Between The Trees / Secret Handshake - Manchester Academy 2 - 6.2.07

At arrival to the Academy 2 on a bitterly cold February night, The Rocket Summer’s fans were left with a taste of disappointment before they had even entered the venue.

Taped to its doors read an apology explaining that singer Bryce Avary had no other choice but to cancel his Manchester performance of his nationwide tour due to illness, resulting in the date being rescheduled for the summer.

Luckily minutes after this announcement was made it was then discovered that The Rocket Summers two support bands would throw a free gig to try and make it up to the crowd in the headliners absence. Both bands more than accomplished this.

First up to the stage was Orlando’s Between The Tree’s who were making their second trip to the UK after their hugely successful support slot on tour with Wales finest Kids In Glass Houses.

They burst onto the stage oozing with enthusiasm and hurtled straight into their recent album The Story & The Song’s opener ‘The Forward’, which sets the night off in true style. Its sugary synth melodies winding with it’s incredibly sing a long chorus was just what the kids at the front needed to rectify their night, and they couldn’t get enough of it.

Continuing with their high tempo performance, their dance fuelled song ‘Fairweather’ was unleashed before myspace favourite and the bands single ‘The Way She Feels’ received the biggest sing along of the bands set.

Between The Trees performance suggests that this band could certainly have a bright future ahead of them. Each song is catchy, and lead vocalist Ryan Kirkland’s soaring vocals are executed to perfection through the bands prettier and slow melodies to its more rock fuelled elements. UK audiences could well be seeing and hearing plenty more from this band over 2008 with the right backing behind them.

Tonight’s newly appointed headline band, The Secret Handshake like Between the Tree’s are making their second trip across the pond after supporting Drive Thru Records Self Against City last summer.

The band create a more polished sound than their support , which is in a similar vain as bands like Hello Goodbye & Cobra Starship, but also reminisces a Backstreet Boy esque influencing flowing through its bubbly melodies and thudding bass lines.

Front man Luis Dubuc triumphs at every opportunity to work his audience into moving to his highly infectious breed of pop and everyone from his band to his budding audience are getting involved in having a little Saturday night dance.

New Material from TSHS latest release ‘One Full Year’, sound strong and could easily propel the band into the mainstream, especially ‘Everyone knows everyone’. This certainly is a song to look out for.

Myspace favourite ‘Too Young’ is fabulous in structure with its slow electronic beat opening proceedings to its jubilant dance beat closing. Their E.p’s title song ‘The Summer of 98’ is by far the crowd pleaser of the night as its words can be heard echoing around the Academy 2’s walls.

The Night is rounded off by The Secret Handshakes rendition of Cher’s super hit ‘Believe, which adds a humorous touch to the end of a night which has been saved by two inspiring and promising support acts who have set the Academy 2’s stage a light which many bigger bands can often fail to achieve.

Words: Joe Lennox
Photos: Mark Forrer -

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