Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family – Manchester University

By paul

Thursday September 21st
Manchester, Academy 2

PTRecs favourites The Maple State open proceedings to a largely empty spacious room. 7 songs span little over 20 minutes, and by the time they’ve left the stage, I’m feeling a little let down by their performance. Don’t get me wrong, they did little badly – more the contrary – the new songs follow a definite ‘Futureheads’ vibe, and the 3-way vocals in their parting number are amazing, and the highlight is the new Joanna (A new release date of January quoted tonight), but in over a dozen shows, I’ve come to expect more from TMS. (7)
Setlist: New song, New song, The Fall Of Shi Gau Rui, Curious Drive, We Swear By The Light Life, Joanna, New song.

Sony BMG’s creche seems to churning bands out onto the roster these days, and the first to my knowledge is Fear of Music. I’m not lying – they look about 12 – but credit where credit’s due, for a young band, they’ve certainly stuck their oar in well. Unfortunately, what they do sits badly in the pit of my stomach. At times they sound reminiscent of Placebo and Muse (especially vocally), and at other times, like Ash – 3 bands which, given the chance, I’d willingly torture. Their live show’s not bad, but what they do is very far away from my personal tastes, and half an hour (in contrast to last night’s 45 minutes) is only just – but barely – stomachable. (6)

My love for Liam Frost (and the Slowdown Family) is by no means hidden from anybody. In the last year, they’ve turned out 3 of my favourite live performances – and added a 4th tonight. By the time the band take to the stage, the room has filled out – and I mean filled – and it’s obvious that Liam Frost is a hometown hero. Tonight, the band are joined on stage by a trumpet player, who, despite his name being mentioned about 4 times, I fail to grab through the Mancunian accents. The record sleeve tells me Nick Etwell – let’s believe that! Opening with the first track from their debut album (‘The City is at a Standstill’), the band blitz through all of ‘Show Me How The Spectres Dance’, dropping excellent banter about shoe shops, sliding doors, and The Cpckpit between each song. The highlight of the night once again comes when the band exit, the lights are turned off, a solitary spotlight shines in from the right, and Liam plays solo – the vocals within ‘Roadsigns and Redlights’ are a pleasure to hear – and after an hour of acoustic folk-pop, this band, in my eyes, can do no wrong. (9.5)

Setlist: The City is at a Standstill, Shall We Dance, She Painted Pictures, Is This Love?, If Tonight We Can Only Sleep, Paperboats, This Is Love, A Fever And A Shifting, Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? (Nick Cave Cover), Roadsigns and Redlights, At First It Felt Like Sunlight, I Woke Up From The Strangest Dream, Try Try Try, The Mourners Of St. Paul’s.