Athlete / Boy Kill Boy - Parr Hall Warrington - 24.1.08

Now that their hotel room trashing days are behind them, Boy Kill Boy, on tonight’s evidence, has settled into a lazy melodic groove. Chris Peck’s vocals retain their dramatic, lofty thrust, as is especially evident through ‘Civil Sin’. Energy levels rise and “Whooo Hoos” are let out from the viewing area, as the digitally toed ‘Suzie’ hits home.  An unspectacular, but catchy warm up seems to do the trick and Boy Kill Boy is now trying to catch attention onstage rather than in hotel rooms. This is undoubtedly a step forward for them.

Five Charlton Athletic fans whose combined thrust makes up Athlete, strides into view led by the bearded and bright singer/guitarist Joel Pott. Immediately they show pride in their latest and third album ‘Beyond The Neighbourhood’. By settling comfortably into the sturdy drum driven ‘Tokyo’, with percussionist Stephen Roberts immediately taking control and showing his worth to the group. Rumours that Joel is “giving his all on this tour”, seem to be well-founded upon the airing of full-bodied second album stomp, ‘Half Light’. Between songs, jovial graciousness and light humour shows that the lead man has given a great deal of attention to stage presence. This seems to be paying dividends tonight.

One of the most striking elements of the new approach to song constructing displayed on the recent third album, is the swerving key-led prominence. This is illuminated through the melancholic ‘Best Not To Think About It’ and Pott’s vocals become laboured, almost to the point of painstaking. This lower key approach seeps into the keys and acoustic dominated, old favourite ‘Beautiful’ that is nudged along by a swooning crowd chorus. Pott encourages audience participation and warns the enthralled balcony dwellers that they cannot stay sat down all evening. When the full band returns, bassist Carey Willets steps up to dominate the floor shuddering, bass pushed ‘Wires’. This nifty number brought success and attracted a wider appeal to the second album and, as always, its impact steps up in a live setting.

An Editors climb to ‘Twenty Four Hours’ is greatly appreciated. It serves as yet another example of the continuing vocal power of this quivering quintet. As the main set draws to a close the whole room is beckoned to their feet and little resistance is shown. An encore inclusive of the jam frenzy, poetically punchy ‘Flying Over Bus Stops’ puts the lid on a bracing evening.

David Adair

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