The Music
Live @ Carling Bristol Academy
September 26, 2004
Review & Photography: Steve Bateman

In homage to their Northern heritage, and to create a buzz before the release of their much-anticipated sophomore LP, The Music released a download-only single on July 19 - the attention-grabbing Welcome To The North - which, as the album's title track, bridged the gap between their old sound and new sound.

Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, with renowned rock producer Brendan O'Brien, the Welcome To The North album, sees the band's music advancing into a swaggering rock onslaught, with a greater focus on ideas and a much subtler use of techno adornments. This time around, the sound is more expansive and significantly heavier, proving that bigger is most definitely better!

It's epic, it's bombastic, and sees The Music successfully carving their own identity, with all-or-nothing ambition!

At times, the young Leeds band have been described as a cross between Led Zeppelin and The Stone Roses, in so much as they utilise swirling riffs and catchy dance-style drumbeats, thus uniting fans of indie, dance and rock music - all of whom look ready to set the Bristol Academy dancefloor alight.

Welcome To The North, is as I expected, played early on in the set, and showcases just how much of a star, singer Robert Harvey is. Along with his long flowing mane and '70s flares, Rob's stage persona plays a tremendous part in the live experience. He reveals, "On stage, all the thoughts that fill my head vanish, it's where I feel free, and no one or anything can upset me."

His trademark 'windmill-style' dance moves, seem to come from out-of-nowhere, and his voice easily rivals Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell, moulding itself perfectly into the band's music, which fan-favourite anthems The People and Freedom Fighters, also affirm tonight.

But, The Music's sound remains solid and full-bodied, thanks to the rhythm section of Phil Jordan (drums) and Stuart Coleman (bass), who lock into the tight grooves, in turn accentuating Adam Nutter's psychedelic guitar playing - which has drawn him many comparisons to John Squire.

Not only does Guide expose Rob's sensitive soul, it also emphasises the band's confident musical shifting too, whilst the classic Getaway, gets everyone jumping before I Need Love, which with its danceable / New Order-esque bassline, is introduced as "one for the girls."

Although the band freely admit, that they are no longer fond of their self-titled debut LP, tunes such as Too High, The Truth Is No Words and Take The Long Road And Walk It, all sound fantastic, and are received with just as much enthusiasm as the new material, especially the latter, which is far funkier when heard live.

Bleed from Within, is possibly my favourite song in tonight's set. As well as featuring some of Rob's characteristically spaced-out lyrics, i.e. "The sun is bleeding into mine eye" - the song is also fairly introspective, "… I said I'd like to know what I'm fighting for, before I die, you give them a gun and tell them to take a life, and I said I am not willing to do that baby, I am not willing to do that baby, now I'm bleeding from within."

Structurally (at over 6 minutes), it is one of the band's most ambitious efforts to date. The crashing, impatient chaos of guitars, drumbeats and Rob's bold / distinctive howl, build and build, eventually leading us into a tribal drum solo, which the band then re-aligns itself with, before the song reaches its dramatic climax. This results in roars of approval from the audience.

After a spectacular set and with Disco sending us on our way, Rob finishes "Thank you, take care and peace."

Not only have the band produced one of the albums of the year - but they are beginning to meet both their potential, and the expectations originally thrust upon them in 2001, following the release of their limited edition Fierce Panda debut 7".

So Welcome To The North, because The Music are here and they are here to stay!

A very special thanks to Carl Delahuntey @ Coalition, for all of his help, and to The Music + their management / security.