Crank up The Music

The Music
Brixton Academy
January 10, 2003
The Music's meteoric rise from playing The Joiners one rainy Sunday night in September 2001 to being Britain's hottest young band in 2003 is largely due to their live shows.

They have been working a tour schedule that has barely opened windows to record, write songs, or even breath, for the past three years. Showing a work ethic far beyond the means of four lads who are still trying to shake their 'stoner' image, the band are now rightly reaping the rewards that come from being not only one of the hardest working, but also the most exhilarating, live acts around.

One of five pre-Australian Tour dates and amid stories of new material being showcased in Japan, the buzz for this show at Brixton Academy is one of massive excitement.

The appallingly named support band, 'Nylon Pylon', bumble through a set that can't decide if it's Jesus Jones or Hurricane #1 (a debate the crowd scarcely needs to witness). They start badly, get a little better, but can only induce almost paternal cheers from a crowd that knows they're watching mere fodder for the band everyone has to see.

Glum-faced as ever, The Music stroll on and rip straight into album opener 'The Dance'. Singer Robert Harvey grabs his mic, shakes the mop of hair that conceals the mug only a groupie could love, and leans back as he lets out that brilliant opening note.

"HAAAIIIGHHHHIIIEEEE, HAAAIIIGGHHIEEE." His voice just doesn't seem to carry the same way as normal sound. It's not possible to put into proper terms without sounding like a pompous arse. All that can be said is there is no other voice like it, and it makes crowds of people grin for no discernable reason.

He breaks into one of the now renowned Harvey dances temporarily during the fill, flapping his arms manically as if practising some bizarre self-defence move.

It all sounds great, but his dancing is an indication of the only way The Music manages to disappoint. Because the dancing just seems a little forced. These aren't the spontaneous jigs that we all know and love. It is as if the front man knows that he dances funny, that's his thing, time for the Karate Kid impression.

This is a tight criticism, but The Music seem like they could do with stepping back from touring if they are to move on as a band, and stop knocking out the same 15ish-song set.

Not that the spark has gone. 'The People' and 'Turn out the Light' are, as ever, excellent, and 'Disco' is simply phenomenal, maybe just justifying the odd amounts of crowd surfing (something that just doesn't seem very 'The Music'). Harvey's solo acoustic performance of 'Alone' is fantastic and memorising, and is worth the ticket price by itself.

Writer: Tim Newbound

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