Man With A Mission – Review at Rebellion, Manchester 18/6/23

During the afternoon I received news that an old friend of mine had passed and consequently I was in two minds as to whether to go to the show.  Ultimately I got in my car and battled heavy rain all the way to Manchester; it was almost like the sky was crying.  The torrents of water, much needed after the blistering heat we have had recently, made the driving treacherous as I negotiated small lakes on the roads.

Never have I seen a queue this long for Rebellion as I arrive at the venue, well, close to it.  It is around 2 blocks and as I get to the entrance look back and the line is still just as long.  Why is this important? Well, when I get in it is already rammed and there are still all those people to get in, it has to be over the crowd limit.  I’ve seen sold out shows here before and never has it been this packed.

With no support, we don’t have to wait too long for the band to come onstage and they do so one at a time, building up a sound as Man With A Mission slowly launch into Between Fiction and Friction I and the crowd go nuts.  MWAM make sure we know that they are very very grateful for this being sold out show (and tell us several times), their humbleness is palpable.

The next bunch of songs are a bit of a blur to be honest, I am more concerned for my safety.  I am backed up against the wall and keep getting crushed. I am finding this is very unpleasant and decide to move to the bar area at the very back which is also quite full but manageable and I can see the band who have now dived into a cover of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck but adding their own spin to it.

Seven Deadly Sins gets a massive reaction – the sweatiness level gets higher as the bounciness increases and the crowd is engaged in an emotive singalong; I am thinking it has got to be hot in those fluffy wolf head-pieces with light up eyes, definitely attention grabbing.

The band also employ and extra guitarist who stands at the back of the stage and looks like he used to be in Ghost with his white porcelain looking kabuki mask.

With most of the band off the stage we are treat to some drums and scratching featuring Michael Jackson samples (Thriller and Bad), it is probably the low point of the show as it was unnecessary, pointless and didn’t go anywhere.

A short movie plays about going to a safari park, it’s all about spare ribs  and then turns into a motor race. Confused? Yeah, me too!

An acoustic interlude with Change The World gives everyone some respite before we return to bouncy j-rock… Dark Crow lifts everyone up again and with Hey Now the venue just goes mental – we are all jumping now!

Dead End in Tokyo follows a MWAM travel agent announcement persuading the crowd to visit Japan’s capital city – having been four times I can confirm it is an awesome place.  Fly Again is poptastic and with lots of arm waving it’s almost like an aerobics workout… in a sauna and a great way to end the main set, it is probably my favourite song of the evening.

This crowd are loud in calling for an encore and are rewarded with a couple more songs and both Into The Deep and Kizuna no Kiseki are brilliant.

It’s been a bouncy, impressive and very sweaty performance covering most of their releases, just a shame about the overcrowding.

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