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THE HEADSTART - DRY BAR MANCHESTER - 13.2.12

In a pre-Valentine’s Day climate of gushy schmaltz, Designer Magazine attempted to readdress the universal balance by hosting a night of pop punk at Dry Live.

First to play were the irrepressible but tuneful punk three-piece Underdogs, but unfortunately I missed their set due to no justifiable or interesting reason other than my own incompetence. You could be a better person than me and check them out at www.facebook.com/uk.underdogs .

Next to play was De’Nova, their opening tune featuring cinematic tones of a disaster movie soundtrack. The onstage leaping added to the overall 30 Seconds To Mars effect of the performance, and there were distinct Leto and Co tones to the music. That’s not to say De’Nova are a filtered and diluted pop outfit; they partook in their fair share of intense woahs and wails which interspersed the chantable, if not occasionally indecipherable lyrics. De’Nova also possibly initiated a trend of the night, which was a lack of sleeves, possibly due to all the cardiovascular stage acrobatics.

Continuing on the cinematic theme, the next band Jack’s Not Smooth played an interesting heavy metal remix of Pirates Of The Caribbean. From the reassuringly familiar, it promptly got brain achingly loud and screamy. So much so, it broke the sound system. Repeatedly. The set featured growling vocals contrasted with occasionally more melodic riffs, and finished with a rendition of Jessie J’s ‘Do it Like A Dude’, done like a dude who has steel-reinforced eardrums.

Main support band were Our Innocence Lost. The frontman displayed some impressive stage acrobatics, somewhere between that of an ape-man hanging from the riggings, and Justin Hawkins from The Darkness’ more agile younger brother. The marathon of a set featured some serious head banging an impassioned emotion. Just sometimes it was difficult to decide which particular emotion was being expressed. Musically, there were elements of classic rock and metal, pumped up on some sort of stimulant, and the pure energy displayed by the band consistently required inhuman stamina.

Headline band The Headstart unjustly had a smaller audience than they deserved, somewhat hindering their attempts at stirring up a mosh pit. Their slick performance and image (courtesy of tiny record label; Lazy Bear Records) gave you the impression that these guys could go far. The hints of tween favourite pop-punsters, but all grown up, took the best bits of jumping around bedrooms to Busted, and combined it with lyrics with a little more edge. Despite some slightly questionable moments of holiday park style audience participation, their music was seriously impressive, and ‘Bringing It Back’ had an anthemic, Blink 182 quality that achieved the ultimate goal of making a song that you’ve never heard before sound like an old favourite. Fan favourite ‘Trying To Write an Anthem’ pretty much achieved its goal.

The Headstart saw off the anti-Valentine’s Day celebrations riotously, and proved you don’t need love when you’ve got loud noises.

Words: Lucy Holt, @Elle_YouSeeWhy

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