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Live Review: Santa Cruz @ Manchester Academy 3

What a treat it is to see bands like these in the flesh and having so much fun on stage. The first time I saw Santa Cruz was at this very venue a few years ago when they supported Amaranthe. Now I’m watching them headline the same venue. The venue wasn’t exactly packed per say but there was a great atmosphere from the people the were there. They were rabid all through the night as they chanted and cheered for all of the bands on show. To be fair, I can’t blame them I had a real blast watching all three bands put on a great showing. Support for the night came from Manchester rockers, Kyngs and one of my personal favourite bands Skarlett Riot.

This band, Kyngs, was all kinds of fun. The set was brilliantly paced and the musicianship on display was so much fun to watch. The front man was charismatic and clearly having a lot of fun with the set. While the band played a really damn fun set. I love the riff work from the guitar giving the set some real pep and the guitar didn’t feel like it overpowered the set. I have to give some real props to the bass and drum work as they locked together and every song just have a real groove to it. Seriously I was dancing away to this set and the people that came early were pretty much in agreement. The tight drum work and the smooth bass worth made this set so much fun. Also having such a tight rhythm section meant the guitarist could really let loose with the solos, which were really impressive to say the least. I love it when big names get local supports because you genuinely don’t know what you’re going to get and I was so happy to have seen Kyngs do what they do. Their music if fun and intricate, it’s new with a lot of familiarity to it and I think it’s a sound that could potentially garner them a large fan base as I have seen this kind of act before. This is a band to keep your eye peeled for. Hopefully we’ll hear more from them soon.


After that the room filled up a little more as Skarlett Riot took to the stage. This must be the eighth or ninth time I have seen them live and I’ve reviewed all of their releases at this point. So I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I am a fan of their music. To be perfectly honest they would have to go out of their way to make me not like them at this point. Every time I have seen them live they’ve blown me away. I honestly don’t know what else I can say at this point. This set was really no different. The guitars roared, the drums clashed and front woman Skarlett is just a powerhouse on vocals. Their sound just comes together so naturally and the fans always go nuts for it. Interesting though how it seemed like the crowd was split 50/50 on whether they’ve seen them or not. Yet the atmosphere was immense. Opening on the new tune “Break”, it pretty much set the tone for the whole set. Lively, energetic and enough noise to melt your face off. All of the new songs, from the new album Regenerate, sounded just wonderful. In particular “Calling” where I feel Skarlett’s vocals just sounded so brilliant. The fast pace of the set got the crowd moving and people singing along only added to the atmosphere. As the set came to a close Skarlett made her way down to the crowd and got up on the barrier for the majority of the final song. The band love their fans and always seem to be genuinely humbled by them. They put on quite the show, even has a support act they still bring it all to the stage.


With the crowd only getting louder, chanting began for the headliner to arrive. Santa Cruz finally took to the stage and brought them a whole load of noise. The tone was cranked up to eleven, even at the back of the room it was so loud, I just thought, god help the people at the front. In all honesty they sounded great. Better than I remembered them. With thick tones and high gain on all of the guitar. The drums thudded and crashed and it all came together in such a wonderful way. The crowd, though few in number, were really ready for this show. The enthusiasm could be felt all across the room. The set was a great mix of all of their work and although I had to leave early I was more than enamored with how it was all put together. Santa Cruz frontman, Archie, is a really great front man, just his mannerisms on stage and how he always has a big grin on his face make him a real presence on the stage. As he constantly looked out into the crowd and bantered with them. They held themselves with great confidence as they moved across the stage, even though it’s not the biggest stage they still managed to make the most of the space.. Songs like “My Remedy” and “6 (66) Feet Under” kept the audience more than happy and were my favourite tune of the set. I have to praise heir blend of musicianship and showmanship. It made the show exciting and, I have to admit, it had this reviewer dancing and rocking out in the back. Just a superb band to watch live, the style of glam rock is a lot of fun to listen to and they have a brilliant on stage charisma that make their sets infectious. This was such a fun night, and what a last gig for 2017. Definitely one for the memory books. I hope to see all three of these band sometime in the near future.


Photo's by Laura Piggford of LorathNahhr Photography