If you’ve ever seen Against The Current live, you’ll already know that the key word is energy – and they had that in bounds at Manchester Academy.
There’s a noticeable buzz around Manchester Academy ahead of their set. The gig marks their return to Manchester following previous shows at the O2 Ritz, Club Academy and this very room – Manchester Academy 2.
In fact, the last time Against The Current were in this venue they very nearly cancelled the show with singer Chrissy Costanza struggling through despite severe illness. She vowed that night she would never forget the help the crowd gave her in getting through the set.
From the very outset it’s Against The Current at their best – full of energy, laughing and joking with the audience and delivering an epic performance on the live stage.
Opening with Voices, it’s full throttle from the get-go … and it barely relents.
Chrissy Costanza’s vocals are spot on throughout, delivered with the perfect blend of bite and emotion; drummer Will Ferri’s driven percussion proves the perfect layer for the energetic performance; and Dan Gow is, as ever, faultless on guitar.
They perform a blistering show filled with rock, pop-rock, electronica and even an occasional hint of disco and dance.
The set moves through their catalogue as they seamlessly integrate older material with their newest. From their Gravity EP through to latest album Past Lives, they deliver track after track of outstanding musicianship, vocals and energy; more recent material including Almost Forgot, The Fuss and Personal fits perfectly alongside the likes of Running With The Wild Things, Runaway and Brighter.
The pace and verve continue relentlessly through Wild Things, Young and Relentless and more before they strip things back slightly. It’s an opportunity for fans and the band alike to catch their breath. And it also provides the perfect contrast, allowing them to demonstrate a softer side that is often seen.
The brief respite takes in Brighter and Comeback Kid, before the pace ups again with Gasoline.
The fans are cheering and screaming throughout, incessantly singing lyrics straight back to the band. Laughs and jokes are exchanged between band and audience, Chrissy jokingly calling for help for one fan whose screams of excitement are so loud they sound almost pained.
And as she vowed two years ago, Chrissy clearly still hasn’t forgotten that night in 2017, taking the opportunity to thank those fans who were there that night for helping her get through it and expressing her gratitude and love for the city.
It’s perhaps appropriate that as the decade comes to an end, they round out with a series of earlier tracks, with Talk, Paralyzed, Gravity and Wasteland all getting the huge response they deserve.
Throughout the lighting effects give the show an arena feel and, to be honest, Against The Current belong on the biggest of stages.
Against The Current headlined at Manchester Academy 2 on 11 December 2019.
Author: Mark Kelly
Music lover. Gig reviewer.
Often found at the merch stand.