Breed 77 / Last Stop China Town - Manchester Academy 3 - 20.09.06

Earnest and tough spirited post-grunge from the Midlands quintet of Last Stop China Town, sees the unfurling of a piercing and musically compact performance. A robust metallic twist adds a speckle of intensity to the haunting and slightly yearning vocal cries of singer/guitarist, Alon. The Tool and Gwar merging ‘Just Ashes’ embodies the power and lyric snap of a likable outfit, who remembers their purpose as a support act and amiably draws the crowd in and encourages their involvement. Tonight, there wasn’t a trace of Metallica in them and they do show enough to command attention in their own right, rather than having apathetic hacks leading people to believe that they are some sort of tribute act to the James Hetffield fronted outfit..

Three albums down the road and an involvement in more tours that Thomas Cook, leads to a conclusion that Gibralta’s Breed 77 simply possesses everything you could ever ask for in an alternative band. This includes, of course; honesty, variety, a cosmopolitan nature, musical appreciation and emotion. Opener, ‘Voices’ from the 2004 profile building ‘Cultura’ album embodies all of the above qualities. A climatic chorus is performed with heart and soul by the bare-chested Paul Isola. The lyrics become more autobiographical and increasingly poignant with the passing of time;

“The truth hides behind all these walls
In the end reality, will let you be who you can be.”

Whilst the Academy Three is not as full as it was for their headline gig around the time of the second album's release, the enthusiasm and good nature may even have increased. The melodically angry, mainstream flirtation of ‘The World’s On Fire’ ignites energy exertion towards the front. Even the mixture of tired rockers and the “I’m only here cos they made me go and promised that I could do Ryan Adams and The Cardinals next week” press people, towards the rear give off the odd head-nod. The slow piano-laden, rock ballad of ‘Look At Me Know’, is reminiscent of the potency of Staind at their best and hangs a reflective air around. A rocked-up and gritty cover of ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries is a welcomed surprise. The popular, cosmopolitan rock-out of ‘La Ultima Hora’ makes the encore worth waiting and screaming for. Breed 77’s stoic resistance against moulding their sound according to rock music trends, makes for a refreshing show.

David Adair

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