Our gig reviewer Meghan Keene shares her thoughts on American band, Modern Baseball’s show at Sound Control Manchester, and talks to the band afterwards.
Losing Sleep start things off with just vocalist/guitarist, Liam Clayton taking to the stage. His opening song is heartfelt but doesn’t really move the crowd. It isn’t until the rest of the band join him that people start to pay attention. The set is good but it feels more like we’re watching a practise session in their garage than a sold out show. The backing vocals sound less harmonic and more like a fight for being heard. It is a shame, because they’re obviously giving it their all, but they just don’t quite live up to what so many other bands can deliver.
This is something that Spraynard have nothing to worry about. Bringing a punk vibe to the venue, they have masses of groove laden beats and choruses made to sing along to. They play an engaging and energetic set that seems a little wasted on such a tiny crowd. But this doesn’t seem to deter them at all. Their albums, ‘Funtitled’ and ‘Cut And Paste’, are both available through their Bandcamp now (spraynard.bandcamp.com)
Then it’s time for Modern Baseball, who everyone is really here to see, to take the stage. Now I’m not really sure how to label them, so I won’t even try. Bridging genres can often leave a band lacking in identity and sounding confused, but these guys manage to skip past that and find a niche of their own. The crowd absolutely love them. With the basement of Sound Control sold out, the atmosphere is almost palpable. With a set that runs smoothly between Bright Eyes-esque vocals and toe-tapping sounds, to more of a NOFX vibe, Modern Baseball certainly provide an interesting time. With quirky vocals, fast guitars and breakdowns that make you shudder, all injected with a good bit of interactive banter, MB are like no other. The crowd simply go wild from the get go. Never have I seen so many crowdsurfers at once.
Hi, can you just introduce yourselves
Hey I’m Sean and I play drums
And I’m Ian and I play bass in Modern Baseball
How did the band form?
Sean – The band formed when Brandon and Jake, the two singers, were in highschool. They started the project together and they came to Philadelphia to go to college and that’s where they met me and Ian.
So what’s the reception been like in the UK?
Sean – It’s been incredible.
Ian – Yeah, nothing like we ever expected.
Sean – I think most of the shows have been sold out. Which is crazy. I mean we came over here in the spring as support and that went really well. But to come over here as headliners and have it go pretty well is incredible.
Yeah, you’ve already got a queue out there which is really good.
Sean – Yeah it’s crazy.
Have you seen a difference between the UK fans and the American fans?
Sean – Yeah, the UK fans are definitely more respectful. It’s very interesting, they don’t talk in between songs, like it’s kind of awkward. They just listen.
I suppose that’s good for you though.
Sean – Oh yeah it’s cool but we’re awkward so we don’t know what to say.
Ian – Yeah we’re all just standing up there like ‘uhhh’
You could just fill it with instrumentals.
Sean – Oh yeah we do that. We can play like ten seconds of every song ever
Ian – Which is about every song that’s been on rock radio.
Where are you guys heading next?
Sean – We’re doing London tomorrow and then Kingston and then we go back home.
Where in the world have you got the best reception so far?
Ian – Last night in Glasgow was a lot of fun.
Sean – Yeah Glasgow was awesome. And Dublin was incredible. Yeah, it was pretty wild.
Ian – Like our craziest shows are definitely back home in Philly. Just because that’s where all our friends are. But yeah we’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of cool shows pretty much everywhere.
Where would you like to play that you haven’t already?
Ian – I want to go to Antarctica.
Sean – I want to play Japan. I want to play Australia.
Ian – I want to play everywhere weird.
Sean – Yeah, play South Africa.
Ian – Play with Die Antwood.
Sean – I want to play somewhere where there’s penguins.
Ian – Yeah, Antarctica.
What like a crowd of penguins?
Ian – Oh now that would be amazing.
Sean – I’d just like to know they were there.
You could ask fans but I think you’d just end up with a lot of stuffed toys.
Ian – I don’t know if fans could you know….
Sean – what, own a penguin?
Ian – Yeah I’m sure you can own one but like….I guess if you’re a zoo. So we should just play a zoo. In the penguin tank.
Sean – we were making this joke once and then my good friend, Will, was like really quiet and then like “I’ve played a zoo”. And yeah, apparently his old band played a zoo.
Ian – There was a scene in Metalocalpyse where they played a concert to just cats and dogs.
Sean – We can do that.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened on tour?
Ian – probably the last time we were in Manchester. We rolled up to the house we were staying in at a friend of ours and some guy comes to the window and he’s like “hey I know what you’re doing” so we’re like “what?” and he goes “I know what you’re doing, you guys are robbers”. And he basically goes on to tell us that he’s a robber too so he knows what we’re doing and he’s not gonna let us rob the old lady in the neighbourhood.
Sean – And it turned out as soon as we told him who we were staying with he was like “oh yeah they’re my friends”. And then we found out that apparently he’s like the world’s worst drug dealer. He like goes door to door and is like “d’you wanna buy some drugs?” So that dude…that was weird.
So what’s the plan for after this tour?
Sean – We’re gonna go home and then we’re doing a full US tour with The Wonder Years, The Story So Far and Gnarwolves.
Before I leave, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Sean – Yeah, thanks for coming to this show instead of Dragonforce down the street.
Ian – Drink Brawndo, the thirst mutilator.
*Image copyright Modern Baseball.