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Cardinal black stormed the stage with intense energy and welcoming vibes merged in.

The Welsh born band originally formed in 2020, riding a wave of hype, with vocalist Tom Hollister, guitarist Chris Buck and drummer Adam Roberts. Working with the likes of Steve Winwood at Wincraft Studios and Guns N’ Roses manager Alan Niven.

With the purple and blue lights brightening up they kicked into full gear with their first track Rise Up. Now the energy was just picking up, with their guitarist Chris Buck, throwing out solo after solo with his legs kicking up in the air, it was hard for your attention to be anywhere else.

Vocalist Tom Hollister’s voice was booming from the start, his voice managing to hit all new levels, sporting black sunglasses and a short sleeved shirt with jeans to match the heat outside, he really brought it in!

They kicked off their second song Tell Me How It Feels, which was released as their debut single in May 2021, whilst telling everyone to grab themselves a well deserved beer. The energy was on a high for the band and so was the crowd! The crowd cheers with excitement for what’s to come, and the riffs from bassist Sam Williams kick in!

Sam a fairly cheeky pat on the bum from Tom Hollister during that well deserved beer break.

The band leapt into their heavier Jump In which made the crowd do exactly that; the place was bouncing and it was only just past eight, you would think they were the main band with the sheer amount of love and support shown from the fans in the venue. The heavier vibes began to slow down before adding some tints of the blues they began their single Where Do You Go?

The crowd matched the blues vibe perfectly, with bobs to the head as they all absorbed the incredible performance in front of them. The interaction Cardinal Black had with the crowd was insane, if anyone in the crowd didn’t know them before now, they’ve gained a brand new fanbase from that performance alone, not one person in the room that night could take their eyes of the band in front of them.

Tom Hollister, went on to show his gratitude to The Struts for bringing them along on the Homecoming Tour before going into Warm Up.

IT WAS TIME FOR THE STRUTS! Energy, crazy, incredible are a few words I would use to describe what I’m watching right now.

The lights go out in the venue, the sound of a siren fills the room, and one by one each member appears on stage, all sporting a bit of purple, with Luke Spilling rocking a silk purple shirt with the top few buttons done open, his makeup exceptionally done giving off the Freddie Mercury vibes from the start, his hair perfectly curled as he takes hold of the mic.

The outfits, the upkicks from the second they approach the stage.

They have officially returned to Manchester, formed in Derby, UK in 2012 takes to the stage. Consisting of lead vocalist Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliot, and drummer Gethin Davies.

This is the last two dates of their six day UK tour, titled as “The Homecoming Tour”.

Kicking off the night with Primadonna Like Me, from their album Young & Dangerous. The crowd is jumping, the energy is electric.

With the clicking from Luke Spiller, in comes Body Talks, again from the Young & Dangerous album.

Kiss This begins taking us back to the band’s debut album Everybody Wants. The band is non-stop bouncing, the crowd matching the rhythm, Luke Spiller points the mic to the crowd and then looks into the lens of my camera before smiling and jumping back into the beat.

“The struts have come back to Manchester! Are you ready to feel hotter than you have been all day?! Are you ready to turn up the heat?!” screamed vocalist Luke Spiller Before jumping into Fire!

The lights go to a bright orange, the clapping begins, the crowd is bouncing the sound from the band is electric.

With a giant Union Jack in the background this really is the homecoming tour and they’re here to let you know it! The sound is bouncing, riffs are so incredible I haven’t seen anything like it!

The crowd are the most dedicated bunch of people, it may be hot but the love for this band could outweigh everything!

Luke Spiller, takes to the piano showing tonight that talent can never be limited and tiredness doesn’t exist.

“Ladies and gentlemen I have a feeling tonight is going to be sensational” before going into one of the many ballads for the night. If you’re a fan of Queen, Meat Loaf this is your band, this is your gig.

As someone who is new to this band, tears were coming in at everything I was seeing, a love for gigs has always been with me but oh my God this is something else.

Guitarist Adam Slack  takes to the front along with bassist Jed Elliot, button done open on the shirts, jumping higher than ever during their performance of one night only, they gave it everything they have. The solo kicks in giving the classic rock high you need!

The riff begins, the sound of the drums “anyone feeling dirty in the crowd tonight?, everybody feeling sexy tonight? Who wants some oogie boogie woogie“. The band get into Dirty Sexy Money!

If anyone is hot and sweaty they’re only making it known through screaming those lyrics!

“Are we in Manchester? “Fucking scream it yeah!!!” It ends with an insane guitar solo by Adam Slack.

“Do you want to hear a grand spanking new song ladies and gentlemen” the only condition is I have to teach you what to sing so go ‘Oh oh ohohoh oh oh ohhhhhhhh’”. “Second condition is you jump on the chorus”.

Pink and blue light up the stage, the crowd sings along before going into their new single

“So Manchester what do we think of our new song? Is it a yes?”

“We’re going to slow it down a bit [with a song] about falling in love, obviously it didn’t work out. But we got a great song out of it, Low Key in Love – the most recent single and the original being recorded by Paris Jackson. It’s got that touch of disco that you do need, Luke Spiller flicks his hair as he dances, bringing in those incredible classic moves.

The Ritz is bouncing, the crowd is sweating on the hottest day of the year, but they don’t care.

The crowd helps bring in the final song of the night, Could Have Been Me from the album Everybody Wants, the punchy beat and riffs kick in. The crowd are throwing punches into the air. The crowd takes over!

The band take the applause and cheers from the incredible crowd! Flicking plectrums and sticks and even the setlist into the waiting hands of adoring fans!

Two incredible bands, different sounds but without a doubt both of them brought the fire and turned the heat right up it would’ve broken records.

Words & images: Lauren Allard