The New Roscoe - Leeds

Saturday 30 November 2002


Deke LeonardI had seen the band the previous night in Birkenhead and was well aware that the circumstances of these two gigs were going to be different. Over in Merseyside there had been a big stage, good lights, but an uncertain atmosphere. In the Roscoe, there was a small stage, minimal lights and a tightly packed crowd - a typical pub gig, if you will. If it was weird for me, it must have been even stranger for the band. But do they let such inconveniences act as problems? Do they hell. This sort of thing, they just take it in their stride. It probably helped that they played here only seven months ago, so knew exactly what to expect.

The set was the same as Birkenhead, so I won't dissect it at any great length, but will instead talk about some general aspects of the two performances.

George JonesWhat really jumps out at me from this pair of gigs is the way George Jones has developed since I first saw him deputise for Micky at Sheffield in July. Then he was competent, but obviously needed to concentrate on the mechanics as he worked his way into the band. But now... well, he's just been on a three week tour of Germany with the band, and the transformation is clear. He is confident and relaxed, and knows what he is doing without having to think too hard. He looks like he belongs on stage, and is also contributing to the music and adding his own touches, and isn't just reintepreting his father's licks. He has established himself as a guitarist and performer in his own right, and come the time when his spell in the Man band comes to an end, his own career will be well worth watching.

Martin AceBut back to tonight... George produced one good solo after another, in Do It, Love Isn't Love and an especially inventive one in C'mon. At times you could almost believe the other four were his backing band. Well, maybe that's taking it too far; Martin produced a nicely raucous Walrus, and Gareth's Hammond workout in 7171 got a rapturous reception. Deke's highspot was probably Daughter of the Fireplace, which really does make a for a great full throttle finisher for the main set. And Spunk Rock is the perfect encore... again led in by George and Bob, and including a moog extravaganza. As is becoming the norm, Bob's drumming is faultless, and fits in so well that it's hard to find anything new to say about it, but his work in Spunk Rock is maybe his best of the night. Romaine brought the night to a close, and to be honest it's a bit of an anti-climax after the preceding number. But that's a minor criticism. Overall, yet another great night from the band.

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