Yeti- Manchester Roadhouse - 9.2.05
We're guaranteed that the band are on the premises; a full 5 minutes before stage time, John Hassall is sat cross-legged on the staged, tuning his guitar. It's a bit of a waste of time though, as his instrument is so low into the final mix as to be unheard. It does allow the guitars of Harmony Williams and Andrew Dein-Jung to come across loud and clear though.
Occasionally the implosion of one potentially great band will result in off shoots that merely ride along on the reputation of the original band - John Squire anyone?. Tonight is not the "John Hassall band plus a few backing musicians", the performance is very much that of a tight, well rehearsed unit in which every member has a valuable contribution to make.
Possibly to allow for some reflected limelight to fall on the others, Hassall stands to the side of the stage, allowing Williams to take up lead vocals and act as the focus for the packed crowd. Well, that should be "attempts to ", for all the eyes in a packed Roadhouse are initially firmly on the person stood stage left.
Introductions are minimal, the lads want to get on and play an early selection of catchy, jangly pop that isn't so far removed from a natural progression that the Libertines may have taken, but these are merely the teasing introducing for something that leads into an ultimately heavier, rockier second part of the set, laced with more guitar works from Dein-Jung.
There's a neat throw away line or two as well "Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder, Even if You loose Your Head" (from Never Loose your sense of Wonder".
There are no crowd surfers, or moshers, or an underlying sense of recklessness, merely a good natured rapport existing between band and crowd more resembling a house party than a gig. People do move to the rhythm, they smile a lot, and occasionally sing back the lyrics that have only been released on their web site.
A sense of the humorously ridiculous pervades, and the encore titled "Insect Eating Man", is met with the loudest sheer of the evening. It's delivered in an accapella, outbreaks of hank claps echoing around the venue as we acknowledge that honey bees make a crunchy base for a snack
The crowd wanted more, and that's the way it should be
Words & Photos: Ged Camera - www.camera1.free-online.co.uk
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