Little Man Tate / Twisted Wheel - Empress Ballroom Blackpool - 15.12.07

Twisted Wheel were the buzz band at this years In The City in Manchester. Zane Lowe, Lamacq and Huw Stephens have also picked up on this Oldham three piece. The busy trio have already supported Ian Brown, The Buzzcocks and Happy Mondays and are due to open up for Cherry Ghost and Reverend & The Makers. Twisted Wheel's frontman Jonny Brown is the ex-guitarist from the The Children and are co-managed by Marcus Russell whose clients just happen to include Oasis. Remarkably Twisted Wheel have been together for less than a year yet achieved so much. They look very young and fresh faced individuals who make one hell of a noise packing a punk punch in music and attitude. They prove in a tight 30 minute slot that the hype is justified and are surely one to look out for as a breakthrough act of 2008. Uncompromising, raw but tuneful with memorable songs they win over a crowd many of whom had never seen of heard of the band before tonight. "You Stole The Sun" is kicking and screaming to be the bands debut single and it's easily their best song performed tonight with a bombast and cocksure confidence that's impossible to fake.

The best early Christmas present any Little Man Tate fan could wish for is a one off date at Blackpool's Empress Ballroom where legendary gigs by The White Stripes, Radiohead and The Stone Roses have taken place. Even Mani is here in a DJ capacity whipping up the crowd in a mass of hysteria. Fans are making the most of this gig as in the first 3 months of 2008 Little Man Tate will be holed up in a studio recording their second album. At 9.50pm the lights dim, the intro music of Carter's Sheriff Fatman is played and the band walk on to a deafening roar from the crowd. "Man I Hate Your Band" opens a faultless seventy minute set. With a permanent smile on his his face Jon Windle states that "this is the best night of their lives", a sentiment from the frontman which the fans agree with whole heartedly. With moshing, stage diving and lager thrown around with hooligan glee by hordes of drunken revellers, the Empress Ballroom resembles a battlefield.

New songs like "A Time For Everything" and "Boy In The Anorak" are welcomed with the kinds of enthusiasm usually reserved for long lost relatives at a family reunion. Little Man Tate of living the dream, performing at a venue where they've witnessed gigs from their heroes in the past. The sign language, banter and connection with the crowd makes them a band for the people.

For the encore the excitement level is raised even higher with "Sexy In Latin", a witty indie rock song laced with pathos and the heavy direct "Down On Marie" which sees guitarist Maz laying down some lethal riffs as our heroic frontman risks life and limb by diving into the crowd, his festive santa hat, just adding to the whole experience

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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