The Bluetones - 53 Degrees Preston - 30.10.05

Once the indie darlings of the Britpop scene, The Bluetones are now playing much smaller venues with the original line-up. I bet a lot of kids in tonight were still at primary school when the band first came to prominence. No strangers to Preston after visiting the city several times over the years, they are always guaranteed a warm reception.

Although now in his early thirties, dapper frontman Mark Morris still has that cheeky swagger and youthful demeanour making his appear at least a good ten years younger. His three band mates look equally fresh faced. Tonight's set is strictly for the fans with lots of album tracks from their extensive back catalogue, a few new songs and the occasional hit single to keep everyone happy. Starting with "Jub-Jub Bird" which displays a harder edged guitar sounds from Adam Devlin. Mark occasionally sips from his whisky proclaiming it taste's exquisite to which some cheek blighter shouts out alcoholic. I refrain from shouting back "that's Starsailor mate", but the temptation to do so was indeed very strong.

New song "Happy Lobotomy" is typically catchy with a melody that could have rested easily on their debut album, but it's a little heavier in tone. Scott adds a sinister bass line to the track. Another new song off the forthcoming EP (which should have been available tonight, but isn't die to an almighty Bluetones cock-up according to the gospel of Mark Morris). Entitled "Serenity Now" it alarmingly plods along in a dad rock kind of way, but soon improves with adrenaline induced bursts of guitar and the comforting vocals. Unveiled tonight is a track off their new album "Night In The Moss" which has echoes of Simon and Garkfunkel with a touch of country.

Bounding back on for the encore they go straight for the proverbial jugular with two singles. "Solomon Bites The Worm" is catchier than bird fly while "If" is a sing-a-long for the fans who may not sing in tune, but the passion is there. The Bluetones have always been a people's band and if they continue to deliver such effortless performances like this one then all I can say is here to the next decade boys

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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