Dodgy – Manchester Club Academy 27.3.08

’Homegrown’ Dodgy’s second longplayer was, and still is a perfect backdrop to hazy summer days. A fanfare of brass and euphoric pop that balanced the laddish pinnacle of brit-pop’s heyday, it was a guaranteed classic upon release that filtered the trio into the pockets of the discerning, and the bins of few. Roll on a few years to the summer of 96 and Dodgy’s third album Free Peace Sweet, absurdly gained critical acclaim where its predecessor, struggled against the stubborn press pawing for the next oasis. Apart from its painfully shit title, their third offering was a lesson in mediocrity, their verve sapped by one cathartic eye set on dumbing their strengths for the masses, the other sly little beggar set on commercial success. The result was ‘Free Piece Sweet’ lined the pockets of many, and the bins of the discerning, alienating their fan-base in a way only Primal Scream has managed in recent years (incidentally achieving the same commercial success at the same time!).

10 years have passed and things have changed, but only slightly. Nigel Clark is slightly portlier, Andy Miller is slightly more weathered, and Mathew Priest still resembles a Poddigton Pea. Musically its business as usual, ‘In a Room’, the staunch punchy opener of their grubstaker album opens tonight’s proceedings and finds these weathered men in fine form, if not in appearance in musical terms atleast.

‘Melodies Haunt You’ deserves its choral chant (for once tonight’s largely static crowd manage to show a little decorum), and the plumes of brass that adorn it, and even ‘Good Enough’ has paled in its piercing day-glow the decade since its insipid inception.
But all is not so rosy in present view, set closer ‘Grassman’ is excruciating proof of how our own interpretations change. Once held (by me, I was 13!) as their anthem, this power-ballad (in the loosest sense of the word) now listened to with wiser (more cynical) ears, sounds crude and clichéd. Its not the music, it’s the lyrics, where time has been relatively kind to their bearing, text such as “Darling, you are my heroine, The everything I need, Come into my arms, Don't let me bleed” will forever blemish their memory.

Daniel Pratley

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