IN a hugely anticipated fashion, and after a three-year wait, L.A’s own post-hardcore, fully charged left-wing activists, otherwise known as Letlive, finally came back to Manchester. Quays News entertainment reporter Seren Hughes-Jones went along…

First on stage to Sound Control’s intimate upstairs room were Youth Man, a sex punk trio from Birmingham. The Brummie trio fit hand in hand with Letlive, demonstrating to the crowd what was to come later in the night with their explosion of raw, exciting new punk. Playing songs such as ‘Fat Dead Elvis’ from their new upcoming EP ‘Wax’ out on July 1 and giving the crowd a taste of their combination of dry and minimal yet fast generic drums, distorted irrational guitar chords and screeching vocals. And with lead singer, Kalia Whyte’s passionate and fiery combination of dominating vocals and heavy guitar work, Youth Man revealed something worth watching out for in the punk scene.

Known by all fans of metal, post-hardcore, post-punk, or even beyond, Letlive’s live shows have been permanently grounded as some of the most energetic in the scene – expect crowd surfing in bins and climbing on equipment as a given. And in light of their performance at Sound Control in 2013, they certainly haven’t forgot how to scream and shout about what they stand for.

Opening up with ‘Banshee (Ghost Fame)’ from their 2013 Epitaph Record’s album, ‘The Blackest Beautiful’, Letlive again have made it their mission to break the boundaries of the conventional audience-band dynamic. As one of the heaviest songs from the album, exploring the tragic humour in the 21st century entertainment industry, ‘Banshee’ employs elements of groove against Jason Butler’s varying delivery: from softer vocals gradually increasing in pitch, only to be smashed by his deep, raw, and evidently hardcore, screams.

But Letlive aren’t just definable as one singular genre. By referring to themselves as ‘punk rock soul’ they aim to transcend anything they feel is appropriate, using any means to express their socio-political passions through their pure authentic and intellectual creativity.

Performing their newest single ‘Good Mourning, America’ from their new album ‘If I’m The Devil…’ (released June 10, 2016), thus continued the mass of crowd surfers and stage divers. The song, reflecting their typical embodiment of introspective lyrics adhering to American culture and corruption, with its bouncy chorus got the whole of the sell-out gig jumping into mosh-pits and bouncing around erratically.

Dedicating their whole set to the late Prince, Butler also made an emotional tribute to his Mother before playing ‘Muther’ off their 2010 album ‘Fake History’. Butler proceeded with a short feminist speech, declaring that, if any women in the audience feel under-represented in society, that Letlive “have your back”. ‘Muther’ with its gradual build-up of energy, heavy drum centred chorus and gargantuan guitar hooks saw the crowd jumping on stage with the band and screaming into the mic along with Butler.

Moving on from ‘Muther’ came ’27 Club’, another one of the many songs the Californians churned out from ‘The Blackest Beautiful’. Butler, an expert in bouncing his energy back into the crowd, encouraged a mass circle pit to the songs opening rapid drums and basslines leading into his manic, almost inaudible, angry screams.

During the encore fans turned to singing a continued rendition of ‘Muther’s’ bridge, “Don’t you cry Mama, we’ll be okay”, until the band returned on stage with drummer Loniel Robinson continuing to play despite having hurt his arm playing the previous song ‘Day 54’. Breaking into their last duo of songs, ‘Lemon Party’ and ‘Renegade 86’’, both taken from the hand-crafted ‘Fake History’, the crowd gave the band every last drop of energy, ending with an invasion of fans gathered on stage to groove along to the final catchy chorus of ‘Renegade 86’’, followed by several of the fans thanking the band on stage as the lights were brought back up.

For fans of Glassjaw and La Dispute, Letlive are a band who serve to represent the people and humanity as a whole, and with their new album ‘If I’m The Devil’ on the way in June, fans can pray that the band will be back with more stage diving on UK soil by the time you can hysterically scream a post-hardcore, ‘punk rock soul’ chorus.

By Seren Hughes-Jones

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