Grandaddy - Manchester MDH - 31.1.01

I can't believe that nobody's noticed it. Your read the reviews and you get psychedelic references, the Pink Floyd references - please ignore all you've read before. Grandaddy are the closest we have in the year 2001 to Abba!!! Listen to every single tune in Grandaddy repertoire and you'll hear the same simplistic chord changes, the same piano lines. True, the production may be more complex but the tunes remain the same.

An audience primarily here to check out the latest Guardian favoured act and more notably including Andy Votel and Mark & Lard amongst its members (the latter seemingly having a somewhat split personality to his radio persona). After an atrocious support act, Lowgold, the band take to stage with a simple stage set up comprising of computer generated images. Its something that could have been used to great effect but sadly their indie mentality lacks the pop sensibilities of their chart rivals.

The songs, each and everyone, close relatives of each other. A plink and a plonk from the keyboards, a chord change here and there and the odd strange sound effect later perfects itself on the recent singles "Hewletts Daughter" and "The Crystal Lake". What starts as an interesting formula sadly doesn't change for the hour plus show and begins to grate on the senses. At that interesting stage between 1st and 3rd albums they seem to have found the tools, but not yet found out how to get the best out of them. When the bearded ones go back into the studio later this year what remains to be seen is whether they will continue the pop patronage or whether they will retreat back into the lo-fi underground.

There are plenty of acts hot on their heals such as the Webb Brothers and then of course this year will be the return of the Super Furries. Lets just hope that Grandaddy continue down the road to pop success rather than losing their bottle, after all pop music doesn't necessarily have to mean boy bands and girl groups.

Alex McCann