Friday 11th July - Manics / The Flaming Lips / Super Furry Animals plus guests

After years of should they or shouldn't they and will they or won't they it's been hard to predict just exactly what will come next from the Manic Street Preachers. Many predicted that following the release of their Greatest Hits album and "Forever Delayed" tour late last year that the band would be announcing an immediate split in the New Year, but then came talk of new material inspired by Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" album. The first day of the Move Festival 2003 looks set to a mixture of old and new material giving fans the first chance to hear the fruits of their labour over the past 12 months and if they can capture the same spirit they did at both the Carling Weekends and Homecoming shows it might just establish the Manics back in the fore as our greatest living rock & roll group after a period in the wilderness.

The Flaming Lips on the other hand were last seen on TOTP's with Justin Timberlake on bass duties and their live shows have seen them covering Kylie's "Can't Get You Outta My Head". How they're going to perform in the outdoors is up for debate as the eccentric yanks have always faired better in the underground glamour of disco balls and bunny rabbits. Saying that "The Race" is going to inspire frantic dancing and "Yoshimi" will make a few unsuspecting heads twig.

Continuing the Welsh connection of the day the Super Furry Animals play Move just 3 days before the release of their sixth album "Phantom Power". The band are reported as approaching the album with a more simplistic approach to "Rings Around The World", but when you're the Super Furries this still means a simultaneous DVD release and 5.1 Stereo Surround Sound. By the time you read this article the band will have premiered their new single "Golden Retriever" in front of 72,000 people at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium prior to the Wales Vs Azerbaijan European Championship match.

As well as the Mars Volta which feature ex-At The Drive vocalist Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez (i.e. the ones with mad hair) they're also backed up by Kinesis - the band most likely to steal the hearts of the old Manics fans with their songs about NAFTA, censorship and the rise of the right-wing Christian Groups in the States!!!!

UPDATETeenage Fanclub have been added to the bill playing before the Super Furries. Unmissable and if the suns out that day they could potentially give the rest of the line-up a run for their money.

Saturday 12th July - The Charlatans / Feeder / Dave Gahan plus guests

When Tim Burgess announced he was going to record a solo album many fans feared that the band were going to call it a day. Of course it takes more than a solo album to get in the way of the Charlatans after the tragedies they've been through during their career. It seems that for every set-back the band take, musically they just keep getting stronger. "Wonderland" featured the best songs of their career while old classic such as "Soul Saver" and "The One & Only" are set to shine in the bands first outdoor gig in the Northwest. Look out for songs from the new album such as 'Try Again Today', 'Wave The World Goodbye', 'Feel The Pressure' and 'See How Clear It Is' and expect a single to be released to coincide with the headlining show.

Feeder are a band who you either love or hate. For myself personally it's the latter, but for the rest of the guys at Designer Magazine who've been playing "Comfort In Sound" all year they'd be happy to watch Feeder repeatedly for the whole of the 3 days of Move. The band recently completed their first tour without drummer Jon Lee, who tragically committed suicide at the beginning of 2002, to rave reviews and prior to their show at Move the band are supporting Coldplay on their UK and European Tour.

Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan heads out on his own as one of the few rock & roll icons of the past 20 years who has enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic. While Martin Gore has always been the creative genius behind the band, his latest solo album of cover versions is a disappointment so were really relying on Gahan to deliver the goods. At time of going to press we haven't heard his "Paper Monsters" album, but as it's releases a month prior to Move you'll all have time to learn the words for an 80s style sing along.

Also bringing things back home are the Inspiral Carpets who's comeback tour is currently selling out the length and breadth of the country Puressence and the Bees also support.

Sunday 13th July - REM / Badly Drawn Boy / Idlewild plus guests

With a Greatest Hits album released this year it looks like REM will be filling the same gap that David Bowie performed last year at Move. Our last REM live experience was a bit of a disappointment as they were promoting the "Monster" album and such many of the old favourites were left by the wayside. But this year Wall to Wall hits all the way looks likely to be the order of the day so you can expect everything from "The One I Love", "Losing My Religion", "Shiny Happy People", "Imitation Of Life" and "What's The Frequency Kenneth?". They may be have been the band you persistently hated each year when the Best International Band at the Brits swung between them and U2, but there's no denying when these songs are played you're going to be the first one down the front joining in the nostalgia rush.

Badly Drawn Boy has calmed down somewhat since the days of 3 hour shows at the Manchester Academy, but you could safely place a bet that at some point in the show he will dedicate a song to a long lost friend of a long lost uncle (who wasn't really an uncle but a family friend) who happened to play cricket and lived somewhere in the Northwest. In between his vague tributes to loved ones it's likely Damon Gough will plays some songs, but whether you get a shambolic run through a few b-sides or you get single after single is up in the air and purely in the hands of Damon himself.

Last time Idlewild played Manchester they were bedding in 2 new members following the departure of bassist Bob Fairfould. Surprisingly it turned out to be one of their tightest on form shows in the city. Idlewild are also proof that if record companies have the faith and commitment in a band then they can develop over time rather than just being dropped after the first album didn't sell. Move is an opportunity for Idlewild to take it to the next level and with those REM influences becoming more and more apparent you could just find that Michael Stipe steps in and helps them on their way in America - see them now before Idlewild become international superstars!!!

Also playing the last day of Move is John Squire who will bring the spirit of Madchester back with the old Stone Roses songs and Athlete who Designer Magazine described as the "most perversely enjoyable pop group of the new millennium". Oranger who we know very little about are also mysteriously on the bill.

Alex McCann

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