Less Than Jake / Boys Night Out - Manchester Academy 1 - 02.04.2006

A crunching set of post rock with occasional drinks breaks in the punk genre is being belted out, by this Conor Lovat-Fraser steered sextet. In numbers like the fiery and catchy ‘Medicating’ from their less bating, but more focused 2005 album ‘Trainwreck’, Boys Night Out are showing an ability to reach a wider and dare I say it, more mainstream audience. The gang vocal approach that is most prevalent in old numbers from their abrasive ‘Broken Bones and Body Kisses’ release, adds intensity to the set. The pleasing to the eye keyboardist Kara Dupuy, clearly caught the attention of the young male punks present tonight. It is a pity that her sound was not more noticeable, even on just one number, in order to justify her presence, musically. Boys Night Out are slowly working their way up to the expectations levelled at them a few years back and, tonight’s performance did them no harm at all in this quest.

You know what you are getting with the veterans Less Than Jake, freewheeling punk with splashes of ska and lots of high jinx fun. This is exactly what they delivered, with front man Chris Demakes showing that he has lost none of his vocal punch, by hurling headfirst into the flighty and buoyant ‘Short Fuse Burning’, early on. This found favour with a nostalgic and lively crowd and allowed LTJ to throw in a few new numbers from the pop/punk with ska interludes new album of ‘In With The Outcrowd’. Roger Mangelli rocks the mic in ‘The Science of Selling Yourself Short’ and the crowd’s vibrancy shows that these punks from Florida are still firing on all cylinders, they are not waning one bit from 14 years on the job.

Demakes' crowd banter is as entertaining as ever, as he lashes out at the girlish new rock bands out there like Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. The hounding horns of JR Wasileski and Buddy Schaub boom out to add some ska fuelled madness to the fun punk proceedings. A 90 minute set spanning LTJ’s entire career including the anthemic boomer ‘Look What Happened’ is completed with impunity. At the end, you are left wondering why when a few years ago they were neck and neck with Green Day, do Less Than Jake suddenly find themselves so far behind? Answers on a postcard please?
David Adair

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