The Paddingtons / 5 O'Clock Heroes - Manchester Academy 3 - 21.2.06

5 O'Clock Heroes are the lost younger and better looking brothers of the Strokes. This 4 piece come ready formed, ready to f*ck, but try to remain cool and detached from the mosh pit frenzy below them. Kicking off with minor hit single "White Girls", an off beat ska rock classic, could have been a set list faux par, but surprisingly it serves as a mere warning of the greatness to follow later. "In Control" and a B-side rock the house as frenzied teenage bodies create the sort of chaos usually seen at Babyshambles gigs. The difference with 5 O'Clock heroes though, is they have the tunes to back it all up

It took a while for Designer Magazine to really capture what The Paddingtons were about, but that says more about how far the Paddingtons have come over the past 12 months than an error of judgement on our behalf. We first witnessed the band supporting Pete Doherty at an intimate show at Manchester's Jabez Clegg and while they towered above the legion of atrocious supports on the night there was little to distinguish them from the plethora of the London bands coming out at  the time. That they were from Hull as well seemed to make it all sound like a "Tales From San Francisco" style bandwagon jumping on a local level. We'd almost written them off until we witnessed them by chance supporting the Bravery last year on the big stage and instantly rather than light-weight indie punk we were watching a bank who had the aesthetics and sheer musical bollocks of the Clash - it was a clear sign that Paddingtons had turned into force to be reckoned with!!!

Now styled by Manchester based clothing company Gio Goi (their last rock'n'roll model being the victorian dandy Doherty) they represent Luke Haines vision of 21st century hell with the guitarists flanking frontman Tom Atkin with the rebelwear of skinnyfit jeans and old skool punk jacket while on the other side that enfant de terrible of British youth fashion The Hoodie. By comparison Atkin looks like a office worker in smart casuals, albeit one who'd probably steal your girlfriends and then bottle you as he walks off into the sunset with her arm in toe.

Although a few fans have clearly joined the devotees since the Bravery show last year tonight is about those hard-core Paddington fans who have been there since day one. In many ways this is the bands send off before they disappear to record the follow up to their outstanding debut album and playing virtually every track from it alongside selected B-sides it's the only parting gift they could ask for. The Mick Jones-esque guitarist acts as if he knows every single fan in the building and they really capture the spirit of punk - it's not a divide between the fans and the stage, more one big mosh pit and as much as the security try to get the fans out of harms way as soon as possible you can imagine the band would be a lot more happier if it was just a chaotic freefalling of bodies.

You could try and analyse the likes of "21", "First Comes First", "50 To A Pound" or "Panic Attack", but it could only pail into comparison to what the kids are feeling in the pit as bones break, pints get thrown at the stage and still the band goad them on to push it even harder. New song "Rat Race" proves that this album far from being a one off statement of intent,  The Paddingtons are going to get a hell of lot messier on the next record and there's every chance they'll go from cult punk band to band of the people, band of the masses as the working class white kids have a riot of their own.

Along with Gold Blade and Miss Black America, The Paddingtons are one of the true British Punk bands out there at the moment

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride

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