Busted - Manchester Apollo - 27.5.03

The last time I heard screaming this loud was at a Take That concert in 1995. Unlike other boy bands Busted play their own instruments. Their brand of Americanized angsty rock tried to match Sum 41 and Blink 182 but each song is written with the sort of pop sensibility's the Dum Dums had back in the day. Busted are so popular that on BBC's Saturday Show they have a Busted karaoke with young hopefuls emulating their heroes.

The million dollar question is can Busted deliver the goods live.? Are you kidding? Of course they can. There's much more to Busted than pretty boy looks, dazzling videos and Smash Hits cover stars. With a drummer, keyboard player and additional guitarist Busted expand to a 6 piece, but all eyes are on the tremendous trio of Charlie (girls go potty over this posh totty), Mattie (the tough energetic one) and James who has the sensitive, shy personality that brings out the mothering instincts of the predominantly female fanbase. The three lads bound on to the stage with genuine exuberance jumping around, displaying an instant rapport with their fans. One minute they're wearing nifty little headsets and then a quick trip backstage and they return with Charlie on drums for one song and Matt playing keyboards for another while Charlie perfects his crucifixion pose for dramatic effect on an unforgettable power ballad.

Mattie, wearing a pair of jeans emblazoned with rock 'n' roll suicide takes time out to read the fans banners, my favourite being "I'll be your Britney, if you be my Justin" and involves the whole audience in a robotic dance. As well as the three top ten singles "Year 3000", the yearning for an older woman on "What I Go To School For?" and their number 1 smash "She Said No", Busted have plenty of other songs to perform for us from their debut self-titled album. "Sleeping With Light On" which will be their next single is another slice of pure pop perfection. B side "With His Trousers Down" has a real feel of classic Green Day while "Psycho Girlfriend" is a tale of a bunny boiler who has gone just a little bt too far. We even see young James moon walking to Billie Jean half way through the aforementioned "Year 3000" and he ain't half bad.

The biggest surprise of the evening wasn't their cover of Van Morrisson's "Brown Eyes Girl", but a presentation from former Pop Stars judge Paul Adams to Busted of a disc for selling 6000,000 copies of their album. This wasn't an event Busted expected. The look of bewilderment on their face is genuine. With good songs, performances and teen idol looks Busted seem to have everything going for them at the moment including a string of dates of arenas later in their busy schedule. Like this current tour Busted are not to be missed.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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