Motion City Soundtrack / Maple State / Circa Survive / Copeland
Manchester Academy 2 - 16.09.05

A fledgling Manchester band that only formed in 2004 and go under the name of Maple State, provided pleasing set of post mod/indie against a back drop of 70s rock instrumentals to instigate an evening of varied sounds. Influences such as Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and Razorlight came across via rustic vocals of Greg Counsel that added a hurried and catchy feel to the set. The stirring ‘You Can’t Put Hotels On Mayfair’ demonstrated raw bemusement that has helped catapult the aforementioned bands into the limelight. More numbers like this could see this swirling quartet heading in the same direction.

This tour represents the UK debut for the Philadelphian fervid post rock/punk outfit Circa Survive, who produced a focused and curious set with haunting harmonies and the straining, piercing and sullen vocal style of Anthony Green (ex Saosin). The orbital instrumentals rose up alongside Green’s vocals to produce emotionally rising numbers such as ‘Act Appalled’ and ‘In Fear and Faith’ that stood out for their harrowing and sombre feel. Circa Survive were the least mainstream and stood out most for being the furthest away musically from tonight’s headline act. Therefore, the crowd were a little bemused at first, but believe me; this band will grow on you.

Soaring and a little bemused US rockers Copeland came on to an air of expectation and seemed to ride upon that, in their nifty and mournful rock with patches of indie opener; ‘Wasteland’. The hearty and cutting vocals of Aaron Marsh careered around the room and caught the attention of many, but the set did ebb and flow; lacking any real cohesion. However, they possess the ability to portray downtrodden feelings better than George Orwell, something that shone out in the careering set ender; ‘No One Really Wins”. A collective shrill cry was emitted from the floor and it marked the entrance of Motion City Soundtrack, who hurled themselves into the haphazard opener; ‘My Favourite Accident’. This found immediate favour with the light-hearted and fun spirited crowd, as the bleach haired and jovial lead man Justin Pierre, set his Tom De Lange with a splash of Jordan Putnik sound into the air like cigarette smoke.

Endearing pop punk was the order of the set and was epitomised in the firing, un-inhibited; ‘Don’t Call It A Comeback’. The quintet oozed pride in the choice of supports acts that were on show selected tonight, humbly requesting vociferous cheers for each one of them. They kept the audience pretty much on a leash before letting things go in the rasping falsetto vocals of Pierre really took off in old favourite ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’ that saw the mosh circle start motoring, although it did end up more like a triangle in the end, as pop punk regulars and debutantes probably don’t get much practice at this routine. For seven quid, value for money was never in doubt, although with over five years of material at their disposal you get the impression that Motion City Soundtrack are beginning to wear their sound out ever so slightly. Perhaps they will need to experiment a little in order to spark a broader interest in their material by the time of their next album.

David Adair

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