Date: November 29th 2017
Venue: Club Academy, Manchester
Support: First Blood / Silent Planet / Being As An Ocean
One thing that hardcore and alternative acts offer in their material far more often and in far more depth than today’s pop landscape are messages more about the world, society, and more global and widespread struggles. One band that has been waving that banner long and proud are Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns, and with freshly released sixth record ‘True View’, they still have an awful lot to say and showcase on their tours, including tonight in Manchester.
Californian hardcore boys First Blood  have been slogging it for about 15 years now, and with a resume of members formerly and/or currently in the likes of Terror, Born From Pain, and No Turning Back, they know the genre and what the fans want like the back of their hands. Unfortunately, it falls a little flat and lacks a bit of spark tonight, but the likes of ‘Rules Of Crisis’ still gets a bit of 2-stepping going.
Things take a bit more of a melodic route when Silent Planet  take to the stage. Bordering on spoken word at times in a post-hardcore style a la La Dispute and Pianos Become The Teeth with a bit more of a slight progressive/djent undertone akin to Northlane, their messages are deep, meaningful, and engaging. Frontman Garrett Russell speaks with the upmost conviction about some world and personal issues and tribulations, such as human trafficking and mourning the loss of a loved one, and as we’re sucked in to every word uttered or shouted from his mouth, it’s all over.
After a few speed bumps with label changes in recent months, you’d think that things would take a gradual stop for Being As An Ocean , but it seems even that can’t stop them. Their latest and more electronic weaving record ‘Waiting For Morning To Come’ takes most of the set’s focus, and the whole room sings in unison to the likes of ‘Dissolve’ and ‘Black & Blue’. Sadly, at least in this tiny and intimate setting, the thundering bass and thrum of ‘Thorns’. It’s strange that they don’t once showcase anything from their 2015 self-titled effort, but frontman Joel Quartuccio jumping right into the middle of the crowd to scream alongside their fans during ‘Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes The Air’ stands as a clear highlight.
Always provoking thoughts and equipping their melodic hardcore bangers with powerful and socially conscious messages, Stick To Your Guns  are as heavy in their message as they are in their songs. Right away, the room opens up, and fans start jumping into the pit and throwing their limbs around during set opener ‘3 Feet From Peace’, and they more or less continue on from there for the remainder of the set.
Frontman Jesse Barnett is suffering from a throat infection, as per advice from a doctor as he explains later in the evening’s set, which result in him omitting a few acoustic renditions from the performance, but somehow he still manages to sound captivating in his cleans, and intense in his screams through the likes of ‘The Sun, The Moon, The Truth’ and ‘What Choice Did You Give Us?’, the latter of which has the crowd leaping and surfing over the front rows to get closer to the band, which shouting the call-to-arms chorus in unison.
Though a slightly shorter set for medical reasons, and rightfully and justifiably so, Stick To Your Guns aptly stick to their guns, and deliver a rousing and spirited set that they so easily could’ve postponed.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)