POD, Alien Ant Farm and Hoobastank bring the noise and the nostalgia to Manchester Academy 2

If you kept your eyes on the Manchester Academy 2 stage on Saturday night you were transported back 14 years in time.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st May 2015, 5:09 pm

But if you looked around the crowd, you were reminded that time has moved swiftly on since POD, Alien Ant Farm and Hoobastank were riding the crest of the alternative music wave on MTV.

Each of these bands, who wouldn’t necessarily have made for the most natural touring partners back in the day, had at least one song that was played to death on radio, with videos dominating music television channels.

For POD it was Alive, from their Satellite album. An uplifting anthem that chimed with the nu metal trend, albeit from a band who have always been so much more than that genre.

Alien Ant Farm can thank their cover of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal for much of their success at that time, before Movies took over as a monstrous hit.

And Hoobastank had built some momentum ahead of its release, but Reason truly catapulted the band into the forefront of the alternative hivemind.

A great number of those who packed out Manchester Academy 2 were probably more likely to rush home to relieve the babysitter than demand an encore.

But for a couple of hours, the ones who remember the ‘glory days’ of these bands could roll back time and enjoy music that accompanied their formative years.

On the strength of POD’s performance, it’s evident that they’re not just happy to be trotted out to play the hits and provide nothing more than nostalgia.

There is life in the 23-year-old dog yet.

Celebrating his 42nd birthday, lead singer Sonny Sandoval packed a punch. Cutting a leaner, meaner figure than on previous UK tours, he refused to let the crowd ease their way into the gig – even if for some it had been a while.

They sounded tight, and looked like they were enjoying every minute.

Of course they played Alive, and it was received like an old friend. They also played what some consider their greatest ever offering - Southtown - a song that Sandoval stated was older than some in the room, a song that menaces before it explodes.

Youth of the Nation sparked mass arm waving, but it doesn’t so much chime when your youth is so far behind you.

It wasn’t all golden oldies however, with new music sitting comfortably amid the San Diego outfit’s classics.

Revolucion will boast the vocals of Lou from Sick of it All, and is a prime example of POD being just at home with their punk and reggae influences as the rap rock that helped them blow up.

They never shy away from expressing their faith, either, and Sandoval closed the set with a prayer for those with arms held high for the closing seconds of the set.

Up next were Hoobastank, who sounded a little heavier than the almost sickly sweet emo band I remember.

But it all felt a little too much like everyone in the room was waiting for Reason, and when it came it was a nice moment.

Alien Ant Farm headlined, only by virtue of a broken down van, although really they or POD should have been bringing things to a close anyway.

Lead singer Dryden Mitchell is odd, in a lovable sort of way.

From his lurching around during songs, upper body rigid, to his tales of stealing strippers’ phones and getting kicked out of bars, he couldn’t be more different from Sandoval, and the crowd lapped up his antics.

He conceded, in his own hilarious way, that the band blew up on the back of Smooth Criminal, which they played brilliantly to a deserved and joyous ovation.

Movies was every bit as catchy and euphoric as the first time you heard it.

And any song off the truly sublime Anthology was a glorious trip back to the early noughties.

Dryden’s suggestion that they come back and play the album in full was met with wholehearted approval.

But it’s worth noting that while new material like Simpatico, off 2015 record Always and Forever, doesn’t hit the heights of Wish or Glow, they can still write a really good song.

The lights coming on was a sobering return to reality, to a world where we’re all 14 years older with kids and responsibilities.

We’ll always have 2001, but now and again it’s nice to pile into a dark, sweaty room, with a sticky floor, and bring the past to life.