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Here's a rare band that turns rabid expectation to their advantage.

Here come the young men, a weight on their shoulders. It's been eight months since NME plastered Terris across the cover, heralded as "The First New Stars Of 2000". Back then, with pop culture reeling from the sight of James Dean Bradfield's floppy jowls at the Manic Millennium, here was salvation.

Spiky, articulate, generously cheekboned - Terris were here to save us, an incendiary wake-up call for a jaded Britain. Well, that was the theory. But this year, we've seen rock'n'roll reinvigorated by Trail Of Dead and At The Drive-In in a glorious baptism of splintered guitars and sweat-drenched pyrotechnics. And what of Terris? A couple of low-key festival shows barely broke their silence, turning up nothing but idle speculation and a hanging question: Where's the album?

So tonight's gig is utterly crucial. Fresh

from the studio to headline Radio 1's Evening Session 10th Birthday celebrations, this

set goes out to a nation that, as yet, know nothing about Terris save for those yellowing column inches.

Yet as Gavin Goodwin takes to the stage - standing tall with his back to the audience, waiting in cool anticipation - you know it's going to be alright. Half wild-eyed raver shivering on a Glastonbury Tor at dawn, half wizened preacher-man testifying to his flock, Goodwin is little short of idolatry distilled, and as 'Lost October' thunders from the speakers, he shimmies into life, twisting snake-hipped across the floor. It's undoubtedly Goodwin's skinny shoulders that carry Terris, Atlas-like, above the meek likes of their contemporaries - so much so that, when he's threatening, fierce and invincible, on 'Cannibal Kids' to "pull a trigger/Blow a hole in my knees", you're left thinking that were he to turn a gun upon himself, the bullets would simply ricochet off.

Is it enough? Well, if you're doubtful, just watch Goodwin clench his eyes in dizzy ecstasy as 'Windvane' lifts off, and for now, you can simply feed off his self belief. Until you're standing slack-jawed, as Terris' first truly magnificent song - the closing 'Deliverance' - explodes like a deftly-tossed flashbomb. A close brother of the Scream's 'Shoot Speed Kill Light', it crashes back to earth leaving Goodwin soaked in sweat, preaching a dying gospel from his knees.

There's no encore, but we'll wait until next time. Because one thing's clear: here's a rare band that turns rabid expectation to their advantage. But until an album arrives, who knows quite what we have here? If Terris fail to deliver now, it will be a tragic, pointless waste.

Louis Pattison

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