Another early doors gig, as Hoobastank and Buckcherry hit Manchester, with support from Adelita’s Way. A bit warmer than my visit a week or two earlier and time for a chat with joint headliner Hoobastank prior to the gig – with Doug and Dan proving to be excellent company for the almost 30 minutes I end up chatting with them, the results of which will be on an upcoming Ghost Cult Podcast. After the chat, it is back down the stairs to take up what almost feels like my reserved spot at the barrier, ready for some entertainment.
There are a couple of hundred people in as Adelita’s Way take to the stage, picking up a decent response from the off as the crowd gradually increases. They’re a good fit for supporting Hoobastank in terms of their sound, with charismatic vocalist Rick having a great Rock voice, while the band sits quite firmly in the Alter Bridge style of alt-Rock. Big single ‘Notorious’ (sitting at over 15 million Spotify streams, Rick proudly declares) goes down very well with those in from the start and newcomers alike, with big applause at the end – though I found it a touch strange in terms of set construction that this was followed with a ballad, though ‘Criticise’ immediately following that was a good decision. It’s an enjoyable thirty minutes set that draws a deserved good level of applause from the now busy room at the end of the set.
Seeing as last year was the fifteenth anniversary of the release of The Reason (Island Records), it’s quite fitting that Hoobastank are touring with the album being played in full. Doug Robb‘s vocals are as powerful and melodic as ever, whilst Dan Estrin‘s guitar playing seems to have just improved even further still with his years playing live. Some of the crowd are clearly here for them, while others that were not so familiar with them will surely be so after this set. Fans old and new alike got fully into the songs, applauding loudly, clapping along, singing at the tops of their voices, the band weaving quite the musical web to ensnare everyone with.
While tracks such as ‘The Reason’ are ones I would always expect to be known, given their continued radio play and accessibility, it was great to see – as well as being a good reminder for myself – just how good even the album tracks were on that release. Hoobastank have time to fit in two songs in addition to the full album, namely ‘Running Away’ and ‘Crawling In The Dark’, which go down as well as the rest, drawing as loud a cheer as I’ve heard in this venue. The perfect reminder of why acts such as these have such true longevity, even in today’s more disposable musical climate.
Time then for the last of the evening’s entertainment, as Buckcherry take to the stage, straight into their cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Head Like A Hole’, a song they do a decent job with, in all fairness before stepping it up a gear with ‘It’s A Party’, which the crowd take great delight in singing along to – even more so than the previous. Vocalist Josh Todd maybe puts more emphasis on to their almost Punk-esque end of their material with his rasping voice, next declaring that ‘Somebody Fucked With Me’, the crowd as boisterous and wanting to party as ever.
A couple of tracks later, it was time for us all to get ‘Lit Up’ with the band, as they take the set back towards their older records, with another cover, this one declaring ‘Say Fuck It’, to the tune of Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’ – a derivative cover that works surprisingly well and one I probably wouldn’t have thought for them to do.
Josh’s voice sounds a lot better in the Ritz than when I last saw them in Manchester Arena, which had been a worry prior to the gig – musically, the band seldom put a foot wrong, but those Punk n’ Roll vocals can be hit and miss for so many bands, especially in an arena setting, that I’m somewhat relieved when this is the case. As the band move into ‘Warpaint’ from their latest album, the crowd seem a touch lost – hardly unexpected, given how new the track is.
There’s time for ‘Too Drunk…’ and ‘Sorry’ in the second half of the set before we get to a set-closer as obvious as Black Sabbath or Ozzy finishing on ‘Paranoid’ – it’s time for an extended version of ‘Crazy Bitch’, with a snippet of Ike and Tina Turner’s ‘Proud Mary’ just before the refrain for good luck. A busy room greets the end of the set with loud applause and cheers, a big sign of the bands having done their jobs right.
A night of discovery in our opener, a reminiscence of younger, less complicated times with Hoobastank and something a bit more in your face from Buckcherry. Great entertainment!
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY DJ ASTROCREEP