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{SPUNGE} Manchester Academy 3 (21/02/03) - Live Review


Manchester Academy 3 (21/02/03)

Joel Gibb from The Hidden Cameras said it best when he summed up indie gigs as “People standing around in a smoke filled room, laughing at people attempting to dance”. You say it is never going to happen to you, but the transition creeps up on you like a stranger and you find that you are not long into your twenties, when you spend your time cursing a beautiful day waiting for the next Charlatans gig. Tonight, I make my way to a safe observing point as opening act Graveltrap get the fun going with their pleasing brand of emo, ska punk with a sound pitched somewhere between Greenday and tonight’s headliners. The raucous track ‘Getaway’ was the highlight that helped get the party started and some good old fashioned skanking. I find myself two feet nearer to the stage, as a result of what must have been an involuntary act during the first band’s set, as American punks Never Heard Of It hit the stage and their infectious brand of pop punk saw a surge of energy bigger than anything Sellafield has ever seen. They are New Found Glory with better songs, more spirit and soon got the crowd buzzing.

{SPUNGE} Manchester Academy 3 (21/02/03) - Live Revieweview
Music - {SPUNGE} Manchester Academy 3 (21/02/03) - Live Review

Right until the moment that the Tewkesbury towny tormentors [Spunge] hit the stage Freud would have been proud of me; I had repressed my desire to have fun as though it was a bitter childhood memory. Then the colourful quintet that have been hailed as the new The Clash bounded onto stage and threw themselves intothe society bating; ‘Jump On Demand’ from ‘The Story So FarAlbum’ that is the 21st centiry’s answer to ‘Anarchy In TheUK’. It was no good I was jumping to the demand of the music and frontman Alex Copeland’s captivating vocal style. Coupled with the fact thathe has the stage presence of Joe Strummer or Jonny Rotten, as he jovially entertainedthe crowd all night with self deprecating humour that included an admission thathe should be doing what any self respecting farmer from his part of the countryis doing; “Shovelling pig shit’. The equally anarchic ‘Go Away’ pleasedthe crowd craving the older tracks and saw the start of some energetic skanking.

[Spunge} were here to promote their latest album ‘That Should Cover it’ (out 23/02/04 on their own label Dent’ All Records) featuring a heap of skanked up covers and some new tracks. One of the new tracks featured was the intriguingly titled ‘Some Suck, Some Rock’ and proving that they fall into the latter category, they bounced around like a cheque written by Leeds United F.C. Alex’s vocals took on a more reggae sound at times as well. [Spunge] have drawn comparisons with many ska/emo punk band, but seldom has there been a mention of The Levellers when reading or hearing about them. Tracks such as ‘Room For Abuse’ and the ‘Skanking Song’ that were well received certainly warrant such a comparison.

In a neat touch of originality they took a lead from The Reduced Shakespeare Company, in the middle of the set and condensed a number of covers including ‘Circle In The Sand’ by Belinda Carlisle and ‘Oliver’s Army’ by Elvis Costello into one fun packed song. The nostalgic don’t forget your mates tune ‘Roots’ helped set things up for a frenetic finally and saw some quite graceful dancing in the pit. That is the difference between skanking and moshing you see? The former is more graceful, well that is my excuse anyway. The one hour and a quarter set finished with a neat and shamelessly cheesy rendition of the J Giels Band classic ‘Centrefold’. Even people at the back found their bodies swinging to the hypnotically swinging track that saw a spectacular end to a thoroughly enjoyable band. All credit to [Spunge] for getting everyone, including this indie bore bouncing!


David Adair