The Get Up Kids - live in Bolton (Cover Artwork)

The Get Up Kids

live in Bolton (2010)

live show

The beer garden of a Bolton boozer is an odd place to encounter pop-punk royalty, but for the 200 lucky punters in attendance tonight there could be no better way of spending a Thursday evening. It's been an unsettled week in the northwest of England, but the elements were merciful enough to to grant us a clear summer's evening to get up close and personal with one of the best loved pop-punk bands of the last 15 years.

This was meant to be a lap of honour around a well-worn but equally well-loved back catalogue ahead of their appearance at this weekend's Leeds and Reading festivals, but it was a stuttering start for the Missourian emo titans. Opener "Coming Clean" from 1997's Four Minute Mile was met with pedestrian fist-pumps and half-arsed sing-alongs, much to the chagrin of Matthew Pryor and his fellow Get Up Kids.

Patience is a virtue, however, and TGUK showed bags of it, slowly coaxing a sleepy post-work crowd away from the bar with dose after dose of perfectly crafted emo-punk tuneage. With the ice well and truly broken the gig took on a much more intimate feel as the band stormed through a career-spanning set, speckling the rapturously received classics with a few slick-sounding gems from this year's Simple Science EP, wrapping up proceedings with a sublime cover of the Cure's "Close to Me."

After charming Bolton's pants off, the Get Up Kids inform us, in immaculate lancastrian accents, that they are off to "get pissed"--I'd say the majority of the audience wouldn't be far behind them. Great times had by audience and band alike, and well worth the £1.50 train fare here from Salford.