Counterfeit have only been a band for just under two years. Having released an EP and just recently, their debut full length album, they’re making remarkable progress in their scene. Tonight, it’s the turn of Manchester’s Academy 3 to witness what they have to offer, after the release of their album, in the new phase of Counterfeit.
First support band Faux kick things off with Swimmingly- their vibe is slightly more mellow than that of tonight’s headliner, however it is no less impassioned. “This is a song about dogs, because dogs are better than cats” precedes Hot Headed, Faux’ leading track that is full of bite with a lofty, melodic chorus.Tigress bridge the gap between Faux and Counterfeit, with their pop-punk tinged brand of rock bringing some brighter tones to the evening, with some very Tonight Alive kind of vibes. Headaches, with its crunching bass and stilted verses is a highlight.Stan Rogers’ Northwest Passage hails Counterfeit onto their small stage, which feels like it should be much bigger given this anthemic entrance song. They waste no time in getting things underway though, with the palpitating Washed Out. Counterfeit have such an established alternative rock/punk sound about them- a perfect example of this is their newest single As Yet Untitled, which also showcases so many different influences, and the small venue acoustics bring a welcome scuzzy charm to the track. With such a hardcore fan base given the lifespan of the band, Counterfeit don’t even pause for breath between songs, and the crowd are just as tenacious, thriving off lines like “I wanna see you bleed for me!” from frontman Jamie Campbell Bower.
Addiction is a stilted, raw track that sees the vocalist hurling himself into the crowd toward the latter end of the song. You Can’t Rely goes off, as without a guitar Bower is free to notice what’s happening in the crowd below- “I feel very far away from you, I don’t like this barrier bullshit!”Letters To The Lost is an incredible point in the show, spurred by raw personal emotion; Bower stands with his guitar and a microphone on the dancefloor, circled by his audience, and details how the penned the song about his friend who took his own life. In the seconds after the song ends, there’s an eerie moment where everything is dead silent, where it all just sinks in.
In a snap, everyone is back up to full speed and Family Suicide is a sharp contrast to the previous. “For our beloved drummer and good friend James Craig, this is a home town show!” Bower announces, before Close To Your Chest sees him once again launching himself into the mosh pit armed with his guitar, underlined by yells of “I wanna be part of this shit!!” During the encore, Bower remains in the crowd- breaking down the fourth wall seems to be something that Counterfeit- the frontman especially- excel at. Final track Enough ends things with a circle around Bower, before everyone smashes into him simultaneously when the chorus drops.
It’s remarkable how far Counterfeit have come in such a short period of time- less than two years of being a band and they’re seemingly met with absolute tumult wherever they go. It’s so exciting to see, because Counterfeit promise (and are already proving) to be one of the sharpest new punk-rock bands on the scene.