The Subways
The Academy, Manchester
Live Review

The Subways

Since playing Glastonbury a year and a half ago as winners of the best-unsigned band competition, The Subways' progress has been phenomenal. They've released their first album, "Young For Eternity", dented the UK Top 40 singles chart, and supported the likes of Oasis and Embrace. However the last time they headlined their own show in Manchester earlier in 2005, they were on stage for not much longer than 20 minutes, which left a bitter taste to those in attendance. There is the feeling that The Subways owe us much more this time around.

As soon as the trio kick off "With You", everyone goes mental – particularly bassist Charlotte Cooper, who, when not on vocal duties, is either doing a human impression of a pneumatic drill or strutting around stage in a seducing manner. Powerful renditions of "Young For Eternity", "Holiday", and "City Pavement" follow, with Billy Lunn proving throughout the night that he is a good live vocalist and able guitarist. The stomp-tastic "Oh Yeah" raises the energy further, with the audience taking over vocals as Lunn launches himself onto the audience, and "Mary" is a joyous knees-up. Not for the first time during the set, the singer announces the song is especially for the assembled audience, which is difficult to believe. Expressing your gratitude is never a bad thing, but by constantly doing so it loses some sincerity.

New single "No Goodbyes" mellows the mood a little, but allows Cooper to encourage mass arm swaying, and then we get to "Rock And Roll Queen". The level of craziness gets upped once more, crowd surfers are in abundance, there's a one-man stage invasion, Lunn climbs the speaker stacks, and then predictably stage-dives once more. The Subways put on a high-adrenaline show that exudes confidence – and rightly so. Their music might not be revolutionary, but it's damn good.

Alex Lai

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