Apollo, Manchester 29/11/2009
By Ian Burke
Derry trio, General Fiasco, have come a long way since opening up for Fighting With Wire at The Roadhouse a little over a year ago. Here, in an already heaving Apollo, Owen Strathern’s hooks have sharpened up considerably, each melody mercilessly jumped upon by his guitarist brother, Enda, with no opportunity missed to throw a jovial “whoa-oh” into proceedings.
The post-punk rhythms of the irresistible ‘We Are The Foolish’ pushes them into the same blessed territory as The Cribs, ‘Something Sometime’ has a whiff of latter day Ash, while ‘Rebel Get By’ ends the set on the feistiest of notes.
General Fiasco are one of those rare band who effortlessly transcend genres, crunchy enough to support AC/DC acolytes, The Answer next month, yet with enough pop nous to satisfy the chart-friendly demands of tonight’s headliners.
Speaking of which, with more tracksuit tops in the building than a scouse gym in January, and the highest density of raised collars outside of Madame Tussaud’s Eric Cantona exhibition, it could only be either The Enemy or The Twang topping the bill.
It is, of course, the former, a band whose two albums to date have polarised the masses, with one camp livid at their desecration of The Jam’s best tunes, while the other laud them for their swagger, Red Stripe-friendly singalong choruses and fauxletariat lyrical approach.
Whatever your position, the opening duo of ‘Aggro’ and ‘Had Enough’ will have all but the most vehement of naysayers frothing at the loins, Liam Watts’ drums thundering around the venue like an end of level boss, while the crowd in the stalls threaten to flood over the balcony in a sweaty mod wave.
However, frontman, Tom Clarke’s cocksure posturing and potty-mouthed interjections are absolutely ridiculous. True, he’s got 3,000 or so mates on his side tonight, but he makes Olive Oyl look like Popeye, an ass among unicorns, and he sounds comically awkward between songs.
The tunes take a nosedive, too; verses are left to whizz by unnoticed until one of their jingle-esque choruses pops up out of nowhere, hands automatically pumping the air with each syllable, even on the unnamed new tune which is a risible exercise in blustery tedium.
The country needs a new Oasis, a band to ignite the public’s imagination as they did in ’95/’96, not an unconvincing gang of chancers like The Enemy.