Aimee Mann - Manchester Academy - 3.7.02

Tonight's gig is populated by lovey dovey couples who seem to only go to concerts if the choice of act is David Gray, The Lighthouse Family, The Beautiful South or The Corrs. Middle of the road music for the more mature gig connoisseur. Aimee Mann was originally due to play here last September, but due to the event's of September 11th she rescheduled it for the sunnier climes of July.

Wearing a waste coat that is surely a cast off from Joseph and his Technicoloured Dreamcoat musical. Aimee, your typical hippy rock chick who has hung out in LA a little too long has the sort of patronizing in-between song banter and is even more annoying and inane when she requests that you only take photo's at her chosen selected moments. With a full band backing Aimee she never once introduces a single member to the audience or gives them any credit. She's the star! She's in control! And were supposed to be in awe of a creative genius who has graced us with her presence. My Arse!!!

"Save Me" from the soundtrack to the movie Magnolia is excellent and performed brilliantly. The problem though is there's hardly any atmosphere to speak of, the audience are far too lethargic and there's no spontaneity or excitement from either the stage or the audience. I know there's a laid back vibe, but i've been to libraries which have been livelier. Older tracks like "I Should Have Known" from her first album are all right in a Sheryl Crowe uninspiring way and "Wise Up" shows that her early promise hasn't really been utilized. With the exception of the Magnolia soundtrack album, Mann's appeal really stretch unless you're sandal wearing vegan with a penchant for cardigans and fondue evenings in middle class suburbia.

She'd be better off re-naming herself Average Mann or to be politically correct Average (Wo)Mann. Other songwriters of her ilk like the underrated Fiona Apple, Kathryn Williams, Beth Orton and the aforementioned Sheryl Crow have nothing to fear. Their careers are in no danger whatsoever from the over-rated Aimee Mann.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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