Finger Eleven - Manchester Apollo - 30.10.03

Between Apartment 26 and Evanescence. A clear cut case of a rock and a hard place. It's a situation that Finger Eleven find themselves in on their full scale assault of the UK which will see them playing to over 20,000 people in just over a week. Add to that a significant amount they've already played to on the European leg of the tour and you can see that they're slowly and surely working their way into the minds of vulnerable young kids stepping out to their first ever rock gigs.

If on the outset Finger Eleven seem like a nu-metal band it's soon wiped away once you witness the live show. Somewhere between the production and sounds of nu-metal they've developed into a prog rock free for all where songs are cut up, restructured and and jammed out with really only the vocals displaying a trace of their recent self titled album. Offstage the band are quiet unassuming bears of Canadians, but on-stage satan takes over their souls. Rick Jarrett steals the whirlwind guitar moves of Pete Townsend and the mod foot stamps of James Black allow vocalist Scott Anderson to stand back simply deliver the deadpan monotone vocals. It's how rock n roll should be and despite the fact that the lyrical subjects cut deep, the stage isn't the place to display wounds and Finger Eleven know that.

By the time the 30 minute slot was over you just couldn't help want more. Blowing both the hotly tipped Apartment 26 and multi-platinum selling Evanescence off stage may be a regular occurrence for them, but for us here tonight it was a revelation. The fact that given the chance on the headline shows later in the week they will simply rip the set apart and start on a black canvass is more than enough to desperately beg them back for more. Finger Eleven are a band who are going to grow through word of mouth rather than excessive media coverage with journalists frothing at the mouth, for that very reason a return trip to the UK in the next 6 months is essential. The future is there's for the taking, it's up to them whether they take on the challenge or sit easy in their home country and in the States.

Alex McCann

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