The Enemy at O2 Academy Bournemouth 7.10.2022 with Little Man Tate supporting
“Call the police
‘Cause things are getting ugly
Get on your feet
I want you running with me” (Aggro – The Enemy)
That’s the opening – The Enemy are back. The crowd have been bouncing for a while and now they’re going nuts. What a fabulous atmosphere. It’s the We’ll Live and Die in These Towns reunion tour – we are 15 years on but once they are on, it feels like yesterday.
“What a f’cking room, Bournemouth!” exclaims main man Tom Clarke. He said they’d never seen an audience like this on the South coast before. It is absolutely rocking, with a pleasant, aggressive edge.. if you get me. I’ve been upstairs on the first floor standing balcony to see the enjoyable support band Little Man Tate – I didn’t know them, just the name and they were good – well received – indie rock from Sheffield and similar era to The Enemy.
But down here on the floor it’s the We’ll Live and Die in These Towns album being embarked on, in full, in the track listed order, making for one of the most explosive starts to a gig in a long time.
“I’m so sick, sick, sick and tired
Of working just to be retired
I don’t want to get that far
I don’t want your company car
Promotions ain’t my thing
Name badges are not interesting
It’s much easier for me see
To stay at home with Richard and Judy.
Away, away oh oh oh away from here” (Away From Here – The Enemy)
Brilliant – remembering he wrote that through the eyes of disenchanted youth and not a 59-year-old grey-haired gig goer. I’m still carrying some post-Covid lurgy but this is all lifting the spirits. Tom Clarke is spitting the words out – the anger of the songs is still there. The first five songs of the album, including title track We’ll Live and Die in These Towns (Official video release), are like a greatest hits EP – four of them were released as singles.
It’s the original trio, Andy Hopkins on bass and Liam Watts on drums, with another touring guitarist. They formed in Coventry in 2006, several years after my years in the city but I think the Cov thing still drew me to them when that first great album, featured tonight, came out in 2007 and went straight in at number one in the UK album chart.
I saw them later that year at Southampton Guildhall. I bought their second album Music For the People (2008): a good follow up. Those first two albums were in a different league the third, Streets in the Sky (2012) and I’m not familiar with their fourth and last album, Automatic.
Tonight is the fourth time I’ve seen them. There was another, October 2012, Southampton Guildhall gig and in 2009 I saw them at more of a distance, at Wembley Stadium supporting Oasis.
Tonight’s set is only a little over an hour: it really is over in a flash with no let up until the quieter last track of the featured album and main part of the set, Happy Birthday Jane. Throughout, until that one, the room was wonderfully rowdy, right to the back arms punching the air and people on shoulders.
I’d initially gone down the front left side to take a few photos but I couldn’t move after that – glued to it – aside from a quick trip back to get a view from there and pop to the bar.
For more on the venue see my updated blog on the O2 Academy Bournemouth.
The band return to adoration and four more songs: Be Somebody and No Time for Tears from the second album, Gimme the Sign into Saturdays from the third and to finish the second bit of This Song… which started in the main set.
An absolutely storming gig. One of my top ones this year…and this was number 74 in this hectic year for me. I was just looking to see if I could get to another one on the tour but that would be pushing it….unfortunately. I have been getting a YouTube-full of it though since. (Birmingham gig looked fun.)
[All photos taken by Ivan, the grey-haired gig goer at 02 Academy Bournemouth.]