The Wildhearts / Deckard / The Cardiacs - Manchester Academy 2 -09.12.04

Endearing melodic metallers Deckard (featuring three ex Baby Chaos members) along with fellow countryman The Hiding Place give Scottish music some grit, determination and sincerity. They swept the crowd away with the deftness by which they mingled the dexterous vocals of Chris Gordon and the combined tidal instrumentals of the vibrant quartet. The three pronged guitar attack would often rise from a slow soothing base to Ash like turbulence, before reaching a crescendo of crashing almost metallic riffs. The compelling 'Christine' created the most appreciative reception from what can be described as intrigued then satisfied entertained gatherers.

Patrons of the reasonably priced Student Union bar nearly choked on their beer, as the rapturous reception given to The Cardiacs will have implanted the notion in their mind that the main band had sauntered on to stage early. This evening's display of Surrey formed, Orchestral Ska metal punk evoked a mixture of exuberance and compelled stares from the numerically rising Manchester crowd. Ever since their first official recording; 7 inch single "A Bus For A Bus On The Bus" hit people's ear drums; The Cardiacs have been the epitome of musical exuberance, with their stoic resistance to industry norms having won them much praise and respect. Indubitably, tonight was no different.

Authentic heart on sleeve power punks led by the colorful Ginger entered the stage as though they were entering there own living room and everyone in the crowd must have felt at home as well; that is the vibe The Wildhearts exude you see? A 90 minute onslaught of vibrant, ripping and rambunctious rock followed with the most impressive performance of the night coming from under the weather drummer Sturdy, who pelted the beats out with renewed vigour. The uplifting and raucous 'Top Of The World' reverberated around the room and shaking its foundations as it did so, along with the other set highlight; 'Sick Of Drugs' that gave out a poignant message. The much needed respite from the liveliness was provided in the powerful and upbeat rendition of the Cheers theme song. Ginger was in a reflective and appreciative mood, as he thanked the Manchester masses for turning out and took the opportunity to have a dig at the falseness of the music industry. The Wildhearts remain as uncompromising and compelling as ever.

David Adair

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