The Rasmus / Hiding Place - Manchester Apollo - 29.10.04

I'd be forgiven for thinking i'd accidentally arrived at the wrong night as the deafening screams would suggest McFly had added an extra date to their sold out tour. This is an alarmingly young crowd, but on closer inspection their goth uniforms of black, mascara heavily applied, Doc Martin boots and outlandish costumes create the latest trend of fan worship - the mini-mosher.

I doubt very much they had little knowledge of support band Hiding Place but good on 'em for giving them a warm welcome. Hiding Place are a five piece rock combo who thrash around furiously. Reminiscent of The Cult with their fondness for gothic influences, these guys have charisma and connect with ease to the crowd. Hiding Place certainly know how to rock, but they show depth and maturity too. "Revelations" is trippy and hypnotic but with bombast and melody. "Leave Me Here" is a potential hit single while final song "The Truth" is melodramatic and quite moving. Hiding Place's thirty minute set flies by and i'm sure we'll be hearing more of them in the new year.

The Rasmus are relative newcomers to this country, but these four Finnish fellas have been together for ten years since performing for the very first at their Helsinki High School. More of a professional big budget show than your usual rock gig, there's a purpose built platform with two ramps on either side of the stage which gives every member of the The Rasmus mobility. Beginning with their last single "Guilty" enigmatic frontman Laurie appears to be a hit with the ladies as the cheering continues. The band have an 80s edge to them with unapologetic commercial choruses and pop rock melodies not unlike Europe and Bon Jovi circa "Slippery When Wet", but without the poodle perms, terrible clothes and over the top theatrics. "Everyday" is an older song, not as polished as their latest material but equally as catchy.

Telling their fans they support Manchester United is a bit foolish. The cheers turn to jeers and boos, but are soon forgiven when "It's A Sin" is dedicated to the football team. This cover of The Pet Shop Boys song benefits greatly from a rockin make over. "Not Like The Other Girls" has moody guitar solos on this welcome ballad which has much in common with fellow Europeans Roxette. After an semi-acoustic interlude its next single "First Day Of My Life" from this years multi platinum album "Dead Letters" that gets the crowd back on track. Naturally it's "In The Shadows" which makes everyone go crazy, even for those seated in the circle. The encore compromises of a couple of excellent album tracks and after an hour and fifteen minutes The Rasmus have shown us they're no flash in the pan or one hit wonders. This band have drive and ambition and are surely a stadium band of the future.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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