Returning to Manchester for the first time in over 2 and a half years, Australian five-piece Sticky Fingers blew the roof off a sold out Ritz in front of a raucous Friday night crowd this past weekend.

The partisan mood was set immediately as the band’s drummer, Freddy Crabs, waltzed onto the stage in his traditional gig attire of nothing more than his boxer shorts and Adidas trainers, heading a signed football into the crowd before his bandmates joined him and launched into opener Land of Pleasure.

Anthemic hits Sad Songs & Gold Snafu follow, and an eager Manchester crowd bounce along right from the off, granting lead singer Dylan Frost a lean away from the mic in awe as each chorus is screamed back at him.

Material from new album Yours to Keep is trialled next, and it’s here where the band sound the tightest and most exciting. Loose Ends is received especially well and the Ritz’s pit truly goes wild for this single. It’s a show of Sticky’s versatility though, that this is followed straight up with their latest heart-wrenching ballad, Not Done Yet, which is poignantly dedicated by bassist Paddy Cornwall to a recently deceased fan who was due to attend the gig.

It is in Cornwall and Frost’s on stage antics where the band boast their best assets. Cornwall roars and feels every lyric along with the crowd, and it is clear he and his bandmates are thrilled with the reception in a city that so clearly influences the group’s look and sound. Frost’s voice is pure, raw and different every time he sings – for stripped back numbers like Rum Rage & Liquorlip Loaded Gun, it’s a privilege to witness him perform.

The Sydney band’s ode to their hometown , Australia Street, is recited perfectly and once again has an entire crowd on each other’s shoulders singing along as the boys depart. Frost and lead guitarist Seamus Coyle return for a special acoustic performance of Cyclone which is followed by cacophonous chants of “One more tune” by the Mancunian crowd.

Frost ditches the guitar & shines in the now hauntingly dark lighting for an impassioned performance of Another Episode before the band close the rapturous encore with main hit How to Fly.

Cornwall & co don’t leave without one more gift for Sticky fans though, the bassist cheekily riffing the opening bars of I Wanna Be Adored as the band are taking well deserved plaudits. The crowd react as if The Stone Roses themselves have taken the stage, prompting Coyle to add his lead guitar to Cornwall’s continuing bass for a short rendition of the anthem. A special ending for an incredible band that Manchester has now truly taken under its wing.

Written by: Greg Weir