AFTER seven years since being in the UK Life of Agony have returned for a small set of tour dates. The tour, named “Agony in the UK” only consists of three dates with them visiting London, Wolverhampton and Manchester. Quays News entertainment reporter Beth Halfpenny went along to the Manchester show last night…

Their Manchester date was held in the Academy’s Club academy; the perfect venue for this sort of show – with a smaller capacity to make the set up as intimate as possible.

Second Function have been the only support with Life of Agony on this short, but sweet tour. The alternative rock band holds a much lighter sound than Life of Agony themselves, but the contrast creates a brilliant atmosphere that warms the crowd up. They are a lot more melodic in their lyrical tone as well as musical instrument choices; their style flows effortlessly as they pack their set with songs from start to finish, despite not having that much time.

They have a 30 minute set and the band are more than happy to engage with the crowd. They explain that they are from the land of “corrupted banks, it’s Switzerland if you didn’t know!”  As well as continually asking the crowd how excited they are for the headliner; which is obviously met with loud screams and chants, despite the room being nowhere near as full as it is by the time 9:00PM comes around and Life of Agony take to the stage.

Second functionLife of Agony themselves play a set that lasts just over an hour. And after releasing their debut ‘River Runs Red’ in 1993 it’s nice to see an array of ages attending this show including both old and young fans.

Throughout the set they play a range of songs, putting focus on their second album in particular at one point; “Wanna hear a couple more songs off Ugly?” Mina Caputo, the vocalist is constantly interacting with the crowd from start to finish, making the audience as engaged as they can be and feel as close to the band during the set as possible. She often comes right up to the barrier, causing a surge forward from the crowd in the middle.

Although every song is met with lyrics being shouted back and crowd surfers every now and then, songs “Respect” and “Roots” get a huge applause when introduced before being played.

Most other songs get a round of applause afterwards as well, it is clear that the audience appreciate being able to see this band again after their two splits and not coming to the UK in so long.

Just before the final couple of songs the vocalist, Mina, a transgender woman says how everyone in the room stands for deciding your own realityand how happy she is that everyone has accepted her for who she really is.

This positive attitude is something that is promoted throughout the band for the entire show, despite the stereotype they may have earned from their music being more anger driven than that found in the mainstream with powerfully sung lyrics. Mina encourages the crowd to pick people up if anyone falls over in the pushing as well respecting those around you; “Keep this s**t harmonious and be friends with security, they’re here to help you.”

As the set comes to an end, before the final song the band explain that they have a flight to catch at 5AM… hence why they are only playing a 70 minute set when the curfew is 50 minutes later. There are a few disappointed looks but this is soon forgotten when ‘Underground’ begins to be played. The room sings the first line – “If you don’t walk with me, I will walk alone” perfectly and so loud that it is hard to hear Mina singing over everyone else.

Although it is apparent that the audience are upset that the night has ended after waiting so long for it to happen, there is also a heavy sense of gratitude and respect towards this band that can be felt from everyone. It is nice to see a band be able to carry on doing what they love even after doing it for so long, but also gaining new fans in the process as well.

This band is worth more than a shot and if you missed them on this long awaited tour, it is your loss.

By Beth Halfpenny

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