Live Music + Gig Reviews

Terrorvision + Happylife @ Academy, Manchester

14 April 2005

Happylife are not very happy. Lead singer Kevin Brown has an abundance of particularly angry facial expressions as the band ploughs through thickly condensed riffs and sounds. Their music is currently gaining attention as quickly as an escaped rhino: worming its way through radio lists helped by latest radio-friendly single Alive.

They begin surprisingly heavy and butch but soon move off into tiresome domains. Perhaps it’s a lack of interest from no more than the first twenty people that irritates Brown; thus giving a fairly bland show. Or maybe it’s the out-of-control behaviour the tour has descended too, and to which Brown exclaimed with a dry look, that gets to him. But he does try.

The west London quartet have taken time out from promoting last year’s debut album Sweet Resort as headliners to support Terrorvision. But the low-key and decidedly unnecessary seven dates, seven-city comeback tour for the Bradford boys seems about as welcome as a 3,000 word essay on the works of Barbara Taylor Bradford. Yet those that do attend look as though they are having more fun than a group of England fans on a trip back home from a winning game no lie.

As you might expect from a band that has had 13 top 30 hits from 1994 to their split in 2001 there is many a sing-along moment. Like The Wildhearts, Terrorvision have a ton of songs with huge pop choruses, sandwiched between nifty riffs.

Someone must have switched Tony Wright’s lager with petrol before the show because the frontman begins with some curiously odd karate moves, before turning in to an over-eager Ian Brown, and eventually acting like a drunken lout. There is nothing astounding about Terrorvision’s repertoire except a chance to have a great time.

Many of the songs lack emotion and maturity but they remain curiously likeable. It’s pretty basic stuff but done with sweaty verve and unrelenting energy. Yet the only song that doesn’t warrant acclaim is signature hit Tequila. An anti-climax indeed.

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Terrorvision + Happylife @ Academy, Manchester