Midtown / Hidden In Plain View - live in Manchester (Cover Artwork)

Midtown / Hidden In Plain View

live in Manchester (2004)

live show

It's been too long since I have been to a show. I have never been able to get to enough anyway; we don't exactly have a local scene here, and we certainly don't have any venues where I live. Plus, as I'm sure some of you have experienced, there comes a certain time when your friends suddenly lose interest in going to gigs with you and you find it's just you hanging out on your own with a group of kids a lot younger than you.

However, this winter we have an unusually large amount of good bands heading through, and things are looking good. Time to get back into the swing of things - perhaps Midtown on a Sunday night with my little brother would be a good place to start?

Arriving ten minutes late due to the army of Manchester United fans descending on the city centre after the almighty victory over Arsenal to stop their 49 game run, we walked in to find a fairly full venue and Echo Freddy had already started up. Having never heard of Echo Freddy before, I listened from the back for a while. It became clear pretty quickly that what stood on stage before me was a typical opening act for bands like Midtown - standard, mid tempo pop-punk. Enough energy to get the crowd going, but nothing too original or technical to lift them off the opening slot - for now. I found them fairly enjoyable, they did manage to throw out a few decent riffs, and they were tight enough. I do feel however they have the potential to produce some catchy pop songs, if only they could do a few tracks where they move away from octave chords played over standard power chords, and with some actual hooks. Enjoyable, but forgettable.

Next up: Hidden In Plain View. I caught these on the Drive Thru tour (sorry guys) and to be honest found them one of the worst bands I had ever seen live - just plain boring and uninspired. They didn't even have the energy to hold my attention. I also watched them for a couple of minutes at the Orlando warped tour, and found they were still borecore. Expecting more of the same, I was surprised to find they have improved - there seemed to be a (TINY) bit of urgency in the performance, and a couple of new songs actually had a memorable tune too. The singer certainly did his best to entertain the crowd, and they loved it. I however was unimpressed by them yet again, and was glad for them to be over. If whiny, boring vocals with the odd scream and half-arsed riffs played by dudes with tight jeans and lesbian length hair are your thing, check them out.

I have always enjoyed Midtown, although never owning any of their albums, I like giving them the odd listen. However I had heard their setlist consists of the new album and the new album only - I was hoping for the older stuff. They started off with "Give It Up" and "To Our Savior," OK I suppose but when they shot into "Become What You Hate," that's when the smile came on to my face and the pits starting to perspire. Nothing wrong with a bit of pop-punk now and then, right? They played everything really really tight, and, well, I'll say it - they did actually rock quite a bit. The vocals were dead on, and every song was clear as day whilst being laced with a fair bit of electricity. The following tracks were "A Faulty Foundation," "No Place Feels Like Home," "Is It Me? Is It True?," "Just Rock And Roll," "Help Me Sleep" "Get It Together," "Direction" and "Come On" with maybe one more, before they left. A couple of minutes later the hairy caveman guitarist came on to start off "Frayed Ends" by himself, and the rest of the band joined him to finish on "So Long As We Keep Our Bodies Numb We're Safe." During all that they said the usual crap like "this is best show we've played all year," but one thing I could tell is they actually loved being up there and playing, which is always good. The stand out tracks were "Just Rock And Roll," "Become What You Hate" (By far) and "Get It Together." Good tunes, good rock. I was dying to hear "Another Boy" though.

Overall, an OK night, certainly not the best gig I have been to by a long way, but I enjoyed it - t's nice to go to a show just to sing along and tap your feet etc every now and then, with a few laughs too. One thing I will say is FUCK CAMERA PHONES - I have never ever seen so many phones in the air above the crowd, seems most people were interested in getting endless photos of, well, anything and everything - does anyone else hate this?

P.S. First review, and yes I know you can tell.