Jet / The Stands - Manchester Academy 1- 11.2.04

There was a time shortly after Britpop when I'd have slated bands like the Stands and Jet the moment I heard a note, but nowadays its a case of the familiar winning through time and time again. We're in times now where anything goes and there's no real dominating force so for every classic rock band there's a complete opposite and nothing remains staid or boring. What both Jet and the Stands have in abundance are hooks and songs which stick around far longer than the latest hyped garage rock sensation from detroit and that's why these bands are making such an impact both in the UK and internationally.

The Stands have always been a mixed bag when it comes to the live shows and tonight is one of those nights where they simply fail to hit the spot. Rather than play to their strengths as they did on the Shack tour a few months earlier, they try to appease both their own fanbase and Jets fanbase by turning up the amps. For a band like the Stands it simply takes away the intricacies and the delicate melodies, essentially the things that make the stands special. Countless whispers of comparisons to the La's (Ed: the most over-rated scouse bands ever) are heard but the Stands fill their own niche and while the influences of Dylan, The Byrds and the Beatles are clear to see for everyone they certainly stand their own amongst the current crop of scouse guitar bands. Maybe it's cos they're so familiar, but "I Need You", "Here She Comes Again" and "When The River Rolls Over You" still sound clear, but tracks such "All Years Leaving" and "It's Only Everything" simply get lost in the muddy arrangements they display tonight.With time the Stands will find their feet, but tonight they lost sight of what they are and suffered for it.

By the time Jet hit the stage the predominantly male audience is beered up and lary. Maybe it's symptomatic of the genre, but it's something that will dog these guys like a bad smell in the same way that Oasis have always attracted trouble at their gigs throughout the years. It's also a marked change from the gig just a year ago at the Roadhouse where I seemed to be the youngest person in attendance after the band attracted most of the Rolling Stones fans on the back of supporting them on their Australian and European tour. Jet basically have one major problem though and it's the fact that although their rockier tracks soar, their ballads simply limp along aimlessly so you're left with the conundrum of the comedown factor. After "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" or "Cold Hard Bitch" you have to come down to a forgettable track such "Move On". It's unfortunate cos when the band rock they're up there with their heroes The Stones and contemporary acts like Oasis, but when they slow it down the bar beckons every time.

Despite the fact that tonight they didn't show what they're really capable of, it's clear that these guys are going from strength to strength and that this time next year they could well be selling out the Manchester Apollo. It's only a matter of time before these guys go stella

Alex McCann
Photo's by Karen McBride -

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