Over the years Young Guns have seen their fair share of Manchester’s University building, as all of the Academy venues it houses. On this rainy Monday night though, they’re taking the stage down in the Club Academy. As a slightly more intimate room, it’s perfect for tonight’s mix of newer songs, complimented by a few rarely-heard older tracks.
Up before YG though are Holding Absence, a welsh five-piece specialising in a weighted brand of post-hardcore. Whilst usually they have a vehement power behind their music, that doesn’t seem to entirely translate through their live show. Permanent is a compelling moment at the beginning of the set, carrying a bleak force in its vocals and in its message. Heaven Knows is a highlight, weaving ambient interludes into an overall more intense number.Young Guns kick things off in a special way (especially for the older fans) with In The Night, taken from their first EP Mirrors. It’s brilliantly raw and still displays all of the original traits that made it a memorable track in the first place, without being over-produced or altered in any way. Speeding straight back to the present, Rising Up provides an excellent comparison for how far they’ve come- both musically and in their live shows.
Stitches is never anything less than mesmerising, and thus far is standing the test of time perfectly, considering it’s still a treasured part of the YG setlist (judging by the reaction it garnered). A Hymn For All I’ve Lost is a perfect little change of pace- slightly ethereal, whilst necessarily evanescent, so as not to let the ball drop for too long. Following this though- and preceded by a brief explanation as to why this cover was chosen- is Young Guns’ take on Foo Fighters’ My Hero. Executed with a passion that could only exist through a real feel and connection to a son, it is done unequivocal justice.At the peak of the show, Young Guns drop first album track At The Gates (a song seldom seen on prior setlists). This carries such burden, yet with an unyielding intensity, it’s unarguably a stand-out track from tonight’s show, and a slight change of vibe to choose something heavier from an earlier album. Bulletproof, closely followed by Echoes display all of the anthemic qualities that the band’s newest album have to offer, laden with far more knowledge and experience than the latter.Bringing Daylight into the encore mix, as an addition to staple tracks Bones and I Want Out is a strong choice as it only exists as another huge tune to add to their prodigious set closers Young Guns fans are so used to. Through lost band members and several musical evolutions, one fact always seems to remain when it comes to Young Guns; this band know how to write a truly anthemic chorus- no matter your standing on what they’re doing or releasing currently. And that fact just makes their live show so undeniable, every single time.