Give it a Name Introduces - Manchester Academy 3 - 13.5.08

As a follow up to the Give it a Name festivals in Sheffield and London, tonight’s event is a showcase of some of the upcoming acts and gives the fans who couldn’t attend the festivals a chance to catch a taste of GIAN closer to home and minus the ridiculously expensive arena cuisine. The doors open at six thirty and the Academy quickly fills up with excited fans. The four bands play only short sets of between thirty and forty-five minutes.

Mayday Parade
With a healthy selection of hair styles and harmonies, Mayday Parade set the dial to emo and  lead off with a short, sweet set of bitterly romantic songs rife with strange metaphors and awesome guitar solos. The mostly young crowd’s response is good especially to the numbers “Jersey” and “Black Cat” – two examples of perfectly crafted pop-punk masterpieces. Although hugely generic, Mayday Parade have pockets full of charisma and vigour to get even the most hardened arm-crosser to tap their feet.

Four Year Strong
Bearded, should-be-headliners, Four Year Strong play incredibly fast hardcore pop-punk that oscillates with bomb-drop-beatdowns, chugging  goodness and sporadic squeals. Their sound is very three dimensional and technical but completely accessible and always fun. Although disappointingly low on the running order, Four Year Strong get the best crowd reaction of the night with wall to wall circle pits and daft dancing left right and centre.

Meg and Dia
The two sisters and their band deliver a lesson in perfect pop rock songwriting. The set is confident and sensitive with studio perfect vocals courtesy of Dia and a very dynamic sound from the band that can make you party and shed a tear in one fell swoop. Powerful choruses and occasional heavy flourishes make Meg and Dia a colourful and diverse act well worth watching and destined for big things.

The Colour Fred
Ex-Taking Back Sunday guitarist The Color Fred rocks his new powerpop entourage with plenty of sing along choruses and a nice folk rock feel  -  “Get Out” being the most memorable track of the set. The material is a little bland, with weak, repetitive vocals and seems to leave the crowd rather uninterested which is a shame considering Taking Back Sunday’s former prowess. Part way through the set, Fred’s backing band depart and a mini acoustic set ensues consisting of both a Michael Jackson and Jeff Buckley number – an interesting choice to say the least, but it gives Fred the opportunity to showboat his acoustic sensitivity and husky vocals. The band return to bring it home and the night to a close after a 45 minute set during which the crowd noticeably and unfortunately thinned out.

So all in all, tonight’s show is a success although the running order seems to be a little mixed up. Perhaps Mayday Parade, Meg and Dia then Four Year Stong would have been a more appropriate choice judging by the crowd participation! Where is The Colour Fred you ask? Good question...

Words: Ben Herbert

Photos: Mark Forrer


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