Plain White T’s - Manchester Academy 3 - 31.8.07

Despondent High School age kids wait outside in the vain hope that the melodic pop/punk fairy godmother will fall from the sky and hand them tickets, for this sold out show of Plain White T’s. They are probably the only fans cursing the success of recent single ‘Hey There Delilah’. The sold-out signs went up not long after it made friends with our beloved popular radio stations. However, that said, a large share of the keen crowd do not seem to be here to bask in the one track glory. Rugged  and cruising guitar layered new offering ‘Come Back With Me’,  from forthcoming album ‘Every Second Counts’ demonstrates energy and sends out a pleading, melodic shot of catchy fervour. It shows up early on, the belief that this Chicago quintet has in their new found, searching stance. Naturally, their 4th album provides a large share of the material on display and despite the odd stroll that is perilously close to Busted territory, it is a Matchbook Romance topped off with the zest of Maroon 5 vibe that comes off.

It is their acoustic dabbling that sets them outside from other aching US melody makers and appetites are wet, through the sentimental softy of ‘Write A Song For You’, for the flighty showstopper that is undoubtedly coming. Tom Higgenson effortlessly changes his vocal pace and is a picture of enthusiasm throughout. Plain White T’s feed off the collective enthusiasm for the older, less crisp sojourns. ‘Shine’, from 2002’s ‘Stop’ album gives diehard fans their wish and some troubled darkness is delivered, as if to drive home the point that they’re not just a one acoustic wonder.  Guitarist Tim Lopez, provides the thrust and complements Higgensen’s crowd banter with a cruel torment to fulfil requests of fans by taking out “that acoustic one”, “Yeah, let’s take out Delilah”. They didn’t receive many demands after that.

Three songs from the finish and Higgenson grabs his acoustic guitar, phones and lighters go aloft before he has chance to say “This is Hey There Delilah.” No invite is needed for each line to turn into a crowd pleasing chorus and the excitement this creates is harnessed into a punchy finale, incorporating a splash of vibrant pop punk, ‘Take Me Away”. This hardworking band enjoyed the limelight tonight and £7.50p for a ticket meant that even the poor and poor alike could share it with them. This is something that is happening less and less in music thanks to rising booking fees.

Dave Adair

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