APOLLO JUNCTION LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?
Fresh after the launch of their 3rd album which finally broke the Top 100 charts the boys are out on tour to celebrate it. It’s been a fantastic year and well deserved for Apollo Junction, they’ve broke onto both National Radio and TV and have been announced as one of the supports for Shed Sevens sold out massive hometown 30 years anniversary York gigs.
Tonight they play Gulliver’s in Manchester and it’s a sell out, not the only sold out night of the tour either, things are finally beginning to fall into place for these 5 mates from Leeds.
Pretty decent start to the night as the support is VIVAS who hail lfrom Sheffield. Been a while since I’ve last seen them perform so was good to see how much they have come on and while the mix isn’t the greatest from the sound desk they’re gave it a good effort. Bitter Sweet is a quality track and recent single Out To Get Me is standing head and shoulders above the other songs on the set.
Bands have made a career off the back of one song with lesser quality than that alone. Can’t be long now for their time to come, much tighter performance from the band and was well worth getting down early to catch them
9pm is approaching, concerningly the room is only 2/3rds full and I’m wandering how as it’s a sell out and there’s no rail strikes on, but then I remember, we’re in Gulliver’s so a chunk of folk will be downstairs fighting amongst the rest of the pub trying to get to the bar. It’s gonna be a tight squeeze for the 5 of them on stage as it isn’t the widest or deepest, not that front man Jamie will be on stage for very long as the way of him and the band of spending a large proportion of the time being amongst the paying public rather than making them adore from afar on the stage.
Opening ironically with Endings from new album Here We Are is a marker for how tonight will play out, anthemic tunes are what AJ are all about, and there’s a very distinct feel of an Embrace banger about this track. Porcelain follows from previous album All In continuing the theme wilth it’s crowd pleasing sing-along chorus along with fan favorite Two Car Family and it’s also the moment Jamie is finally into the crowd and everybody starts to wake up and begin to move.
Mil1ion finishes of the opening set of stormers before Always Remember from their debut album takes it down a few levels, it’s a some about a case of them struggling to make any headway at times and almost giving up but AJ are not ones to dwell so it’s new album opener By The River which draws a fantastic response from the crowd especially for the songs reprise.
Now cover versions are a regular of an AJ set, some are done brilliantly, some funnily badly and others can be a little bit special and on this tour Matthew is picking a song from a band that comes from the city they are playing in, tonights delight is Sad Song from Oasis and Jamie, Matthew and Jonathan head into the centre of the crowd armed with just 2 unampped acoustic guitars a mic and lit by the torches of the phones of the people around them.
It’s actions like this that endear this band with their fans just like fellow band under Aggressive Management’s leadership October Drift – strangely something they both did before going under their wings.
Back to the stage for Sometimes but it’s only a matter of a few lines of lyrics before Jamie is back into the crowd once again, and speaking of Jamie, I’m sure he’ll be the 1st to admit it but at times his vocal performance hasn’t been the greatest, we’re not talking Danny McNamara or Ian Brown levels but the odd strain or bum note has occasionally occurred but tonight the performance of Magic blows the recoded version away as he absolutely nails it and then some on top and this really lifts the crowd onto another level.
Are You Happy? keeps everyone on that high, clapping, phone torches out swaying away and singing along and opener for the previous album Light Up The Sky ensures the crowd remain fully connected before the set enders start.
Begin – literally the song that turned AJ’s fortunes around and got people listening to the band, When We Grow Up and final song Forever are all fantastic feel good tracks – the perfect way to finish off what was nothing short of a perfect performance from the Leeds boys.
My first introduction to Apollo Junction was nearly 5 years ago now, they supported Bang Bang Romeo at Headrow House and whilst I’d been on the strong stuff all afternoon (damn you Assembly Underground and North Bar…) they caught my attention enough to put them on my radar and I’m glad I remembered them – nights with these performances from bands are just fantastic, a band that appreciates every single person who made the effort to come and watch them play because as Jamie says they’ve had many where people didn’t.
Apollo Junction have previously often been seen as the plucky but unlucky underdog , at times they’ve manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, other times nearly called it a day but every dog has its day and with this new found belief and confidence I’ve a feeling this dog could now very well go on to win Crufts.
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