LIVE: Taste Of Chaos @ Academy 2, Manchester (30/10/2008)

Venue: Academy 2, Manchester
Headliner: Atreyu
Support: Smudge, HORSE The Band, MUCC, As I Lay Dying, Story Of The Year


Hosting mainly hardcore, metal, and alternative bands, annual worldwide music rock tour Taste Of Chaos exhibits a selection of bands that aren’t really all that huge, but people within that market of music would probably consider them fairly popular. When the tour hit the UK this year, the venue sizes have reduced dramatically from that of last year, with one show on the tour leg decreasing from Manchester Apollo to Manchester Academy, and then degrading once more to Manchester Academy 2. Though, this doesn’t affect the quality of the bands on show for the paying fans.

As with every other venue on the UK Taste Of Chaos tour this year, Manchester has a local opening band opening up the show as chosen by Ernie Bell. Smudge (***) are the winners this year, and get the show started nicely with their alternative rock/pop-punk melodies and upbeat songs to keep the mood high and spark movement and energy into the audience for the acts to follow in their place.

Not sticking to usual conventions in pretty much every field in musical performance, HORSE The Band (****) tick very few boxes on what you’d expect from a gig, and create a whole set of new ones instead. Not taking themselves half as seriously as most other bands would seems to be a working method, earning a large amount of energy from the spectators within the first few rows, moshing and dancing to their ‘nintendocore’ tagged music. In-between songs like ‘New York City’ and ‘Murder’, the banter is just as bizarre and crazy as their visual performance, introducing themselves in third-person and even stating their merchandise is made from free range wood.

Adding an Asian touch to the line-up, Japan’s metal rockers MUCC (**) take to the stage dressed for the part, covered in a range of modern glam gear, and frontman Tatsurou sporting black robes and dark eye make-up. Though their cultural difference to that of the UK should be taken onboard, you can’t help but giggle at the way Tatsurou dances with the air during their set, and stomps around during the band’s heavy breakdown sections. The thing is, it seems like it’s only Tatsurou and guitarist Miya who are trying to put the effort in, and appreciating the applause they received. With that in mind though, asking Manchester to shout “fuck yeah” and asking if they’re having a good time between every other song quickly becomes tedious.

Taking things up another level in terms of heavy music, As I Lay Dying (****) instantly receives an upstart from the crowd, and sees the first wave of crowdsurfers, and a generally large sized circle pit. As I Lay Dying are pumping up the crowd with the greatest of ease, encorouraging the crowd to mosh, scream, and generally have a good time, and are just as energetic as the people who’ve paid good money to see them perform. What’s more, songs like ‘Nothing Left’ and ’96 Hours’ proving to be fan favourites with most of the lyrics sung (or mostly screamed) right back at Tim Lambesis and co.

Story Of The Year (***) add a bit more of a hardcore punk atmosphere to the evening, and it is welcomed with open arms. The interaction between the crowd and frontman Dan Marsala is almost intimate, with whatever Dan asks the audience gives. Charging through a set of energetic hardcore punk rock, Story Of The Year receive many circle pits and sing-a-long moments to songs like ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Choose Your Fate’ to display appreciation from fans in the crowd. The band members are working round the stage, not giving a moment to stand still.

After the whole warm-up and build of excitement for this year’s headliners, you would have thought Atreyu (***) would’ve had a little bit more in them to reward the patience of their fans. Mainly sticking to newer material, like ‘Blow’, ‘Becoming The Bull’, and ‘Falling Down’, making their performance not quite as heavy or intense as it could have possibly been. Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean Atreyu played badly, pulling off every song with few flaws, and keeping the crowd moving and excited to see them onstage. Though, again like earlier act MUCC, it seems they’re trying a bit too hard to receive the praise and recognition they didn’t need to work so much for, asking for phones and lighters to illuminate the floor. They finish the night honourably though, with set closer ‘Lip Gloss And Black’ easily contending for the best moment of the night. The band are keeping the crowd amused nicely, and the few mosh pits that have been created are showing their love back. The band even ask at the end for the whole room to go on their knees – from the front of the room to the back – and jump up in unison for when the song kicks back in.

Taste Of Chaos has been more chaotic in the past, but a good night nonetheless. Arguably though, it seems this year’s UK headlining act in some ways were surpassed in quality by their earlier performing side acts.

Written by Zach Redrup
Photo taken by Joe Ivers –