Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Music @ Academy, Birmingham

6 October 2004

Any band that has the audacity to call themselves The Music, in my view, best have some damn good songs to back it up. I still don’t quite understand how the name has not been used to such acclaim before, but I digress.

Support came in the way of Engineers, a support band that were more than capable of holding their own to a crowd that was, like Mozart, there for The Music. As The Engineers left the stage, the increase in the excitement levels was audible, the suffocating oxygen less air made continually worse by a thousand cigarettes, smoked in the hope of killing the time.

As time passed and nine o’clock rolled by like a distant memory, impatience grew, and I for one loved it. I like to see a crowd getting riled, it adds flavour and substance, and you know the band love it as it adds to the excitement and atmosphere when they do eventually show. As I stood wondering if I should buy some more fags or invest the last of my tenner in an over priced beer, my mind was made up by a rumbling crowd, buoyed into life by movement on the stage; just a sound engineer.

The false alarm gave way to a steady clapping and stamping of feet. Then, more movement. Just another sound man, no… the straggly long hair of lead singer Robert Harvey gives the band away and the crowd, by now ready to storm the stage, lurch into life. For almost two hours the onslaught of some of the best guitar riffs of the decade clobber the crowd. The continuous beat of songs such as Dance, Getaway and People remind you of the indie dance cross over of the early ’90s, only this time with a little more distortion and no less attitude.

After the obvious tracks from the last album it was time to play some from the new album, Welcome To The North. It’s been well publicised that the album was produced by Brendan O’Brien of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden fame in America. That said, this is British all the way, and that is damn good to say, because these are damn good.

I have to say that the atmosphere inside the Birmingham Academy has never failed to impress me, and tonight was no different. It may not get the praise of its London counterparts, or have the history of other venues, but for intimacy, crowd enthusiasm and sound, there are not many better places to see a band such as The Music. This was most evident in Freedom Fighters, a song so infectious and carrying so much energy that it is impossible not to like it. The gritty guitar riff that accompanies Harvey’s vocals had the crowd ecstatic and was the highlight of a night filled with them.

The Music are gradually being garnished with praise from all sides, and rightly so. They have the swagger of a real Rock’n’Roll band and the music to back it up. And they have drum solos. In true Led Zeppelin style, they have a drummer who not only adds to the performance, but is a massive part of it. This was most obvious in closing numbers, Take The Long Road and Too High – relentless. There was no time for an encore, but who cares?

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More on The Music
The Music @ Academy, Birmingham
The Music – Welcome To The North
The Music @ Astoria, London
The Music – The Music