The Dead 60s / The Rifles - Manchester Academy 2 - 16.3.06
A few days after they notched up their first Top 30 hit with "Repeated Offender" The Rifles hit Manchester for the 2nd time in a week. Last time they were headlining at the Roadhouse above the hotly tipped Milburn and The Upper Room, this time they're taking to the big stages with the Dead 60s. Like a bunch of cockney nutjobs The Rifles are the missing link between The Clash and The Jam, Strummer and Weller. With Fred Perry V neck sweaters and union jack badges adorning the guitarist hat you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching pre-ska induced Ordinary Boys, except this time they've remembered to write songs that the milkman will whistle to on his IPOD. "She's Got Standards", "Robin Hood" and "Local Boy" show signs that The Rifles could make one of the great indie-pop albums of the year.
Most bands would saw off their right leg to be playing a near capacity Academy 2, but there's a sickening thought whenever you mention the name the Dead 60s that they truly could have been one of the biggest bands in the country if their label knew how to market them. Admittedly though it's not Sony's fault, exactly how do you market a band who's so out of step with everything else happening at the moment and still they just soldier on regardless picking up fans through word of mouth alone. Tonight's audience reflects that as they head back home for a UK tour following huge success in America, a mixture of old hardened punk rockers and ska revivalists who remember the days of Rock Against Racism where The Clash and The Specials would mix up polemic with mammoth tunes, similarly there are hordes of teenagers who surely are too young to have caught the band on one of their many support slots with the Mozfather, Ian Brown and The Stereophonics.
As the sirens wail announcing their arrival the Dead 60s arrive nonchalant with a new found swagger in their step. "Loaded Gun" starts off a series of old classics from the debut album splintered with a couple of offerings from their as yet untitled new album. "Saturday Night", the first of tonight's newies, is classic Dead 60s except this time they've looked to Franz Ferdinand knack for taking far reaching influences and wrapping it up in a radio friendly pop tune. The classic theme's of working class life pop up again and again and this is one of their most simplest - just Saturday night, small town life with all it's celebrations and all the violence. The other newie "Don't Walk Away" is again typical 60s, the usual spaghetti punk influences shining through, with the nearest they've come to sounding like a fellow Deltasonic label mates The Coral in their career so far.
Switching from Mad Professor style dub to in yer face punk anthems the brief 45 minute set is scattered with classics, "Last Resort", "You're Not The Law", "Riot Radio" and the closing "Ghost Faced Killer". If the Dead 60s keep up the momentum and get some festival appearances behind them this Summer they could just grow into not only one of the most important bands the UK has right now, but one of the biggest bands!!!
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest www.shirlainephotos.co.uk
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