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NME Radar Tour 2010 at Academy 3

Review (gig: 28/04/10)
By Chris Long
Producer, BBC Manchester Introducing

Darwin Deez
Darwin Deez

If you were in any doubt that music is once more looking to Manchester for inspiration, innovation and intoxication, then consider that barometer of the cutting edge, the NME Radar Tour.

Rolling into the city to present four bands, three of them were making homecomings.

The odd ones out, in so many ways, were Darwin Deez, a New York four piece with a reputation for combining retro fashions, Praise You-esque dancing and generic pop.

Tonight, they were unfathomable, with what singer Darwin called "my life's work" consisting of laughably bad breakdancing and upbeat Death Cab For Cutie-alike songs.

You couldn't help but wonder if the band are on a crash course to become this year's Darkness.

The Heartbreaks
The Heartbreaks

Fairing much better before them were The Heartbreaks, who gave up their Morecambe lives to come and live the dream in the big city.

Matthew's arching, soaring timbre is strong enough to ensure their move was worthwhile alone, so when added to the jangle and sprawl of tonight's studied indie, they looked like very hot prospects - so much so that they could be forgiven their out-of-tune finale.

On the other side of Darwin Deez were the much-hyped Everything Everything, a band who have turned nodding heads wherever they've played.

Everything Everything
Everything Everything

Tonight was no different, as within a verse and chorus of the opening Suffragette Suffragette, the four piece had shown why they are getting people so excited.

That said, there were times when they drifted on Jonathan's looping falsetto, moments that exposed their lack of stage presence and occasional musical over-indulgences.

Still, such things withered under the weight of My Keys, Your Boyfriend and Photoshop Handsome, and the band left no-one in doubt that they are becoming a force to reckon with.

Which left only the headliners, Hurts, a band who've hidden themselves away and are only just beginning to reveal their vision - and what a shining and masterful revelation it is.

Hurts
Hurts

Their look alone was enough to capture the imagination, as they appeared suited and booted, dressed as much for dinner as the stage, with singer Theo playing the role of an ennui-laden charmer superbly.

Yet this was no triumph of style over substance, as they unravelled a selection of thrilling tunes upon the assembled, wonderful torch songs wrapped inside a retro-pop heart, which entranced and enraptured in equal amounts.

Closing with the potent single, Better Than Love, Theo took a bow and stated that "the pleasure was all ours" - he couldn't have been more wrong.





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