Just five years ago in the back room of Maguire’s Pizza Bar in Liverpool, Boston Manor played their first ever show and last night they returned to the city armed with their second album ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’.
Not many bands choose to play both Liverpool and Manchester in the same run of shows but for the Blackpool outfit heading out to Merseyside seemed like a nostalgia trip and a marker for how far they have come since those first shows.
Now across the city, in the more fitting surroundings of Hanger 34, Boston Manor brought a show that matched the ambition and aggression of their sophomore record.
Opening with the menacing title track and firing straight into ‘Flowers In Your Dustbin’ and ‘England’s Dreaming’, the plan was to intimidate and show off the new album and the small but dedicated Liverpool crowd lapped it up.
The venue wasn’t full but those that were there were down to party and they didn’t need telling twice by Henry Cox to “get off your fucking feet” as they propelled into “Lead Feet’. The rare journey into tracks from their debut album offered up a fun dilemma as Boston Manor have purposefully evolved so far away from their pop-punk roots now. The compromise seemed to be with both that track and ‘Burn You Up’ (which came later in the set) was to play them with more venom in the guitars to inject a bit of anger into them so they’d sit comfortably alongside the new tracks.
Aggression was the keyword for the set. The temperature in Hanger 34 reached whole new heights as gritty numbers like ‘Hate You’ and ‘Stick Up’ were brought to life and the execution seemed to be exactly what the band would have hoped for when they were making the album as they were absolute carnage in the front rows.
Rounding off their set with the massive lead single ‘Halo’, it was clear how far Boston Manor have come. The album is being mentioned as one of the best rock albums of the year and their robust performance befitted such lofty praise. Hooks and choruses seem to come as second nature and the band have enough presence to be able to match that energy live. They have well-outgrown pop-punk and matured into a leading UK rock band.