The Rifles - Manchester Academy 3 - 12.10.06

If the Rifles were anymore like the Jam they'd be touring Brannigans as The Eton Rifles, but criticizing them for sounding like one of the greatest bands of all time would be like telling Noel Gallagher to burn all his Beatles albums. As Designer Magazine walks into the Academy 3 expecting the worst, that one of our favourite new bands would be playing to an empty venue, we're shocked to find that the building is rammed to dangerous capacity. It's inexplicable as last time we saw this band they were a mere blip on the radar and the fans were enthusiastic even though you could have counted them on fingers and toes. Like the Kooks, The Rifles seem to be building it up by pure word of mouth as the hype machine has ignored them in favour of fashioncore bands, but after tonight we know who's going to have the last laugh.

Trying to analyse a Rifles gig is pointless. It's like trying to explain why you enjoy going out on a Saturday afternoon with the lads, downing a few pints at the match and then waking up the next morning a woman on each side. It's sheer unadulterated pleasure and that's why as Liam Gallagher's sitting round his mansion listening to S Club Juniors half of Oasis' fans have discovered The Rifles, a band who write every song as a classic single which in turn makes it a classic album.

By the end of the set pretty much every songs been played from the album - "Peace & Quiet", "Repeated Offender", "Robin Hood" and the single "She's Got Standards" - virtually all the audience must have stage dived and the floors a mess of spilt beers and sick. It's how all the perfect gigs should end up as and even when they play the B-Sides, which end up sounding 10 times better than most people's A-Sides, the audience still continues into a frenzy.

Most indie gigs nowadays end up as playground for the rich or famous...the Rifles bring back that lairy spirit which is missing from 99.9% of new music. Until you've been to a Rifles gig you haven't really experienced a real live gig

Alex McCann
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest

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