A soundtrack of classic songs from local bands plays over the speakers of the O2 Ritz in Manchester. The walls are already sweaty and crowd lively from the great opening sets from Orphan Boy and Prose. The Enemy are embarking on their final tour of the country after a successful ten years in the business; it’s a shame that farewell tours are becoming ever popular these days.

Entering the stage, the three Coventry boys smash their way through Had Enough and Aggro, which is suitably titled when viewing the Northern crowd. “We’ve played this venue loads of times before, but never has this stage ever shook, but let me tell you, it is shaking Manchester!” Be Somebody and No Time For Tears from second album Music For The People are both huge, the band sound tight which shows their experience and time together as a trio. The crowd tonight is full of the die-hard fans that transcends all ages, from ’freshers’ to older couples.

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The band state that they’re going to play every song from first album We’ll Live And Die In These Towns; “this album means so much to a lot of you, so enjoy”. The band smash through Technodanceaphobic which is clearly a crowd favourite, shirts are off – there’s a real party atmosphere building in the O2 Ritz. Pressure is full of mosh pits; guitarist Andy Hopkins is incredibly animated and his rapport with the crowd is strong. Vocalist Tom Clarke is passionate about the lyrics he’s chanting, but is still note perfect throughout. It’s Not Okay gets the biggest reaction so far, it’s deafening from the crowd singing the relatable lyrics back; a real song for the working class heroes.

The pace and energy drops when the band play Everybody Needs Someone, there’s still mass singalongs but this break is needed to build again for the seconds half of the set. Happy Birthday Jane is also a slower song, but an absolute anthem. Clarke’s aggressive and rugged edge to his voice suits the more acoustic songs, adding passion and meaning to the lyrical content. Camera phones are out in force to film this song in particular, helping the fans to remember this moment and this band forever.

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“This is off our 4th album, which no one heard because the radio didn’t wanna play it, but we love this song so…” Clarke states before building the pace back up with Some Things. Before the band can even begin the next song, the crowd begin to chant the chorus from This Song which is the next on the set list. All three members are taken aback by the amount of love and passion shown by the dedicated fan base, it’s an emotional moment. This song… pardon the pun, is the best song of the evening, it’s a shame that this is going to be the last tour that it’s ever heard on. The band leave the stage at the end of the song and the crowd take on the role of vocalist, all in unison. After a few minutes, the band return and smash through the final chorus of the song. Don’t Let Nothing Get In The Way and We’ll Live And Die In These Towns are magic and there’s not a member of this audience without a smile across their face.  40 Days and 40 Nights is full of the aggro demonstrated at the start of the set and seamlessly the band slip in a cover of Ghost Town by The Specials in the final part of the song. Away From Here was always going to get a great reaction and neither band nor crowd are disappointed.

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“It’s that time Manchester, I don’t want it to be… but it is” Tom Clarke bellows, You’re Not Alone is euphoric and a flawless way to close the set as a three-piece. The show is brought to a close with Clarke alone on stage singing Last Goodbye from Music For The People with an acoustic guitar. There are quite a few tears in the room as for some this will be the final time they will see The Enemy live; this is such a perfect ending for an incredible band. Bands like this shouldn’t be calling it a day after only ten years, hopefully the sold out Manchester crowd take something from this and buy music and merchandise from bands because soon, their favourite band might not be here anymore.

The Enemy play the Ritz again this week on the 15th, the show is sold out. The band are calling it a day on October 8th at a sold out show in their hometown of Coventry.

Photography and Words by Forte Photography UK: Website/Facebook