The Futureheads / The Underdogs / Grammatics - 53 Degrees Preston - 23.1.08

Local up and coming Prestonians The Underdogs won a competition to be the support tonight for the Futureheads and last year they were chosen to play on the same bill as From The Jam. Very tight and packing a punch few other indie rock bands can reach, the Underdogs follow in the footsteps of Oasis and The Pigeon Detectives as being ambassadors of anthemic, flag waving, singalong rock. Frontman Philip has a vulnerable side in his lyrcis with a bombastic delivery like on "Everything You Want" while a new funky song "Pull The Strings" adds another, ahem, string to their bow which is dedicated to The Futureheards. As regulars on he Preston scene these guys deserve a break.

Grammatics are uncommercial, ambitious, arty and intriging. The fragile looking singers can really belt out emotional torch songs with panache while effortlessly playing guitar. A young pretty girl impeccably dressed, perched on a chair played electric cello and resembles a much younger Liv Tyler. Rather than play conventional songs, Grammatics create mini-epics, dramatic and unsettling, brave enough to delve into prog rock territory. While this isnt always a successful mix of musical styles, Designer Magazine admires any new band for taking risks and experimenting. "Broken Wing", a self described power ballad is more conventional with more emphasis on melody and less complicated and is the most commercial song in Grammatics set. This band from Leeds wont be to everyone's taste however.

Three cheers for the Futureheads for not only being a consistently enthralling live band but for having balls of steal. A girl at the front with her back to the audience who nattered loudly throughout the support bands is publicly humiliated for her behaviour by lead singer Barry Hyde.

Designer Magazine love the no nonsense approach The Futureheads have. There's no muso indulgences or endless guitar changes, just simple good natured three minute punky urgent rock songs. New songs come thick and fast which will no doubt be included on their as yet unreleased third album. These include their next single due out in March, "Beginning Of The Twist" which is their poppiest tune in quite a while and "Broke All The Time". Golden oldies "Skip To The End" and "Hounds Of Love" where the crowd become backing singers has everyone jumping around like lunatics. The Futureheads know how to work a crowd and keep to a tried and tested formula, so there's no chance of any radical changes.

Returning swiftly for the encore the band tear through the rampaging "Piece Of Crap" which is so heavy it's practically metal, but the highlight has to be "This Is Not The World" from their forthcoming album which is essentially the sound of anger set to music, expertly realised

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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