A Wilhelm Scream – Manchester University

By Spud

Academy 3 received a fair turn out tonight for what, in my mind, was always destined to be one of the shows of the year. And so it proved to be. Openers Failsafe were obviously at odds with the sound setup for the more raucous acts to follow, but their performance, from what I saw, showed genuine, assured leaps from the band, who first impressed me back in July 2005.

But it was No Trigger who were, by some margin, the band of the night. ?Canyoneer? was one of the top 3 records of 2006 for me, and live it was equally impressive. With everything from the 45-second ?You Said It? to the unbelievably anthemic ?Owner Operator? to choose from, it?s not hard to see how the band delivered an excellently varied choice of album material. It was also complemented by one or two older songs from ?Extinction in Stereo? which, probably due to its rawer, quicker and more aggressive stylings, went down just as well in the live setting, if not better than, the album material. The band played with a sort of quiet, understated confidence of an outfit who know they?re reaching the top of their game. Tighter than you?d believe, and vocally superb, the small crowd at the front of the venue who screamed back every word seemed to somehow grow during the set, swelled by the band?s infectious energy. And if the rest of the tour is delivered in similarly emphatic fashion, they might soon find themselves equalling, and perhaps eclipsing, the success of the night?s headliners. 9/10

A Wilhelm Scream swagger onto the stage safe in the knowledge that in September they played the same venue as main support to Rise Against, the fanatical reception they then received doubtless at the forefront of their minds. Frontman Nuno Pereira struts about the stage delivering vocals in his impassioned, trademark style, with the sort of demeanour that seems equally borrowed from Rocky and any lead role in Goodfellas or Casino. Although it seemed quite comical when he instructed a couple of sparring combatants down the front to kiss and make up halfway through the set. A set which, if I?m honest, ticked all the right boxes, but seemed to be stretched ever so slightly thin; a weak criticism, admittedly, but one I feel obliged to point out. I also heard one or two complaints of the sound being somewhat muffled and badly mixed from further back in the crowd, but the band themselves, if not the best act of the night, largely delivered on their inherent promises of last September. 8/10