MTV Spanking New Music Tour – feat. Fields,

The mighty MTV rolled their juggernaut bandwagon into Manchester, hosting four bands with apparently “spanking new music.”  First on the bill are The Maccabees and I only know this because I saw the set times displayed behind the bar; Doors open @ 7pm,  The Maccabees take to the stage at 7.15pm.  I stroll in at 8.15, and am instantly faced with the disappointment of missing their show. As I enter the venue, Fields are already half-way through their absolutely charming set.  I won’t critique a band I’ve only listened to for 20 minutes, but their songs are draped in a folk-style that emanates through the room a la Belle & Sebastian, though not quite as twee.

Next up on the evening’s highly efficient schedule are ¡Forward Russia!.  These punk modernists, whom tonight are all shamelessly sporting shirts with the band’s logo emblazoned on them, don’t fuck about!  They instantly thrust their unique sonic wall of sound upon the crowd’s senses. ¡Forward Russia! haven’t lost any of their charisma since I last saw them (supporting We Are Scientists) earlier in the year. The crowd seem to take to them a little more, maybe because of the anticipation for the next act Wolfmother, or maybe because they’re just vibing of how much energy this band conveyed to the crowd.

Last out of the blocks, but by no means least, are the evening’s headliners, Wolfmother, an Australian 3-piece influenced heavily by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.  Lead singer Andrew Stockdale, sporting his unmistakable trademark ‘fro rolls on stage, accompanied by Myles Heskett (drums) & Chris Ross with his indestructible keyboard that, as the show progresses, tends to get bandied around the stage with little affection.

Their opening gambit “Dimension” rouses the crowd immediately and is a near perfect album rendition. In fact, as they flow through their set, each song tends to closely reflect their studio productions.  These boys have finely honed their live performances to the point of being identical to their studio counterparts.  Now I suppose if you like that, then it’s ok, as it shows how good these boys actually are. But sometimes it’s nice to see a little “off the cuff” showmanship. Perhaps take this as a extremely minor gripe, Wolfmother were absolutely awesome tonight. And as their final encore of “Joker And The Thief”  reached fever pitch, the crowd literally exploded. Quality! Thumbs up all round MTV.

Photo by Kirsty  Umback

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