Razorlight - MEN Arena - 17.12.04

Razorlight's performance has always aimed to emulate the quality of the headlining band, which is why they transformed themselves from one of the worst bands we'' ever seen when they supported Hope Of The States to a formidable force on the farewell tour from Suede. Tonight, supporting the Manics at the MEN Arena, they raise the bar yet again and deliver a set which shows the arena's are not an impossibility for the once fragile Razorlight.

Once upon a time Razorlight dealt in spacial fragility as a counteraction to the bombast and constant drone of the garage bands of the time. Johnny Borrell and Bjorn Agren were the sort of players that realized less is more and the live shows pushed that to the fore with Borrell freestyling over barely formed chord progressions. It was a revelation and that's what made Razorlight so special, but alas the Razorlight of old is no more and it's been replaced by a beast of a band that sound like a steroid addicted version of their former selves. "Dalston", "Rock N Roll Lies", "Stumble & Fall" and "Vice" only bare the slightest resemblance to the Razorlight we saw at the Carling Weekend a few short months ago. Borrell attacks and stabs at his guitar while Bjorn still has the, ahem, golden touch keeping the guitar heroics to a minimum and letting rip only when he needs to.

New song "Keep The Right Profile" however takes the band to a completely new level and delivers as Borrell promised a few months ago in a Designer Magazine interview, songs that don't rest on their laurels and stand tall above "Golden Touch". The song itself sounds reminiscent of Blondie and features the refrains "It's a wonderful life, you can do what you like" before heading into a dub breakdown and leaving with the lyrics "When you're gone you don't come back". It's the best song Razorlight have recorded to date and looks set to be a sure fire Top 5 smash.

With 2 nights sold out at the Apollo early next year, it's clear that by the end of 2005 Razorlight will be selling out the arena in their own right. It seems like Johnny Borrell's vision is finally coming to fruition.

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com

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