The Hours - Manchester Academy 3 - 05.03.07
When you have been in the music business as long as this earnest outfit that has been drawn together by lead man, Anthony Genn (ex-Pulp Bassist) and Martin Slattery (formerly with Joe Strummer and the Mescelaros), then music is your 9-5. Unfortunately, it does show early doors, as a static Leaves trying to be Snow Patrol commencement is being delivered almost robotically. Leaving the three quarters full crowd at a stand still, trying to figure out if maybe they should have gone to Electric Six at the Night & Day? ‘I Need To Know’, is the one song that uses the hanging atmosphere to project lingering feelings of fallibility. Slattery creates the keyboard climb that is used to ambient building effect. Obviously, tracks from debut album ‘Narcissus Road’, controls the bulk of the show. Previous single ‘Back When You Were Good’, sees Genn’s vocals come to life in fits of defiant delivery of the song title and he also provides the churning guitar build up to the chorus, breathing needed life into proceedings.
The main problem is that the gathering of hardworking, thirty something musicians are straining every sinew to replicate the album sound. It just lacks any real dynamic, something the feeds back to those looking on in expectation. The sombre and philosophical ‘Dive In’, produces enough feeling to demonstrate the Genn and crew’s emotive journeying. However, despite some between song clichés and chit-chat there is a growing gap between the band and onlookers.
A novel way to shoot down a heckler is by disclosing that; “this song is about my dead father, so I’d appreciate it if you could be quiet”. The number he’s referring to ‘I Need To Know’, starts the encore off in a wistful, sombre and pondering manner. Genn strums his acoustic as though he is stroking a tombstone and people (especially the heckler) do not know where to look. Naturally, the Stone Roses spirited, northern anthem, ‘Ali In The Jungle’ uses defiance, masterfulness and a wandering keyboard touch to give energy and spirit to the finale. The musicianship at times, was of course, accomplished, but the live vibe never really took off and although there was enough here this evening, to suggest that The Hours will grown in impact and depth. A comment from a young attendee making her way out into the cold, winter night summed the evening up:
“It was neither here nor there really.”
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