Million Dead / X Is Loaded - Manchester Academy 3 - 15.4.04

Yourcodenameis:milo, the opening band on this tour may be the ones receiving all the lascivious attention of the press, but the real unsung heroes of this formidable rock package are X Is Loaded. With a kinetic energy, an underlining aggression and assured melodies X Is Loaded are everything the Vines were meant to live up to. "Thirteen Days" starts off like Joy Division and Funeral For A Friend jamming only to throw the shackles away 30 seconds later and find its own path. "Dean Park" is the bands "Highly Evolved" times a hundred, "Laugh, Point & Wave" displays the authentic rock & roll energy of Oasis' "Definitely Maybe" album and "Roll On" changes tact with psychedelic space rock complete with Doves style atmospheric overtones. British rock music is at an all time high, but there's few bands on the scene that you can truly see tapping Muse on the shoulders and filling stadiums with over-blown pomp rock theatrics - X Is Loaded are the band that are going to giving Matt Bellamy and co sleepless nights for the foreseeable future!!!

After the mighty force of X Is Loaded, Million Dead seemed doomed from the start and not even a front man who looks like the Messiah and can kung fu chop like Bruce Lee can save them. In a world full of extremo types, Million Dead have taken the genre slight left of centre, infused it with a punk ethic and delivered a sound which can best be described as faster harder younger brother of adopted Welsh punkers McLusky. Singles "I Gave My Eyes To Stevie Wonder" and "I Am The Party" offer up volatile shots to the senses, but in the main Million Dead are impenetrable noise-niks with neither the tunes nor the noise to carry off either successfully. When they launch into a cover of The Smiths "Girlfriend In A Coma" and destroy it before my eyes it really is time to walk. Not only would Mr S P Morrissey disapprove, he'd drape himself in the flag and say "dear blighty, has the music scene in England been reduced to this rabble". That dear readers says enough.

Alex McCann

Post your Million Dead / X Is Loaded comments on the Message Board