The Ordinary Boys - Manchester Apollo - 6.10.06

With a half empty venue the goodwill give to the Ordinary Boys after Prestons stint in Celebrity Big Brother is clearly running out as the next celebrity takes their place as the tabloids number one before being predictably trashed and destroyed. With the Ordinary army all but vanished it seems like much of the audience is made up by people who simply couldn't get tickets for the sold out Mcfly show across the city at the MEN Arena.

It's this sort of twist of fate that will put a cruel nail in the coffin of the Ordinary Boys career because whether you agree with Preston decision to go in the house, their new album "How To Get Everything You Ever Wanted In Ten Easy Steps" is by far the best and most cohesive album they've done to date and although unfamiliar to much of tonight's audience the lack of material off "Brassbound" speaks volumes about one of the worst albums released in the world...ever.

"Week In Week Out", a classic from the days when Designer Magazine first saw the band headlining in a package tour above the likes of Athlete. its such a vibrant song that still stands the test of time, but at the same time its one of those obvious marring of the Smiths and Jam which Shed 7 used throughout their whole career and ultimately suffers as a result. New song "Higher The High" takes off from the ska-tinged last album but rather than skirting around the issue of whether they're an indie band trying to go ska or a straight up pop band ala Madness they go for the jugular and take the big chorus with ease. "The Great Big Rip Off" is another highlight from the new album but older fans can't escape that this sounds like the Busted proto-types the Dum Dums while an oldie "Just A Song" is played just here in Manchester because we were the one city that got on board first. The final new track "Shut Your Mouth" again sees Preston as a cultural pigeon stealing from Hard Fi of all people, a band that supported them early on in their career.

"Boys Will Be Boys", the great big dumb anthem may end up to be the albatross around their neck but for the time being it's the one song that's paying the bills and they have to grateful. After all they wouldn't be playing a venue of this size if it wasn't for that song and looking around tonight's audience the band are clearly one of the best pop acts of the day in the same way that teenagers used to listen to Carter USM rather than Jason Donovan back in the day.

Ending on the classic "Seaside" you wonder exactly where the Ordinary Boys go next. They've released the best album of their career, but audiences are disinterested and have moved onto Pete, the w*nker from Big Brother, who's hooked up with Guy Chambers and the indie fans wont have them back.

Alex McCann
Photos: Kirsty Umback

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