Live Review & Gallery: Pop Will Eat Itself Brings Four Decades of Alt-Rock Debauchery to Manning Bar – Gadigal/Sydney, 01.03.2024

Last night, Manning Bar in Sydney was transported back in time as the iconic English alternative rock band, Pop Will Eat Itself, made their triumphant return to Australia after a decade-long hiatus. The atmosphere was electric as the current lineup, featuring Graham Crabb, Richard March, Adam Mole, John “Fuzz” Townshend, Mary Byker (Ian Garfield Hoxley), and Davey Bennett, took the stage to deliver a performance that spanned the band’s illustrious career.

Since its formation in 1986, Pop Will Eat Itself has skillfully etched its name into the annals of alternative rock history, securing numerous chart positions in the UK, Australia, and the US over the last four decades. Hits like 1989’s ‘Def Con One’, top-ten track ‘Get the Girl! Kill the Baddies!’, and 1994’s ‘Ich Bin Ein Auslander’ have become anthems of the era, solidifying the band’s status as a cultural force.

Describing their sound as intergalactic punk rock hip-hop, Pop Will Eat Itself defies easy categorisation. Manning Bar was treated to a genre-bending experience that showcased the band’s unique identity, a blend that remains as fresh and invigorating as it was when they first burst onto the scene.

A fantastic highlight of the evening was that the supporting act, Jesus Jones, treated the audience to a full-length set of their greatest hits. This meant the entire night unfolded into a captivating 3+ hours of unabashed ’90s-style debauchery. Surprisingly, I found myself being the youngest person in the room and there was much to learn about this subgenre of alt-rock that had seemingly eluded my ears for the past two decades. I found myself Shazam-ing every intermission song (with the likes of ‘Ebeneezer Goode‘ by The Shaman and The Prodigy’s ‘Out of Space‘) just to fill a void from missing out on live gigs during the ’90s.

As the night progressed, Manning Bar transformed, with attendees shedding inhibitions and immersing themselves in the music. The absence of phones in the air was noticeable, replaced by a sea of bodies passionately dancing and individuals lost in their own worlds. The potential for a spontaneous mosh pit lingered, with the crowd hanging on every note and beat, ready to surrender to the unbridled spirit of the alt-rock party.

Pop Will Eat Itself delivered a show that went beyond the boundaries of a typical concert, with Mary Byker’s subtle (subliminal?) messaging urging everyone to “Ignore Alien Orders” and Graham Crabb’s epic crowd-surfing moment adding to the unshakeable energy of the night. Manning Bar became a sanctuary for fans who gave in to the immersive experience, letting the music guide them on a journey through the band’s extensive catalogue.

The night ended with the promise of more to come, as Pop Will Eat Itself will continue their tour with Jesus Jones, which is next set to hit Melbourne and Perth. For those fortunate enough to be part of the Manning Bar spectacle, the memories created will undoubtedly linger, serving as a testament to the enduring impact of Pop Will Eat Itself and their ability to ignite a timeless, full-throttle alt-rock party.

Pop Will Eat Itself 2024 Tour w/ Jesus Jones
Saturday, 2nd March – The Croxton, Melbourne VIC
Sunday, 3rd March – Freo Social, Perth WA

Previous Live Gallery and Review: The National at the ICC, Sydney 1.03.2024
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1 Comment

  1. […] eager concertgoers, patiently waiting before the doors even swung open. Having recently supported Pop Will Eat Itself at Manning Bar just last week, familiar faces were scattered throughout the crowd, serving as a testament to the […]

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