Music Review: Modern Baseball, Manchester Academy 2, Manchester

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Format: Gig
Genre: Pop Punk
Date: February 17 2017
Location: Manchester Academy 2, Manchester

Heading up a busy Friday night line-up that also included warm-up acts Thin Lips and The Superweaks, Modern Baseball brought their popular pop punk style to Manchester Academy 2.

With an enthusiastic crowd looking on, Modern Baseball – who formed in 2011, and have since released three studio albums and six singles – delivered many of their most famous hits, which were performed excellently and which were very well-received. They included Wedding Singer, Note To Self, Every Day, Hiding and Tears Over Beers, all delivered brilliantly by Jake Ewald, Sean Huber and Ian Farmer.

At present, lead vocalist Brendan Lukens is taking time off from the band due to health issues, a fact that fans were aware of beforehand and which was acknowledged during the show by Jake. Far from a hindrance, fans were more than supportive, chanting Brendan’s name, which is a nice reminder that at a time when many people seem to have the mentality of wanting everything or nothing at all, the fan base here was more concerned that Brendan’s health improves. Besides, Jake did a fine job of keeping things moving along, to the point where someone unfamiliar with Modern Baseball would never have guessed that its main singer was not present.

The band also made this particular experience unique in a number of ways. For instance, more than one of their tunes was performed in acoustic form, which were different to their original incarnations but made for some intriguing and cool renditions nevertheless. The group also invited a member of the audience onto the stage to sing The Weekend, which is something that very few bands would be willing to do on any level (and by the way, the fan did a great job!).

The main problem – actually, the only problem – with the show was the fact that it suddenly concluded. Wrapping things up very quickly with the mention of there being no encore, the moment when the band left the stage was almost greeted with laughter, due to the absolute abruptness of it. Some were expecting an encore anyway, and therefore when it didn’t happen, the finale felt very rushed, and a bit of a low note (no pun intended) to end upon. The subject of the encore is tricky, because it has become so commonplace that when a performer or group doesn’t provide an encore, it’s frowned upon. That was partly the case here, but it was also because the band did not introduce their last number as being the show-closer; they simply said that they were done and left. It wasn’t presented as if there had been a problem or a last-minute decision to walk off, by any means, but in the future, the band may be better served to at least introduce their final song as being such, rather than informing people after the fact.

Under the circumstances, with the lead singer absent, Modern Baseball put on as good a show as could be expected from a performance standpoint. The abrupt conclusion which prevented die-hard fans from hearing some of their favourite hits put a bit of a dampener on the evening, but otherwise, it was a satisfying experience that will leave the band’s supporters coming back for more.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good