Juliette & The Licks / Humanzi - Manchester Academy 2 - 28.8.06

Scruffy greasy rockers Humanzi are four Dubliners who include spinning guitarist and singer Shaun Mulrooney and pint sized bass player Gary Longergan who jumps up and down like a mini-me version of his lanky sidekick. Mulrooney has a delivery which had much in common with those Kasabian boys, an angry snarling way with words but with moments of adrenaline fuelled melody and memorable, heavy guitar riffs best demonstrated on "Fix The Cracks" and Get Your Shit Together". New single "Out On A Wire" may be slightly more commercial but there's no smoothing the edges for Humanzi who come out at you rough and ready. Humanzi are a band full of promise. Seriously, check out their album "Tremors" if you still need
convincing. It's an essential purchase.

Juliette Lewis is a true Hollywood star with powerhouse performances in Cape Fear and Strange Days cementing her reputation as a credible and in demand actress. Recently she had taken a break from the cut throat world of film making to concentrate on treading the boards in the west End of London and of course playing with her band The Licks. Tonight the Academy 2 is sold out with a mixture of fans, young and old, delighted at the price of a tenner a ticket. The Licks are no stranger to Manchester, last december they supported the pantomime dames of rock The Darkness at the MEN Arena but
please dont hold that against them. Never one to stand still their new album "Four To The Floor" was heavily promoted with an appearance on the Sharon Osbourne show before a helicopter ride up north.

Looking sleek and svelte in a casual t, skin tight pvc trousers and a native American head-dress, Lewis proves herself a natural born thriller. Her raspy, gravely vocal is in the tradition of Courtney Love and The Licks themselves compliment with a garage rock sounds with occasion detours into glam Joan Jet style. Surprisingly there's no one moving apart from a handful of young
kids at the front which begs the question whether they are film fans curious to see their heroine in close proximity of shy retiring music lovers. I'll go for the former, after all how many wallflowers attend gigs by a band who were personally invited by Dave Grohl to open for the Foos at Hyde Park?

While the songs are vibrant and urgent they aren't that original or ground breaking, but its the bands energy and passion which elevates "Smash And Grab" and "Purgatory Blues" to a level of malevolent excellence. When Juliette announces her band are to play a cover there's a sense of confusion in the venue as many people struggle to comprehend who the song is by, realizing the choice may be a little obscure for some, Lewis announces it was originally by the Velvet Underground. During "Bullshit King" Juliette flirts harmlessly with her all male musicians as the crowd finally starts to get a little more animated at last.

After eighty minutes and two encores everyone goes home satisfied and exhilarated. Juliette is one of the few actors(esses) who can successfully have a credible music career. Keanu Reeves of Dogstar please take note.

Nicholas Paul Godkin
Photos: Kirsty Umback www.kirstyumback.com

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