The Vines - Manchester Apollo - 30.4.03

The Vines chequered live history is well documented and tonight it's one of those nights where Craig Nichols would rather be doing anything than playing a gig - eating fast food, drinking Pepsi / Dr Pepper, shitting, sleeping or doing one of the many things a certain weekly music paper reports with the sort of enthusiasm that tends to imply they're getting paid to write drivel in the shape of an investigative news articles. Take into account that we've just seen one of the worst bands out of the UK in years, Rocket Science, and the worst Australian band ever in the shape of You Am I the fact that the Vines are f**king up before our eyes is pretty much the icing on the cake.

The problem stems from Nichols adherence to the rock & roll book of clichés. Each song is a desperate attempt at cool iconic gestures which usually end in walls of feedback, the guitar being smashed to smithereens and the drum kit in a state of disrepair with Nichols rolling on the floor like a man fact all the things which define great rock shows and if they were borne out of a genuine passion they would be symbols of pent up angst exploding before our eyes in an unadulterated display of emotion. The fact that this happens during every single song including the ballads (Autumn Shade, Mary Jane) becomes a tiresome chore to witness especially when they hit the mark on the singles "Get Free", "Highly Evolved" and "Outtamyway".

As all hope is lost the Vines parting shot "F**k The World", possibly the greatest rock & roll single recorded (should the record company not wimp out in favour of something more Radio Friendly) since the Super Furry Animals "The Man Don't Give A F**k", blows the past one and a half hours away and wakes us up to the spellbinding magic the Vines can truly achieve on a good day.

Alex McCann

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