Dead 60s - Manchester Apollo - 12.11.04

If ever there was an award given out for the most hard working support band of 2004 the worthy winners would undoubtedly be Dead 60s. So far this year these lively Scousers have opened for label mates The Zutons and were personally invited by Morrissey himself as special guests on his recent UK tour. Before the year draws to a close Dead 60s will be on the same bill as Kasabian and The Music on a few dates across the provinces.

Tonight the band are playing to a crowd waiting for The Thrills. As the air raid siren wails around the auditorium the quartet confidently take to the stage as if the audience have been waiting for them instead of the Thrills. Matt McNanamon on vocals and guitar reminds me of a young Bernieco Del Torro. His voice has a raw yet tender quality, expressing vulnerability and hunger for ambition. He's no shy, shoe gazing, humourless muso either. Unusually for a Liverpudlian band their influences range from The Specials, The Police and The Clash to create a unique ska sound of their own.

Ben Gordons lush hammond organ on "Shot Down" is out of this world while the band have that gang mentality that shone through all the classic bands. One one song there's the line "we get high" which is a mellow if slightly unsettling come down anthem. "Riot Radio" and "You're Not The Law" are also immediate examples of good songwriting which bodes well for their forthcoming debut album. "Loaded Gun" could be their future hit with it's staccato guitars and frequent uses of reverb. At one point the frantic fretwork action causes the guitarist to break a string as the band win over another new audience with 30 minutes of original and striking material.

If the Dead 60s are half as good on CD as they are live then 2005 should be the year they truly break out of the support band role and truly come into their own.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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