Amen – Manchester Hop & Grape – 9.12.00

You know every Saturday Night, when it’s half an hour to the lottery, and you get that feeling. The one that shouts “It Could Be You”, then you rattle off a list of how you’d spend it to the person next to you. I had virtually the same feeling last night and I wasn’t going to let the fact that I had no ticket get in the way of me seeing the first date of Amen’s first British tour. Despite the fact that they could have sold out a venue twice the size, they decide to play the tiny, but legendary Manchester Hop & Grape as the first date. Recently host to top rock acts such as Kittie and My Ruin, the gig that sticks in my mind was Manchester pop trio Cleopatra playing to about 20 indifferent people. But before we move onto the main act, a quick mention for support acts Charger and Raging Speedhorn. The latter, improved a great deal since the last time I witnessed them and a definite thumbs up for the both of them.

So Amen - What can I say? Every single rumour is true and you’ll be halfway to realising that if you bought a copy of “We Have Come For Your Parents”. The phrase “Best Live Band…ever” gets thrown about so freely nowadays that the reality rarely lives up to the critical reputation. But this band are the closest modern day act we have to the Sex Pistols - the crowd recalling the time when I saw the 1977 heroes on the their reunion tour at the Phoenix Festival.

Casey Chaos, a man possessed with the spirit of rock & roll, spits out the likes “Piss Virus” and “Down Human”. Unusually, recent single “The Price Of Reality” doesn’t quite hit the spot in the same way that “This Is A War” or “Coma America” do. It’s great to see a band that can not only put on a blinding live show, but can also have a political message behind them.

Attacking American societal problems such as family life, religion and capitalism its easy to make comparisons to the like of Manson and co, but tonight there’s none of the famed self mutilation, no elaborate stage show – just the amps turned up to 11 and 5 mad men on stage. Hitting the spot like cocaine, Amen, leave you waiting for more. Just wait until they blow the acoustic blubber of Alfie and Starsailor away on next month’s package tour. Blink 182, The Offspring – You are the Weakest Links, Goodbye!!!!!

Alex McCann