Alfie - Manchester Academy - 27.1.01

They've supported Embrace, been Badly Drawn Boys backing band and are signed to Manchester's trendy Twisted Nerve label. Alfie, who along with I Am Kloot, Elbow, Ed Harcourt and Tom McCrae are part of the new acoustic movement. Lead singer lee Gorton is so laid back and relaxed that its only when he ventures off his stool to dance that you actually realize he hasn't fallen asleep.

His mumbling, monotone, monosyllabic vocal has a lazy Tim Burgess edge but it soon transpires that his range is limited. The musicians are undisputedly excellent with added trumpet, cello, flute and mouth organ to the standard guitar band set up making a more textured performance than last summers festival stints.

However their tendency for delicate arrangements makes the rock contingent of the crowd restless and Alfie's set loses its momentum with loud conversations drowning out the more moving moments of their performance. An unusual band in a way, but a welcome change from the usual laddish image most groups have nowadays.

Nicholas Paul Godkin