Minuteman / The Crescent / Athlete - Manchester Roadhouse - 28.1.02

The NME tour next week may have the glamour and the high profile backing, but you've got to admit that on paper this tour of Britain's best new bands looks a better proposition. With the exception of the Lost Prophets (technically not actually a new band) the NME Tour is an example of how boring, safe and predictable the magazine has actually become since Melody Maker went under.

Athlete are an interesting proposition which we'd been able to tell you more about if only we'd got there 20 minutes early. Signed to Regal, the new single "Westside" gets into the same groove as label mates the Beta Band and is reminiscent of the the Super Furries classic rock & roll meets techno beats. If anything all they need is a little polishing around the edges and maybe if they spend a  little more time in the studio they will reach their potential.

The Crescent on the other hand only have the potential to fade away quietly and risk embarrassing themselves further. Apparently they've spent the past 12 months honing their sound with Lee Mavers, but while the La's may be remembered as a classic band you've got to realize this was 10 years ago and they also spurned Cast onto the nations consciousness. Looking like Northern Uproars uglier brothers and sounding like a poor version of the La's surely isn't my vision on the future....and if that doesn't convince you they have a song sounding not unlike the Mavericks "Dance The Night Away".

If you love Bowie and all the imitators such as Suede and Mansun you'll absolutely fall in love with Minuteman. Fronted by ex-Ultrasound keyboard player Matt Jones they may not have the same low rent glamour of Suede but you get the feeling that given a Velvet Goldmine style make over and a trimming of those shaggy haired mops their image could match the beauty of the music.

Overall a mixed bag but an excellent opportunity to see some of Britain's hotly tipped bands for the year ahead. If you missed the tour don't worry as you can catch The Crescent supporting Haven through February and March and later this month Minuteman support the Mull Historical society towards the end of February

Alex McCann

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