The Zutons - Manchester Academy 2 - 1.5.04

Just over six months ago I saw the Zutons live for the very first time when they supported Tim Burgess on his solo tour. Although then the Liverpudlian five piece were relatively unknown to the general public, their reputation on the live circuit as an exciting, promising new band was beginning to spend throughout the country. Yet another Liverpool stoner band to break through into the mainstream so soon after the Coral, The Zutons are playing to a sold out crowd and judging from the accents I can hear there are plenty of Scousers here mixing with the Mancs (whatever happened to the so called rivalry between the two cities?). Imagine a scally version of the group from The Commitments, add a touch of Dexy's Midnight Runners, the genius of Frank Zappa, old style soul and a generous helping of rock savvy and sweet harmonizing and hey presto you've got the Zutons.

Their Ian Broudie produced debut album "Who Killed The Zutons" has been well received by fans and critics alike, but it's touring and playing live that the Zutons have the most fun with. Not the best looking or most original band in the world, but for good time party sounds The Zutons are the ones to watch. Dave McCabe has less mannered, but gutsier soul voice than Mick Hucknall while the only  female member is a young, feisty saxophonist strutting, jiving and swinging with the rest of the guys. "Pressure Point" and "Dirty Dancehall" also display one of the least animated of The Zutons, Bryan Chowhurry's smooth and seemingly effortless guitar playing. The slower, more reflective tracks show a more mature, serious side to the Zutons, but the feel good factor of their optimistic anthems are what the crowd get most excited about. There's also an instrumental which has Dave on Melodica and oh no the cliché of all cliché's the drum solo, but good old Sean doesn't milk his moment in the spotlight for too long. For the encore The Zutons perform their hit single "You Do You Won't" which is a highly infectious slice of rock, pop and punk combined.

As good as The Zutons are their scally themed songs are lyrically a tad limiting, but perhaps i'm being pedantic as they blew everyone away.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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