On a jumping Manchester Academy night, the American multi-instrumentalist Jeff Rosenstock dropped a red-hot set to the delight of a packed audience. Rosenstock had the energetic crowd from the get-go: a rousing rendition of System Of A Down’s ‘Chop Suey!’ was belted back by the audience before Rosenstock and his long-term band launched into opening track, ‘Will U Still U’.
There is so much to like about So-Cal based Rosenstock – he manages to combine sombre and honest lyrical content with genuine positivity. His authenticity is electric; while the subject of much of the music is introspective and heavy, a constant smile and infectious energy gave every person at Manchester Academy a night to remember.
Rosenstock’s fifth solo project, HELLMODE was released to much critical acclaim last year and works seamlessly live. With almost every line echoed back by the crowd, classical pop-punk tracks ‘LIKED U BETTER’ and ‘I WANNA BE WRONG’ were coupled with indie and ska influences to produce a buzzing live set.
Intertwined by fan-favourite songs from previous albums like ‘Pash Rash’ off Worry! and ‘Nausea’ off We Cool?, the dedicated fans could not have asked for much more from the New York born artist.
The pace of the night slowed only slightly for the more reflective parts of HELLMODE. ‘Soft Living’ and the acoustic ‘HEALMODE’ gave the crowd time to calm before again launching into standout song ‘DOUBT’.
As the set continued, the audience rallied into a floor-buckling frenzy. One thing for sure is that Rosenstock can write a seriously anthemic song, with almost every chorus throughout echoed by the crowd. The communal feeling didn’t stop at the singing as Rosenstock whipped the crowd into a frenetic haze of positive energy. An encore was a formality, with the band happy to oblige, coming back to extend their set to over 20 songs. Personal favourite ‘We Begged 2 Explode’ swelled into an emotional finish as the band walked off stage to a deafening applause.
Walking out of the packed venue and down Oxford Road, any fan I saw peeling off could not wipe the smile from their face. As Rosenstock embarks on the rest of his tour, fans all over the UK are in for a serious spectacle.