Against the Current

Manchester Ritz // Thursday 30th November 2023

Legends Never Die” – a MoshMag review by Danial Bowdler

When the world is calling out your name
Begging you to fight
Pick yourself up once more

And who are we to argue, that’s right dear reader MoshMag is back and whilst they’ll be no fighting on my watch here at MoshMag we were very willing to attend Against the Current’s recent Ritz gig.

It’s confession time, I cannot claim to be the biggest Against the Current fans I know. In fact I’m not even the biggest Against the Current fan in Chez Bowdler. That title falls to my Fortnite loving sons who frequently mess up algorithm on my Spotify account with various Fortnite related tunes, with Against the Current’s Legends Never Die being an easy favourite. So it was against this backdrop that MoshMag reacquainted ourselves with that business we call show at the band’s recent Ritz gig.

For the uninitiated, or those who don’t have kids obsessed with Fortnite, Against the Current are perhaps the archetypal pop-punk band, a genre I’m often loathed to use. Some people strangely take offence to the phrase but in the style of Joey Tribbiani I mean, what’s not to like? Pop, good! Punk, good! Against the Current, GOOOODD!

Costanza is a whirling hive of activity, every break in songs the chance to engage with her adoring audience from a raised platform at the front of the stage. The bands formative years of building an online following is as canny as it is modern. It’s how a band formed in New York can maintain an intimacy with a Manchester crowd thousands of miles away. That said, neither was this their first visit “biggest Manchester show we’ve ever played, sold the fuck out!” Costanza explained. They’ve come a long way from 2015’s Club Academy gig!

The Ritz itself lends itself to bands like Against the Current, a favourite venue of the magazine, so we were pleased Against the Current picked it to feature on their tour. I say picked, it wasn’t long into the show that the effervescent lead vocalist Chrissy Costanza explained this was the bands first UK tour as as independent act following their split former label Fueled by Ramen in August 2022. A bold move no doubt, but if the band work as hard off stage as they do on it it’s easy to understand.

Opening with “good guy”, Wildfire and again&again which frankly I could listen to over&over and which also saw our first audience participation with what my notes helpful describe as “crowd clapping thing” (we’re all a little rusty, bear with me). “We’ll be your hosts this evening and if you can and willing and able I want you to jump Manchester and mostly importantly have a great fucking night”. It’ll come as no surprise that “jump” from the 2021 Fever EP followed.

“Manny how we feeling?” Great until you called it Manny! (Sorry) Look I know that makes me sound like a grumpy old man, and that’s because I am.

To be fair I also don’t remember it bothering me at the time which I put down to Costanza’s infectious enthusiasm. Or maybe I was distracted by drummer Will Ferri whipping his shirt off mid-gig, who knows.

In defence of Costanza what followed was top drawer regional rivalry manipulation. “We’re going to London tomorrow” BOOOOOOOOOO “which means we only have tonight to make this a better show than London”. American’s seem to have an in-built ability to pull of this stage trick, a real old school classic. Anyway, barely a quarter through a 20 song 2 hours 33 minute set if the London show was proving even a fraction as popular the London crowd, we’re in for a treat. No backwards steps were taken and as the show reached its encore of weapon prefaced of course by Legends Never Die many of crowd were left wishing they were attending that there London the following night.

For those of you who missed this years tour entirely, firstly, where were you?! Secondly do not be alarmed, Against the Current are pencilled in for next years Slam Dunk Festival 2024 which teases at another chance to see them on these shores and (fingers crossed) perhaps another Manchester gig? Worst case scenario, you’ve got an excellent excuse to get yourself to Leeds in May.

And so this articles ends how it began, disgusting self aggrandisement. Legends never die they say, but sometimes they do take a little break from writing MoshMag columns. See you at the next one. Danny B.

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