The Automatic / The View / The Horrors / Mumm-ra
Manchester Academy 1 - 3.2.07

The opening slot on the NME Tour has a rich vein of success with the likes of Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand, but we just can't see Mumm-ra following in that tradition with their off centre bonkers pop that takes from the likes of Super Furry Animals, Flaming Lips and Futureheads. Each song is a melting pot of ideas which would put the Mystery Jets "everything including the
kitchen sink" philosophy to shame, but there's no real hooks to see them travelling much further than that of support slot. And even then it's just a little to nice and restrained to be truly experimental thus shunning the fans of the bands they aspire to.

The Horrors look like the best band in the world. Conversely they sound like the worst band we've ever heard in a long time. For those old enough to remember old goth they'll never want to look back, so this nu-goth sub Russell Brand art school w*nkfest is as bout as relevant to the people here as electroclash and stoner rock were in previous years. Some fans stood
around Designer Magazine tonight are convinced they're watching Johnny Ramone, but apart from "Sheena Is A Parasite" there's nothing more than 80s Matchbox Disaster b-sides to be heard and the moody atmospheric lighting has been done by Cradle of Filth and their ilk a million times before. It's a cliché, but the Horrors really deserve no more - it's pure style over substance destined to be no more than a footnote in musical history

On previous occasions the View have failed to live up to the hype, but with a stunning number 1 album "Hats Off To The Buskers" where we can actually decipher the broad Scottish brogue of Kyle, we're beginning to realize that the View are more than just a Libertines cover band. Before they've even taken to the stage chants of "The View, The View, The View are on fire" ring around the venue and it's clear that something is special by the fact that at least half of the audience tonight probably never read the NME. The sort of fans, like Oasis', who simply know a good tune when they hear one. "Wasted Little DJs, "Superstar Tradesmen" and the Brimful of Asha pilfering "Same Jeans" are undoubtedly anthems, we've tried to resist for too long and it's futile, but it's the opening riff of The Roses "I Wanna Be Adored" that shows us the heights this band are aiming for. The Stone Roses, The La's - you can now add the View to that list of classic bands!

With 700 people walking out of the venue the first night in Scotland it left the Automatic with no choice but to offer the headline slot in Glasgow to the View. Despite selling out this very same venue twice just a few months ago when the band hit stage there's a visible gap in the audience where the View fans were stood 20 minutes ago, but don't ever be fooled as The Automatic do what Maximo Park did last year and end the night victorious.

It's hard to deny that the band are about that song. The huge massive Monstrous beast of a song, but it's easy to forget that the Automatic have many songs in their arsenal which the Kaisers, Cribs and Fratellis would all give their right arm for. Based around relatively obscure influences such as Jarcrew and McLusky these huge pop tunes build up such as "Recover" and "Raoul". Album tracks "You Shout You Shout You Shout You Shout" and "That's What She Said" are just as strong and unlike the sporadic frenzy of the opening three bands, the pogo f*ckathon doesn't stop till the Automatic leave the stage.

The NME Tour may have been a victim of its own success and by choosing bands that could have sold these venues out in their own right the real gems have been left for the smaller tours such as last years where The Automatic shared the stage with Forward Russia amongst others. As a retrospective of bands who have been breaking out in the last 6 months (as opposed to the brand new bands it used to represent) it was a beered up Saturday night on the streets of Manchester

Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride

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Check our interview with The Automatic about the NME Tour, the secret new single, The Horrors & touring the US with the worlds biggest Emo band
Click here for the interview