Much like people, bands grow and evolve as the years go by, but the progressions and growth spurt changes with some bands are a little more noticeable than others. Emarosa are one of the those bands, having moved from a post-hardcore infancy, alternative rock teen years, and now they’re in a pop-rock adulthood.
It’s a gradual change that admittedly not everyone has gotten onboard with, most notably the more pig-headed elitists who think changes in style should be unflinchingly rigid, but it’s a transition that sees the Kentucky outfit reaching for the stars, and just before their fifth album ‘Peach Club’ drops, they’ve made a rare return to the UK.
Opening up for the Manchester date are locals Tirade , whose injection of alternative rock with a few drips of pop-punk sounds like an amalgamation of Mallory Knox meets ‘Hold Me Down’ era You Me At Six. Tracks like ‘To Be Honest’ have a decent bounce to them, and there’s definite potential here, but there are some tweaks here and there that need to be made before this fresh faced outfit can show more of their worth.
Chapter And Verse  are well more versed and equipped for the live environment, even with an overly peripheral stage set up like that of Satan’s Hollow. There’s a degree of theatrics and dramatics embedded and weaved into works like ‘Ink’ and even in the more gritty ‘The New Breed’, and vocalist Josh Carter bears a soaring voice akin to Matt Bellamy of Muse.
Indeed, it’s hard to not be drawn into Carter‘s charisma and belting energy as he darts about the circular stage, and as the rest of the band is almost motionless without a single note or sound being uttered from them or the crowd, he stands atop of the stage monitors and borderline roars a passage before the band pounce back into the frame. Exceptional.
Essex’s Sun Arcana  face a major spot of bad luck just an hour or so before their set when they discover that they’ve had their tour van broken into and a great handful of their possessions stolen. It sucks, to put it mildly, and obviously it goes as no surprise that there’d be some degree of the band feeling down-trodden during their set.
Admittedly, it barely shows, and their alternative rock tunes a la Press To MECO meets ‘Modern Ruin’ era Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes holds a catchy groove. It’s just hard to invest into them as much after just experiencing the pull of Chapter And Verse.
It’s only a few minutes later when Emarosa  step up to the plate to take their turn, and right away with set opener ‘Hurt’ the five-piece have a firm grip on the crowd before them… well, surrounding them in this particular venue. It’s something that frontman Bradley Walden picks up on a few times during their 40 or so minutes onstage, donning a bandana and a black bomber jacket like he’s ready to star in a rendition of Grease.
The band stick to cuts exclusively from their past two and also their forthcoming record, which is expected. Songs like ‘Young Lonely’, ‘Miracle’, and ‘A Hundred Crowns’ show off their rougher edge, and the The 1975-esque ‘Givin’ Up’ is a bonafide pop-rock banger in the making just waiting for the right shove into the lime light to dominate the charts.
Walden explains that he’s recovering from a case of laryngitis which he picked up the previous week and is still trying to fight it off a little, and so encourages the fans before him to get involved where they can. They jump on the chance for ‘Sure’ and ‘People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play’, and the latter of the two actually sees bassist Robert Joffred climb upon Walden‘s shoulders as he wades through the crowd.
It’s the closer of ‘Cloud 9’ that sees the evening off as the crowning moment though. At times during the track’s chorus, Walden is nearly overpowered by the voices across the room. Before disappearing, he thanks the crowd and tells them “Welcome to the Peach Club”, and frankly everyone here is a proud member already.