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19 January 2006: MxPx vs The Starting Line - Academy, Manchester, England, UK

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Co headliners, The Starting Line, were mere toddlers when MxPx first burst on to the punk rock scene. 15 years later and the old timers still play with the passion and sheer entertainment that has been so pivotal in their lengthy career.

The punk rockers of Manchester were thrown a hard decision as upcoming bands, ‘The Academy Is’ and ‘Panic! At the disco’, were playing next door. But the fans in Academy 1 were to have their loyalty repaid, as four top bands blew away any competition.

First up were I am the Avalanche, a New York quartet fronted by ex lead singer of The Movielife. Songs ‘My next beating’ and ‘A new disaster’ got the crowd started with the latter being a tune Mxpx would be proud of.

Not many inside Academy 1 were ready for what was to hit them next. Second support act, The Matches, had obviously not read the word support, as they strolled on stage making the night and the crowd their own. Armed with killer riffs and devastating dancing from lead singer Shawn Harris, they gave it everything. With all the gyrating and crowd diving the vocals were hampered, but no one cared as pure entertainment was onstage.

The Starting Line were quite a contrast to what had just gone before. A small sheepish Ken Vasoli walked on to a stage that suddenly looked a lot bigger, but after one deep breath his piercing voice soon filled the room. The show was certainly in full flow now as TSL mixed the old with the new to great effect. ‘Up and Go’ and ‘Decisions, Decisions’ were the pick of the older songs, with ‘The World’ getting the best response of the night.

The climax of the night was here in the form of punk rock legends MxPx. The Washington trio were certainly up for putting on a show. With lead singer Mike Herrera apologising for the cancellation of their previous UK tour, the boys had some making up to do and be sure that they did. The three wise men of punk burst into old favourites ‘Chick Magnet’ and ‘Move to Bremerton’ with the ease that performing so many gigs brings. ‘Young and depressed’ and ‘Grey skies turn blue ’ show Herrera still has the knack for writing great pop punk tunes to lift the glummest mood.

They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks but as MxPx played their anthem ‘Punk Rawk Show’ as their encore, sticking to their old tricks seems to be working just fine. The encore was fitting as fans poured out, one feeling united them - they really had seen a Punk rock show.


The views expressed in these reviews do not necessarily reflect those of the team.

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