Manchester Academy 3
18th July 2006
Live Review


Milburn for those who don't know have been labelled by some lazy music journalists as the 'new Artic Monkeys' with an unequivocal similar sound, geographical heritage and verisimilitude for clever conscious lyrics.

But although the comparisons are fairly accurate, it's really unfair to label the band with another and it does detract from the ability the band has.

So they now arrive at Manchester's Academy 3 for a sell out show on what is a lengthy tour which includes: festivals (Reading, Leeds, Oxygen, T- in the park) an extensive tour of the UK and even a trip out to Japan to play the Mount Fuji festival.

The venue is packed from the start and we are all treated to a uniquely solid support performance from Hot club de Paris. The Liverpool trio fuse beat boxing with acapella barbershop as well as sounding like early Futureheads only a lot punkier.

Milburn arrive soon after and even though the sweltering heat is overpowering the crowd like a hungry wave move towards the stage and any spare gaps are quickly filled like a human game of Tetris.

The usual indie kids are here but it's good to see a mixture of ages and both genders, which shows the aptitude the band has for wide scale appeal.

They open with 'Well, Well, Well' and quickly follow with a crowd favourite 'Send in the boys' despite the heat the crowd goes crazy and numerous crowd surfers loosely symbolise the summer feeling the songs have.

Although a lot of bands laconically regale the crowd between songs, it's good to see that Milburn are very chatty and jokey with the crowd. Including a time when someone throws on a straw hat and lead singer Joe says: "I look like the fucking Kooks!" (And he did) I think it's probably part of the reason why the band has created such a tight knit/hardcore fan base in a reasonably short period of time and even though we're in Manchester it does feel like a local band for local people.

High levels of energy from the band peak during 'Storm in a teacup', 'Send in the boys' and current single 'Cheshire Cat Smile. The fans gladly reciprocate the energy levels with terrace style football chanting. This includes both vocal outros and lyrics most notably on songs like 'Storm in a teacup' and 'Showroom'.

It's worth noting the unshakeable professionalism the band showed both vocally and musically: Clear coherent vocals, searing guitars and bass and locomotive drumming - All this on such a hot night and with so many people getting on stage.

Regardless the band played a flawless set which was a near perfect copy of their album sampler with a mixture of new songs which have yet to be recorded for the new album. (Due out September 25th) But the standout performance has to go to Greeny on drums whose animated vehemence and Keith Moon impersonation (both skill wise and facial vibrancy) has to be something worth mentioning.

To be fair on the sloth like journalists I mentioned, it is hard to get away from not seeing the familiarity with another certain Sheffield band and the insatiable doting and interaction the fans have (singing along to a band whose album isn't even out yet) rings fairly true with not only 'them' but with other successful young bands like the Smiths and the Libertines. But then it is possible to have similar things which are different. Take for instance Rice Crispies and Ricicles both are similar in consistency but are obviously different, so make of that comparison what you will and digest it into an analogy of your choice.

So they finish off their high octane set with their upcoming single 'This is what you could've won' and with a snap, crackle and pop the band leave the stage to a rapturous round of applause and cheers. Everyone paddles through the sweat but are more than full, although the small space they might have saved for boot leg merchandise is left unfrequented when outside there isn't hardly anything to be seen. Never mind everyone can save their money and should definitely buy Millburn's album when it comes out in September.

A great night out - catch them at small venues while you can.

Adam Adshead

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