Following a lengthy break, Leeds lads The Music are back with a powerful new album (aptly called Strength In Numbers) and a new label.
That’s not the only thing that’s changed since the band finished their mammoth touring schedule three long years ago. Ebullient singer Rob Harvey, once of long curly hair and 22 inch flares, now cuts a shaven headed look – he even looks like he’s been at the weights down the gym.
Easing their way back into the live setting (dates at 1000+ venues later this summer dwarf tonight’s 200 capacity show), The Music are backed by a fanatical, up for it following. We are in Manchester on a Saturday night after all…
Harvey appears a much more comfortable and confident performer now, coaxing the crowd into first song and debut single ‘Take The Long Road and Walk It’, which sounds just as life-affirming as it did in that heady summer of 2001. What follows is a set balanced between their dance-heavy new material and the best of their past missives. Newie ‘Spike’ is all ice cool vocals and heavy guitars while ‘Freedom Fighters’ and the funk groove of ‘Jag Tune’ remind us of their early dabbles in psychedelic power-rock.
Inevitably the new material gets lost on some (the record isn’t out until June – torrent watchers), but The Music are clearly a vastly improved and confident unit than three years ago. On this tiny stage, they’re having a ball, and 200 diehards show their appreciation with splashings of beer and sweat. By the end of a percussion heavy run through of ‘Bleed From Within’, Harvey’s beaming towards those larger summer dates. Deservedly so, too.