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.

So taking the stage to a sold out venue the boys immediately launched into two tracks from their first release "We Live and Die in these Towns". "Had Enough" and "Aggro" were played at staccato pace and, over the course of the next hour and a half, they would go on to play every track off their debut album. If there was any doubt that this was to be a sombre occasion, this was immediately dispelled with the frenetic response from the audience to these songs.

"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.

Special mention should be made of the track "This Song is About You", which closed out the main set. Like a mantra, the crowd continued with the songs refrain long after the band had left the stage. Whilst they returned for an encore, once finished the chant was taken up again, resulting in them reappearing to resume the song mid track. Certainly a moment that made the hairs on your neck stand up.

The final number was the aptly named "Last Goodbye", played acoustically and unaccompanied by Tom Clarke. As his final words emotively echoed around the arena - "As I wave my last goodbye, I won't feel shame, I won't ask why" - he walked calmly off and in so doing brought down, for me at least, on the Enemy's career. Even the resumption of This Song's chorus from the crowd couldn't put off the inevitable, although it continued on for a good ten minutes after the house lights had been put on and roadies started to dismantle the stage. On exiting the venue, I found that people winding their way home still kept up with the chant in a vain hope of keeping the finale going for just a moment longer.

So, apart from a few more dates, culminating in three straight nights in their home town of Coventry, that's it for the Enemy and I for one am saddened. There are preciously few real rock bands left and, whilst the media may have not given them the acclaim they deserved, for people who ever saw them play live, they were a top band.

Thanks for the memories lads!


Had Enough
Be Somebody
No Time for Tears
Everybody Needs Someone
Happy Birthday Jane
Some Things
It's Not OK
This Song Is About You

Don't Let Nothing Get in the Way
We'll Live and Die in These Towns
40 Days & 40 Nights
Away From Here
You're Not Alone

Encore 2:
This Song Is About You
Last Goodbye