When it comes to music, my partner and I simply cannot meet in the middle.
He likes Indie and rock, and I'm all about the R&B. He has no interest whatsoever in Jay-Z (he's just jealous), and I have a similar disinterest in Mumford & Sons.
It's nothing personal, but I just can't imagine getting ready for a big night out listening to I Will Wait. In order to get me pumped, I need Ashanti, and I need Destiny's Child.
When Kasabian announced their 2017 FCOL tour, I was somehow talked into going with my partner. To this day, I still don't quite know how it happened - I just know that it was a decision that I wholeheartedly regretted for the five months leading up to the gig.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to a good old seedy gig – I am, after all, the girl who, at the age of 16, went to see 50 Cent with her Dad – but there was something slightly unsettling about the footage I witnessed on YouTube videos from previous Kasabian concerts.
Being in the centre of a mosh pit is not, and has never been, on the top of my bucket list. Participating in a ‘wall of death’ is even lower down on my credentials for having a great night out.
I mean, I even saw a video of Peter Crouch moshing at a recent Kasabian gig. It's all well and good when you're 8 foot 9, but I certainly do not have height on my side - I'm 5 foot 1, and as frail and weedy as they come.
Okay, so I’m gonna’ be honest; prior to Kasabian, the last ‘band’ I saw live was the Vengaboys while I was working in Ibiza. Before that, my concert list generally consists of Jay-Z (x3), Kanye (x2), 50 Cent, and Drake.
So with this in mind, I was slightly dubious (read: terrified) in regards to my bizarre decision to not only attend a Kasabian gig, but to also willingly agree to go standing.
Don't get me wrong; I do like Kasabian, but if I had 3 minutes left to live and a choice of listening to I'm On Fire, or I Got Five On It, then I Got Five On It would win every time.
I don't know if you've gathered, but I'm not the edgiest gal in the world.
I've enjoyed a few nights out in the Northern Quarter in my time, and I sometimes wear a black polo-neck jumper, but that's as far as it goes.
One of my friends is VERY edgy and not to mention ridiculously cool. She often likes to viciously yank me out of my comfort zone by taking me to various vegan cafes in the NQ. Last time we went for cake, the staff communicated with one another by howling like ghosts.
You don't get edgier than that.
I had to nip into Boots for some Calms on my way home.
The 30th November came around all too fast, and I spent the morning listening to the tamer chords of Busta Rhymes and Dr Dre to calm my nerves.
For the big event, I pulled on a pair of black ripped skinny jeans, a black crop top, and I tied one of my partner's jackets around my waist – edgy defined, right...?
My edgy friend (who also happened to be attending the gig) text me just after I'd left the house to warn me against wearing heels.
I gazed anxiously down at my brand new Kurt Geigers and wondered if it was too late to fake my own death.
The support act didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
Put it this way, I highly doubt I’ll ever say ‘I’m going to go home and relax by listening to the Slaves.’
It was utterly PETRIFYING.
One of the songs simply consisted of the lyrics, ‘Screw the hi-hat,’ sang over and over again in very angry tones. (Side note: obviously they used a stronger word than 'screw,' but this is a nice blog for nice people, so we'll go with a tamer term).
This monstrosity was accompanied by a lot of migraine triggering lights.
My edgy pal text me like: You OK hun? With a load of crying laughing emojis.
No, I typed back. No, I'm not.
I thought I was going to pass out in fear when my partner suggested that we moved closer to the stage. I had already tirelessly informed him that I wanted to be as close to both the security personnel and the emergency exits as possible.
"Look at you," my partner said pityingly. "It's like taking Paddington Bear to Amsterdam."
"Ha!" I scoffed. "You wouldn't last five minutes at a 50 Cent concert, mate."
... Kasabian were AMAZING!
It took just one song for me to push my moshing demons aside, as I jumped around like a lunatic to each and every song the band were hammering out.
From the word go, right up until Surge and crew left the stage after a staggeringly euphoric two hours – the whole thing was just out of this world!
The atmosphere was electric and echoed the vibrant strobes bouncing across the venue in excitement.
The band are, quite undeniably, huge crowd pleasers, and effortlessly whip up their audience into a buzzing frenzy. They’re stripped back cool and collected, and they don’t need anything else. Alone on stage with their instruments, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the very first song.
My personal favourite Kasabian song is ‘Shoot the Runner,’ and I was ecstatic to find that it had made the set list, alongside popular classics such as ‘Underdog,’ ‘LSF,’ ‘Rewired,’ and ‘Empire.’
They also blasted their way through hits from their new album, including ‘You’re in Love with A Psycho.’
The song that had the most impact was the last tune of the night. Of course, this song had to be their legendary hit ‘Fire,’ which has the power to quite literally blow you away in a live capacity. The band built the intro up for a good five minutes, encouraging everyone to crouch down low in the crowd, teasing us all, before bursting into the infectious chords of the infamous chorus, sending everyone into raptures.
It just made me think: everyone was there for the same reason, and that reason was to enjoy the music. There was no malice or fear.
I took a look around me, and I saw first hand the kindness and togetherness that infused the love within our city. Complete strangers united under the influence of the music, throwing their arms around one another, dancing wildly. If somebody slipped or fell, a sudden circle of hands appeared around them, pulling them up, patting them on the back, offering a drink. As the opening chords of every song rang out, the crowd grinned at one another ecstatically, all of us - together - feeling the tidal wave of euphoria that the music supplied.
This is the point in the article that I’d like to mention how incredibly bloody proud I am to be from Manchester. As a city, we have handled this year’s traumas with typical Manc spirit, and because of this, we have proved ourselves unbreakable. I truly believe Manchester to be the best city in the world, and our people are absolutely one-of-a-kind.
Manchester is famous for its music, and through music we continue to stand as one.
Upon glancing around the arena that night, I was left with goosebumps. Not one seat was left empty, and not one person was deterred. Despite what happened back in May at the very same venue, us, the people of Manchester, have carried on. We have found strength through each other and through music, and I doubt any other city could have bounced back in the way that we have.
The band played a special tribute song for our city with clear admiration in their voices, and it meant the whole world. Encouraging everyone to hold up their phones with their torches lit, the arena was plunged into a star–studded cloak.
“This one is called ‘We’re Gonna Make It Through,’ and we are, Manchester, we are gonna make it through," Surge said.
Every moment of attending a concert at the Manchester Arena – or indeed any music venue – is special, from the laughs, the sing-alongs, and the dancing you share with the crowd around you, to the moment you all pile out of the gig together at the end, thousands of you, all in high spirits from what you have just experienced. And in Manchester, it’s almost a guarantee that somebody, somewhere, on the way out will be drunk enough to re-enact the entire set list from the night, which ends up in the whole of Victoria Station singing along.
Now, I don't think I'm going to become a seasoned mosher or anything, but I can honestly say that I had an unexpectedly fantastic, adrenaline-rousing evening, in a city that makes my heart sing with pride.
Cara Jasmine Bradley
Originally posted in December 2017