The Academy, Manchester
Saturday, September 9, 2006
Like most major cities in on a Saturday night, Manchester is buzzing in the early evening at the anticipation of a top night out. Around the university campus though, the excitement isn't due to the prospect of hitting the dance floor in a club or drinking at a trendy bar, it's because of The Subways. A band that are on their umpteenth tour, despite still only having released one album, they're playing to increasing audiences, emphasised by the 'sold out' signs on the venue doors.
Arriving on stage and launching straight into the thunderous "With You" sets the tone for the evening from both band and spectators. Clinical and passionate, it's clear that a trio who were once raw on stage are now becoming impressively sharp, which the fans respond to by bouncing around as if the floor was a trampoline. Billy Lunn is in fine voice and ably assisted by Charlotte Cooper's vocals as the band burn through "Young For Eternity" and other album tracks such as "City Pavement" and "Holiday". Throw in a couple of stage dives and crowd sing-a-longs and it just seems like one big party.
Enforced time out (Lunn was ordered to rest his voice) allowed The Subways to work on new material, three tracks of which are aired tonight. Most impressive is the fun and aptly named "Shake Shake", while "Kalifornia", with its less than impressed view of the American place, shows that they are moving on from writing about the trials and tribulations of growing up. Back to the stuff we do know, "Oh Yeah" is fantastic air-punching action, and the encore of "Mary" and "Rock & Roll Queen" is easily described as a joyous knees-up. Since breaking through at Glastonbury 2004, they've not looked back and are getting better and better.