The New Roscoe - Leeds

Sunday 16 March 2008

Reports of the previous gigs had been very enthusiastic to say the least, in fact some were declaring the Chester date to be the 'best Man gig ever'. That seems to be overstating things more than a touch. The best Man gig ever, without Micky Jones on stage? Hmm. So, a late decision was made to video this appearence. This put off those wanting to take photos as flash was discouraged, but maybe a DVD release will make up for that.

Lights were adjusted to accommodate filming, and an expectant crowd grew increasingly impatient. Even the barman adjusting the curtain at the back of the stage drew interest. When the gig did kick off, it was clear the band were moving straight into top gear. Love Your Life saw the band in encore form on the opening number. Phil Ryan was attacking his keyboard during his solo with unrestrained aggression, and the rest of the band weren't far behind.

Phil put in another good solo in Something is Happening, but dammit, George matched it and then raised the bar even further. Ongoing monitor problems threatened to stifle the momentum during Diamonds and Coal, but in spite of that, it was still a very, very good performance. In fact, the band didn't flinch from technical obstacles, but rather met them head on and brushed them aside. During All Alone, George kept his lead vocals going while having to change his Strat for his SG during the first verse, then even had to swap that for Josh's Fender. You have to keep reminding yourself how young he is (compared to most of us, anyway), but it's clear that he is a consummate professional. He knocked off the solo without missing a beat. Wonderful.

Man of Misery saw Josh taking an occasional glance at the crowd rather than concentrating on his (rather splendid) shoes; throughout the night, the keyboards were well up in the mix, certainly much more so than during Gareth's tenure, and they were maybe a bit too high on this song - that's a minor quibble.

So... this bit is weird. The afternoon of the gig I was thinking about what other songs might be worthwhile reintroducing tio the set; and the one song I settled on as being most worthy of reintroduction was - Victim of Love. So when that forceful riff opened up, I was pretty damn amazed. Being objective, there were a few rough edges, but it was hugely enjoyable, and a much better option than, say, Mad on Her, a possible alternative. Phil's keyboards really make this song - let's hope it keeps its place in the set.

Manillo was described by Martin as "one to chill out to", but frankly, chilling out with Bob Richards on stage isn't going to be easy. MACBFGU sounded routine to me, but maybe I'm not the best judge. Freedom Fries still doesn't flow that well to my ears, it's just too disjointed - but the ending is still great.

Romain highlighted the contrast in guitar playing styles betwen Grorge and Josh, and I am convinced that this is a very good thing - just like the Micky / Deke setup that enthralled us all for so many years. Shit on the World ended the main set, and it was a a marvellous showpiece of raw power.

They inevitably returned for an encore, and Bananas did the trick, with Phil's upfront keyboards and Josh's Gibson giving the piece a slightly different sound; and George's wahwah heavy solo was a joy to behold.

Another excellent gig. I really am pleased at how they have taken the bold move to rework the setlist, bringing back some old material and some very old material, and it seems to have really reinvigorated the band; they don't clash with the newer songs at all. Maybe they should have done it a few years ago...

It was impossible not to leave the Roscoe in a good mood. The future looks very bright indeed for this Man band.

EDIT: There are now a series of stills taken from the video shoot in the Gallery.

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