Over the course of may years of attending gigs, I have seen several tours that turn out to be the band's last. But this information has only ever been known in hindsight. However, tonight was different. THE ENEMY have publicly stated that this will be their last tour. Citing lack of radio airplay, health problems of leader singer Tom Clarke and recent parenthood as the main reason, the band announced a number of gigs to bid farewell to their ever loyal following.
So it was equally in a mood of celebration and sadness that I attended the Bristol O2 Academy to see their last ever gig in this part of the country. I have followed the band closely since they first caught my ear with their belting debut single "It's Not OK" in 2007. At that time they toured relentlessly and promoted their subsequent singles with a slew of in-store appearances. Combining a cocky on-stage attitude (which was in contrast with their off-stage friendliness) with a level of musicianship that belied their young years, they played loud and proud rock. At each subsequent gig I noticed that the size of the venue and audience had grown and consequently the resultant hardcore fan base was sufficiently large to ensure their album rose to the heady heights of number one. Whilst their subsequent releases never quite had the same commercial success, live they remained a potent force. Invariably you finished the night hoarse, sweaty and partially deaf, all indicators that you'd had a good night out.
"Technodanceaphobic", "Pressure", "Happy Birthday Jane", "40 Days & 40 Nights", "Away from Here", "It's Not OK" and "You're Not Alone" were all received in a joyous fashion. Whilst numbers from their later albums - "Be Somebody", "No Time for Tears" "Some Things" and "Don't Let Nothing Get in the Way" also contributed to a mass sinaglong with band and crowd.
Whilst the realisation that this was the final time
these songs would be played live could have dampened proceedings,
it appeared to do exactly the opposite with both the band and crowd
recognising that there would never be another chance to revel in the
sheer joy of belting out the lyrics to these terrace anthems. Tom
Clarke seemed genuinely moved and repeatedly assured Bristol that
they would never be forgotten. The audience response was unsurprisingly
one of rapturous approval.
Thanks for the memories lads!