P.O.D - Manchester Academy - 29.4.02

The words christian and rock music don't sit at all well together do they. Well, not at least until P.O.D came on the scene. There was a time when both sides were entirely opposed to each other with rock fans worshiping the church of satan, hating their mothers and sticking pins in voodoo dolls of lovers spurned. And then there were the christian bands who were more akin to singing along to Simon and Garkfunkel and through to the late 90s were more likely to be clutching Belle & Sebastian records that the latest offering from Nirvana or Alice Cooper. Now that's all changed and P.O.D are probably the most inspirational rock band around purely for the plain and simple fact that amongst the cliched words of Marilyn Manson and the nookie of Limp Bizkit, P.O.D's forthright views on every subject under the sun seem like the things revolutions are made of.

Its a clear sign that rock music is finally opening up to new sounds and new cultures with the opening band Skin Dred. Formally known as Dub War they mix up the sound of urban Britain with a dreadlocked rasta fronting some of the harshest riffs around. Which is about as far removed from Roadrunner Records act El Nino who use every rock cliché in the book and still fail to excite.

As P.O.D hit the stage their beliefs fade into the background and its all about rocking it with the big boys. The last time they hit these shores it was supporting Korn and while they failed to make any great impact on the general public....there was storm building behind the scene's which resulted in the chart smash "Alive". A song praising the lord above, with a classic rock riff since used to great effect by A, it somewhat got under the skin of the most hardened atheist and asked questions like Why are we here? Who put us here? Surely there must be a god? It was a life affirming song which took away from all the dark gloomy Nu-Metal stoner rock (Puddle Of Mudd, Staind etc.) of the time and suddenly rock music had been transformed from the voice of the outsider to the voice of life itself. "Youth Of The Nation", performed tonight with a large portion of cheese and bringing out one of those numerous tweenage Nu-Metal fans on stage to join frontman Sonny Sandoval. You only wish they'd have taken it to its logical extreme and brought out a full choir.

With the exception of the potential next single and the title track of recent album "Satellite", its pretty much cliched nu-metal to the core. The real shame is, like Papa Roach before them, P.O.D are at their best when the traces of reggae influence rock shine through ever so slightly...and if they really ripped up the metal blueprint a bit more often they could seriously be real contenders for the biggest rock band of 2002. As mentioned before, the band are really bringing a new lyrical slant and cultural outlook to rock music, but in its live setting this is pushed to the background and the only way of really judging it is on its musical merit. If anything tonight proved that rock music doesn't have to look back to what was happening twenty years ago. Whether its P.O.D's cultural outlook or Skin Dred's rasta rock, it proves that if you dare to be different the hard work will pay off and you'll make your own niche in the market rather than pandering to the current musical climate.

With attendance at church at an all time low and religion constantly being dragged down by the likes of Catholic Church's child abuse scandals, the cause / effects of September 11th and the continual threat of a return to the problems in Ireland - P.O.D are the only positive voice in the hypocritical world of religion

Alex McCann

Post your own P.O.D reviews / comments on our Message Board