Of the many contenders, Morning Runner are perhaps the best positioned todo big things in 2006. The explanation behind this theory is simple; thesongs. Morning Runner are craftsmen of epic, essential music that boastsa vibrant, seemingly magical quality.
The singles released have become instant classics, the band’s live skillspractised and polished whilst enjoying support slots with the likes of
On warm up duty for the Reading four-piece were Bristol based
Soon after New Rhodes departed, Morning Runner routinely ambled onto thecramped Barfly stage and launched straight into It’s Not Like Everyone’s MyFriend. And there it was. That infectious, compelling voice that exitsMatthew Greener’s mouth with such passion and ferocity. It was a call toarms for Cardiff Barfly to focus their attentions on the musical feast thatwas about to be served.
Sadly, to say that what followed was a musical feast would be a grossoverstatement. Morning Runner looked ropey and sounded numbingly average.Wilderness Is Paradise Now is a beautifully enchanting, biting piece ofmusic. None such elements were exported into tonight’s live performance. Therecital of the aggressive, bitter brilliance of Be All You Want Me To Be -the reason I fell in love with this band – was languid at best and acheerless disappointment. Morning Runner were sounding like a band who werealready tired of their own songs, a day after their debut LP was released.Something was wrong. The crowd knew it, the band knew it.
“Sorry about this” said Greener, “we’re really tired, this is our 25thnight on the road or something”. Tired. Christ, they looked it too. Lifelessfigures, physically, emotionally, mentally drained. This was the penultimatenight of their first headline tour and it was all too clear that it wouldhave been infinitely better to have seen them at the start of it instead ofthe end.
Oceans was transcendent, and for two minutes reminded everyone why theycame out tonight, but nothing else stood out or made any impact. EvenPunching Walls (preceded by Greener declaring “This is probably myfavourite”) failed to instill any tangible degree of enthusiasm in thecrowd, whose attention was beginning to falter.
Thank God then for the brilliantly redeeming end of the set. Thefrenetic, rousing Gone Up In Flames was at once sublime and heartbreaking asthe last vital drops of Morning Runner energy seeped away from every line,guitar thrash, and cymbal crash. Following this was the final song – themighty Top 20 entering giant that is Burning Benches. This was performedwith ferocious intensity and was well received by the thankful, roaringspectators.
By the time the two song encore came along Morning Runner finally soundedas if they were waking up, and wanting to perform, perhaps bolstered by thepresence of New Rhodes’ James Williams who had been invited by Greener toplay guitar on Them Folk.
Unfortunately it was all too little too late. Tonight sawglimpses of the sublime talent that Morning Runner undeniably have. But fora band sitting aloft so much potential, and with songs as good as those onWilderness Is Paradise Now, their lack of enthusiasm and tepid performancewas frustrating and ultimately disappointing.
Greener’s final words were “Sorry this has been shambolic” which prettymuch summed it up. Have Morning Runner not heard of Red Bull?