The Bravery with support from The Paddingtons (Manchester Apollo Theatre 21/11/05)

The Bravery

Sharp shooting 70's and mod era riffs were pelted out to introduce the raw indie/garage punk sounds of a crushing Hull quintet; The Paddingtons. The thrusting accompaniment to former single 'Panic Attack' helped to draw attention to the gutsy and gruff vocals of Tom Atkin, much to the delight of some gatherers towards the front for whom this was, in essence, the headline act. No frills caustic honesty was the order of the set, as the guys largely stuck to tracks from their recent and ripping 'First Comes First' debut album. Their brand of uncompromising punk skirting rock left you feeling satiated and released.

The dust has now settled on the handbags at dawn battle with The Killers and their self-titled debut album has been in the public domain for a while now. Therefore, inevitable question of whether The Bravery were ready to take the next step, by rhythmically ripping off the tag of being transient tempters was inevitably floating around the mind like the riff to 'Unconditional'? Sagacious front man Sam Endicott prowled the stage like a panto villain from the outset, as the New Yorkers shrewdly fed off the crowd's early spirit and opened with their swooning rock and roll trimming dark horse offering; 'Swollen Summer'. By performing this number with added vigour and installing extra life into it they craftily saved their big hitters for the finale.

New number 'Angelina' gave a hint that this retro/electro gang are keeping true to their spirit and buoyancy, much to the delight of their increasing fan base. Endicott revealed the strange and darkly humorous aspect to one of their underrated album tracks; 'Public Service Announcement' that is built around fire drill instructions, hence the hearty re-iteration of the chorus that was soared out with Dave Gahan-like precision;

"Stop, drop and roll; you're on fire."

The end of the main set was looming and it was time to light the touch paper, with throbbing and passionate renditions of tracks that made it possible for The Bravery to play this sizeable place; 'Honest Mistake' and 'Unconditional'. Triumphant B-side 'Oh Glory' captured the encore party spirit, as well as portraying the depth and belief that this outfit puts into everything they do. 'Fearless' that is a tribute to the post 9/11 reaction of New York was a vibrant and slightly chilling high point of the encore. It would be remiss not to pour flammable liquid onto the fire of rage between tonight's heroes and The Killers, by pointing out that Sam Endicott's voice steps up a notch live, as do the band. Can you put your hand on your heart and say that their rivals do also?

David Adair

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