‘The Rock Show’ kick things off right away, and already the bar is pushed pretty high. Skiba fits into DeLonge‘s void with absolute ease, and no-one bats an eye at the absence of his distinct accent at the likes of ‘I Miss You’, ‘Violence’, or ‘Anthem Part Two’.
Of course, Travis Barker justifies through and through just why he’s dubbed so highly in the drumming world, not once seeming to appear at all tired whilst blasting away through new album culls of ‘Built This Pool’ and ‘She’s Out Of Her Mind’. Mark Hoppus jumps around all night, and him and Skiba clearly have some great chemistry, all coming to a climax of heavyweight hits ‘All The Small Things’ and ‘Dammit’ before showering the drenched Mancunian crowd whilst Travis‘ son Landon jumps on the kit himself to deliver the final blow.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.