The Dead 60s
Alex Zielski 23/07/2007
A band that even contemplates having the slightest element of a "Ska sound" will always be compared to artists from the early eighties, when the genre was at its peak(The Specials, Madness ect). The Dead 60's first self titled effort, is an album that could be put into this category, but the main focus point of tonight's gathering in Birmingham's Bar Academy is to preview material from the second record 'Time To Take Sides'
Expectant observers fill this small venue, who, before the main attraction appear: have to endure support from Wigan four piece, the Suzuki's. It isn't so much that the vocals drowned out by the instruments, but that every riff and breakdown sound too much like a poor mans Arctic Monkeys. The opening number 'What a way to start the day' may be true, but it certainly isn't the best to start a gig.
Despite being a reasonably mild evening, the audience then had to entertain a 50 minute gap between the two acts in what was an extremely stifling venue, and the only way of cooling down was to sample the vastly watered down larger.
Finally the moment arrived, signaled by the trademark haunting air sirens that bounced off the enclosed walls. Mc Manamon's piercing vocals greeted the onlookers as the fired up four piece provided an insight into their new sound. And new it is, with 'Liar' providing a Clash-esque beat that Strummer himself would have looked on favourably.
However it isn't until 'Just Another Song' is merged perfectly into 'Riot on the Radio', that the crowd really start to enjoy the offering from what are obviously four very talented musicians. It is noticeable that the band are trying to appeal to a wider audience as the front-man sings catchy chorus 'Do You Really Want To Start A War' in almost balladeer fashion.
The band do however decide to dedicate a large chunk of their set to solely instrumental pieces in between each song. These provide a nigh on perfect amalgamation between the vocals in what is clearly a well practised and highly polished set.
The Liverpudlians decide to hold out to the encore to preview new single 'Stand Up'. On first listen it sounds vastly different to previous material, with much calmer guitars and a softer beat. Gone is the slow Ska/Reggae pace and in come the popular Indie guitar riffs, which are certain to appeal the average NME reader. Whether abandoning your traditional sound is a good or bad thing is up to the individual to decide, but the Razorlight guitar rhythm goes well with McManoman's vocals to provide a very listenable, pleasant reverberation. It could just provide that nationwide recognition that is craved in the music industry, and few bands deserve it more, going by this performance, than the Dead 60's.