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THE BANDITS Live @ Liverpool Academy 2 14/09/03
Lively local lads The Maybes kicked things off with a bubbly and wacky set saw the banter flowing more freely than water into David Blaine's box. They dazzled the waiting crowd with their bouncy The Las style guitars, mixed with bits of The Coral and Teenage Fan Club. 'Actions' being the highlight of a frenetic set that the really worked the crowd up like a proper support act should. NME's new favourites, Liverpool based The Mountainers took to the stage next and performed an eclectic set, featuring tender acoustic based tracks and a zapping electro style number containing distorted vocals. Previously released single 'Ripen' stood out and got the best reception, although the crowd was bigger for The Mountaineers, the band up first received a warmer crowd response.

Well known and hyped up bands like Jet and The Cooper Temple Clause have visited the Academy 2, but both were unable to attract a large enough crowd to warrant opening up the seated balcony on top of the comfortable standing area. Cosmic scouse rockers The Bandits managed it for a welcomed home town gig. Right from sound the first notes of

THE BANDITS Live @ Liverpool Academy 2 14/09/03
THE BANDITS Live @ Liverpool Academy 2 14/09/03

opener 'On My Way' the sublime sextet stole the audience's attention and they never let go.

Singer John Robinson in his almost folk vocal style got toes tapping in 'Once Upon A Time'. Both he and the band remained focused all night and did not get distracted, even when part of the drum set toppled over and crashed onto the stage floor. John and Gary entertained the crowd while the kit was reassembled, before continuing unperturbed with the apt track 'Hit The Road'. It is to be hoped that this is what the person who erected the drum kit did shortly afterwards, as it looked as stable as Frank Bruno's state of mind all night. Critics who have dubbed The Bandits a "Tribute band singing The Coral B-sides' obviously hasn't witnessed the variety of their live sets. The encore demonstrated this including the catchy pop number '2 Step Rock', as well as a stirring and convincing cover of The Clash song 'Guns Of Brixton' bringing matters to a frenetic and crowd pleasing end.

David Adair