Arriving in Manchester early enough to find the Apollo, I found myself wandering around the city centre none the wiser. Following the general drift of punk mad youngsters, I eventually turned up outside the Apollo, where an anticipant crowd was waiting.

Finally, later than scheduled, the doors opened and, as everyone piled in, openers Capdown kicked off the festivities in true Deconstruction fashion, blazing away on their guitars as the Apollo began to fill. This English group's hardcore influenced style is mixed with an effervescent ska sound and provided the perfect beginning to what would be a greatly enjoyable day.

Following on from the excellent work Capdown had done, Boy Sets Fire, from the USA, immediately impresed the crowd with their own flavour of hardcore. Their rambunctious opener even opened the eyes of the ska faithful as it seriously was that good. Maintaining this style throughout, while also adding a melodic emocore to the proceedings, Boy Sets Fire, who were possibly the least well known of the bands, presented themselves in a dignified manner and left the stage, certainly having made a name for themselves.

Formed in 1996, Catch 22, much like the more famous Less Than Jake, have an uncanny ability to blast through their set as fast as possible and to deliver ska-guitar that is blended with a distinct brass sound with ease. Beginning with the song ‘Intro’, off the ‘Alone In A Crowd’ LP which is a full 18 seconds long, they were one of the highlights of the show and proved why they are so highly rated in punk circles.

Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Avail are signed to the American punk label Fat Wreck, and supplied probably the least inspiring performance of the 9 bands. Lead singer Tim’s ability to fuse melodic and hardcore vocals into one clean voice is their most redeeming quality. Their overall delivery was good but there was something that just didn’t work. It could have just been their performance on the day and perhaps they sounded worse than usual, but even despite this they really didn't disappoint.

Next up were the Bouncing Souls, who were formed in New Jersey in 1989. Bouncing Souls provided a set of cheesy but addictive tunes, adding to the night in remarkable fashion. Their thirty minute set finished far too early, but on the plus side gave way to the irrepressible Sick Of It All.

Sick Of It All, who originate from as far back as 1984, blew the gig away and provided a powerful performance, strong enough to redraw the Richter scale. Such was the energy dissipated by their eager fans. I had stood reasonably far back from the stage so as to avoid the moshing punks and to protect my belongings. Sick Of It All, however, instructed the front of the crowd to turn around and show everyone standing at the back what they had been missing. As front man Lou Koller’s words filtered into people’s heads, a sudden sense of panic set in and people began to back away as rapidly as possible. As the crowd surged forward there was no escape as the innocent victims of the band's wicked plans were shown how to really enjoy themselves, finding a moshpit around them. Knowing there was no way out, the only option was to join in. If it had been any other band, I would have hated them forever more. As the words to ‘Hello Pricks’, off their new album, rang out, Sick Of It All convinced the now even more boisterous crowd that their unique brand of New York hardcore was definitely here to stay.

To follow on from such a performance would have left most bands quaking in their boots but Snuff, who gave an exceptional performance when I saw them in London last year, were more than up to the task. Having formed back in 1986, Snuff has witnessed numerous personnel changes but, once again, more than proved their worth on stage . ‘Marbles’, off their ‘Numb Nuts’ record, was one of the highlights of their act and along with the now famous 'Arsehole', had the crowd singing along in full voice.

As the end of the day loomed, the Apollo filled with an air of excitement as the crowd waited anxiously for Pennywise, the headliners. The final preparation for this finale was the Santa Barbara band, Lagwagon. Around since 1990, the quintet have produced hardcore and pop punk music with a distinguishable political motive. What little I had heard of Lagwagon before , I had thought was terrible, but their set was truly classy and they didn’t put a foot wrong. The general consensus after the gig was that Lagwagon should have been given a longer stage time and I definitely am of this opinion as they changed my mind forever about them.

Pennywise, the Californian hardcore and skate-punk band, have provided a positive message to all fans since 1988. Jim (Vocals), Fletcher (Guitar), Randy (Bass) and Byron (Drums) came on stage to fanatical applause. They were after all the band many had come to see. Unveiling a banner dedicated to the memory of bassist, Jason M. Thirsk, who tragically died in 1996, Pennywise brought a slight air of sadness to the proceedings but proved, through thieir stunning performance, that life has to move on. Playing with industry and panache , Pennywise stole the show for many people . Inviting two fans on stage to sing the beginning to ‘Stand By Me’, Jim immortalized himself within the die-hards' hearts, a moment to treasure for the chosen ones who were also allowed to go backstage after their attempt. Later, Fletcher beckoned the audience to storm the stage, and without hesitation the crowd did so, pushing aside the security and making the gig especially memorable.

After performances of such greatness and an audience who lapped up energy by the gallon, Deconstruction 2, following in the footsteps of its predecessor the year before, proved a great success and left the crowd eagerly awaiting next year’s show. A superb line-up was always going to deliver music of the highest calibre and left me wishing I could have been part of the energetic moshpit, if only I hadn’t a bag to carry

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