The Bravery / Mando Diao / The Colour - Manchester Academy 1 - 31.5.05

How's this for an unsettling, strange, weird and wonderful sight to behold. The sun drenched lead singer of LA quintet The Colour looks like Jim Morrisson, behaves like a wired Mick Jagger and sounds like the Cure's Robert Smith. Only in America eh? The Colour may be retro, but a sprinkling of psychedelic mysticism, a touch of indie rock and just the faintest hint of 70s glam hit the mark every time. The frontman tries a bit too hard with his rock star posturing, but single "Mirrorball" is a Stones style riff-o-rama which is irresistible and one of their finest songs.

Mando Diao are a Swedish rock outfit who like the Libertines have two singers with that bond Doherty and Barat once had. With two dynamic frontmen you'd think there'd be one upmanship and fierce competition, but this isn't apparent for this ferocious beast of a rock band. The drummer pounds away like Animal from the Muppets, the harmonies are luscious and Mando Diao play the blues on "Motown Blood" with a quick refrain from Elvis' "It's Alright Momma". With some salsa for the chicks to dance to and the mellow "Mr Moon" they win the crowd over with ease. The only mistake the band make all night is dedicating a song to Eric Cantona, but I feel our favourite new Swedes were just playfully winding up the crowd.

(Pic: Support act Mando Diao)

Who really cares about a much publicized feud between the Killers and The Bravery. It's isn't new, it publicizes the bands and from the Beatles Vs The Stones bands will bicker as long as it does wonders for album sales. From the Roadhouse to the Academy (an Apollo date is already booked for later in the year) in a few short months the Bravery have conquered Manchester.

Foppish, but fiery frontman Sam Endicott is dressed from head to toe in leather with his trademark quiff properly coiffured. He may not be keen to dwell on the bands 80s influences, but it's so obvious in the music, image and stylings of the Bravery that it's impossible to ignore. "Dead In The Water" is so Duran Duran that the Brummies could sue if so desired. Endicott twirls his microphone stand like a bonafide showman and his vocals are powerfully dominant. There isn't anyone in the Bravery who isn't the apotheosis of coolness personified with axe wielding guitarist Michael Zakarin stroking, plucking and strumming his instrument like a tactile master of touch.

The fans go crazy for the bands second single, the smash hit and domino-tastic "Honest Mistake". Sneaking in an Inxs song into their own fine repertoire, not an obvious single from the Antipodeans but a good surprising cover all the same. The Bravery's first single "Unconditional" may not have the hooks and vivaciousness of "Honest Mistake", but it's certainly a superb track and one to end on until the encore.

Coming back on stage to deliver the new single "Fearless", another storming single with Sam and the boys riding around on a speedboat Rio style (watch the arty black and white video for a closer inspection) it's keeping back the best material until the end to give the audience a real show until they return triumphantly in the Autumn

Words: Nicholas Paul Godkin
Photos: Karen McBride


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