Review: Alien Ant Farm, Hoobastank and P.O.D. return to Manchester

It’s 2015 and three of nu-metal’s finest are cramming as many fans as possible into Manchester’s Academy 2. You could be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into 2000, except this trio could’ve easily sold out bigger venues back in the day.

Due to travel issues, Alien Ant Farm, who were originally billed as the first band of the night, hand opening set duties over to P.O.D. – who are the best band of the night. Tracks like BOOM and This Goes Out To You (taken from new album, The Awakening) pump up the crowd before their biggest hit, Alive, drops. With the microphone officially lost to the crowd, adrenaline carries the set home.

Original headliners, Hoobastank, are welcomed by rapturous applause; enough to suggest they’re the main pull for tonight’s Manchester crowd. Crawling In The Dark, Running Away and ‘the one that has fans throwing their lighters in the air’ aka, The Reason, justify their position at the top of the bill.

It may feel like approximately 791872 years since they last played on our shores, but the ease with which these California rockers command the crowd suggests they haven’t really left the past behind them.

A very delayed Alien Ant Farm stumble onto the stage without enough time to swap the Hoobastank banner or set up their own gear, but maintain enough oomph to storm through the best of their back-catalogue. Still tongue-in-cheek in places, it’s the usual suspects – Movies, These Days and Smooth Criminal – that keep the crowd on their feet.

Hoobastank - The Reason (Official Music Video)

This triple bill may dip in places, but as a package, it delivers exactly what was expected of it; nostalgia, effortless sing-alongs and the kind of crowd participation that still escapes many of today’s rising stars.

Words: Kieron Keen