The Interrupters @ O2 Ritz Manchester 02/02/2020
Pic: Andi Callen Photography
It's a Sunday night but that doesn't bother the sell out crowd one bit. A good few younger teens in the house tonight with their parents, all here to see Los Angeles Ska-punkers The Interrupters.
Led by the effervescent Aimee Allen and backed by the three Bivona brothers, Jesse (Drums), Justin (Bass) and Kevin (Guitar) they start with A Friend Like Me, before crashing headlong into crowd favourite By My Side, which is eminently singalongable!! Actually you can say that about a huge proportion of the bands songs as they contain more hooks than a Tyson Fury bout.
Aimee works the crowd well, never standing in one place for too long and some lucky punters get a close encounter when she jumps into the photo pit for Take Back The Power and we're only 3 songs in!
The set is an equal mix of songs from all 3 albums spanning their 9 year career but surprisingly one of the highlights tonight is their cover of Bad Guy by Billy Eilish, which is greeted with just as much enthusiasm as their own material.
It's actually Aimee's birthday today and Kevin teases her with a rendition of Happy Birthday in the style of The Ramones Blitzkreig Bop.
It seems that every touring American Ska/Punk band has it written into their contracts that they have to play a Specials or Madness cover. They duly oblige with Message To You Rudy and every 50 something in the room shuffles and skanks. The cultural influence of the Two Tone movement on American ska/punk music can't be underestimated, despite its roots being a little closer to their own shores than the UKs.
Despite the feelgood effect that good ska/punk can bring, you can almost feel the Californian sun under which these songs were conceived, there are serious subjects tackled in songs like Jenny Drinks, and She Got Arrested. Granted there are lots of bands who tread this well worn path but so few do it with such class and empathy. Aimee's smile is broader than seems humanly possible and looking around the crowd, infectious too.
The Bivona boys (now there's a band name!) seem happy to allow Aimee to take centre stage but aren't shy of throwing their own moves too. The energy radiating from the stage keeps the fans bouncing and singing along right through the 21 song set which climaxes with She's Kerosene.
This is Marks & Spencers leave your cares at the door music. We skank outside into the cold night air ready to face the week ahead and everything it throws at us.
The Interrupters played:
A Friend Like Me
By My Side
Take Back The Power
Bad Guy (Billy Eilish Cover)
Easy On You
Got Each Other
Rumours & Gossip
A Message To You Rudy (Specials cover)
On A Turntable
She Got Arrested
Gave You Everything