Feeder - Manchester Academy - 10.3.01

If this is the state of British rock music at the moment then kill me now. In its own way they are just as limp and sterile as Coldplay and the Nu-Acoustic movement but somehow we let them slip through the net. "Buck Rogers" is such an energy rush and sadly its the only moment from a band which sets it apart from the current chart fodder simply by saying "Hey we have guitars!!!! We'll turn them up to 11 and hope you don't notice we've forgotten to write a tune". Now for all the faults of the Americans they know their rock stars from the man about town - if you put Feeder in a line up they'd be interchangeable from Dave and Steve at your local.

"Seven Days In The Sun" the second single from new album "Echo park" should be simply fantastic, instead it limps along like a three legged dog with bad arthritis. Its such a crucial moment which so many bands falter on. They release a classic comeback single and then what - the chart figures go lower and lower until they struggle to reach the top 20 indie single. Admittedly its quite charming in its own monotonous head-in-the-sand indie way but they shimmer when we want them to shine. Much of the newer material follows a similar pattern of being a subtle shift in production rather than an real improvement in the songwriting.

While Grant & Co seem permanently on the edge of something brilliant it seem like they'll be balancing precariously for a long time to come. At the moment they may be in the publics favour but how long can they swallow the blandest of the bland. It said a lot when Feeder took the cover of the last ever Melody Maker (Christmas Issue excluded). Were Feeder the final nail in the music weekly coffin. When there are some innovative acts out there why do we need to be tired indie rock from the likes of Feeder. When you've got a support act like Mark B and Blade who despite a patronizing "were rap so you indie kids might not understand us" attitude managed to get the crowd rocking you have to ask is indie rock dead.

Alex McCann