The Rain Band - Manchester Ritz - 2.2.03

The Rain Band have Manchester running through their veins and tonight it's more evident that usual. Their supporting former Stone Roses axe man John Squire, are managed by the Charlatans manager and are playing to an audience including Manchester legends John Robb, Bonehead, Cressa and numerous other faces I didn't happen to bump into. The Charlatans connection goes back further though till about 6 years ago when the band were called Sussed and your correspondent used to buy their demo tapes for 99p from the now defunct Omega Records (also owned by the Charlatans management).

After seeing the Rain Band play their forth ever gig 12 months ago at the Green Rooms the band went onto sign a deal with Island Records. During this time they've recorded an album due for release later this year and the single is "Easy Rider" is out later this month but you can't help but feel the bands confidence it at an all time low. At those very early gigs frontman Richard had the sort of Northern swagger to compete with Gallagher, Brown or Ryder but now he merely shuffles and shakes his hand to the beat with the sort of confidence of Judy Finnigan deprived of alcohol. The sound also sound muggy but is still streets ahead of their fellow tour support band Palo Alto who's american dirge really has to be seen before you shout out "And we thought we had it bad with the Stereophonics".

On their swaggering best on "Easy Rider", "Fist of Fury" and "Eye For An Eye" they mix up the beats with spiralling guitar riffs, but it's the same formula throughout. It's noticeable how the beats have been stripped back in favour of more traditional rock elements and as a result it's more appropriate to call them a rock band with a dance influence than an organic dance band. The Rain Band will never be a classic Manchester band because they rely to heavily on their influences rather than look to the  innovation of the Madchester bands, but the future is still within their grasp as to whether they soar or simply plunder one. A little confidence as they say, can go a hell of a long way.

Alex McCann

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