Radio One Live : Birmingham

Pulp, ,Starsailor, Elbow, and others entertain as Radio One take over Birmingham...

After Monday's vigorous display from indie-masters from days of yore The Charlatans and future heroes The Cooper Temple Clause andThe Music , Tuesday's line-up takes a slightly softer form. The Electric Soft Parade are hampered by singer Alex White's illness and struggle with an uninterested crowd. However, the same cannot be said of Elbow who make the most of their allotted half-hour slot, and show how a year on tour has improved them- 'Bitten By The Tailfly' is colossal and the still resplendent 'Newborn' is note perfect. James Walsh and his backing band have a tough act to follow but they manage to do it. Eventually. After a stuttering 'Fever' Walsh ambles into an unexpected burst of 'Last Nite' byThe Strokes. Starsailor are probably quite keen to shake off Coldplay/Jeff Buckley comparisons but no one expected them to do it like this. Respect due.

Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia begin Halloween's events with their impressive brand of spoken-word saturated post rock. Despite having six members, they don't make as much noise as they should and aren't really helped by a placid sounding drum machine. Concentrating on cuts from their below-par 'Imperial Metric' album, Appliance are workmanlike but are ultimately denied the chance to shine further. James Brookes only manages to strap on his guitar for the spacey riffs of recent single 'Land, Sea & Air', but the remainder goes unnoticed. Everyone is clearly here to see Pulp and so their arrival is more of a relief than anything else. 'Weeds' is the atmospheric opener as Mark Webber makes his Telecaster sound like an apocalyptic siren. Jarvis Cocker is also on top form, spewing banter aplenty on subjects as varied as rivers, hedgehogs and Osama Bin Laden. Of course they do 'Common People', but that is merely an aside as 'Sunrise', 'This Is Hardcore' and a thumping 'Party Hard' all conspire to steal the show. More fun than Trick or Treating any day.

Backed by a particularly tight string section, Roots Manuva shows his hiphop pedigree first thing on Thursday night. As he shuffles across the stage, Roots manages to captivate whilst looking like an possessed arthritis sufferer- it's for medicinal purposes, officer. The future-minimalism of tracks like 'Witness (One Hope)' and 'Join The Dots' is reproduced brilliantly in the live set up. In this world, he has no competition. Basement Jaxx meanwhile provide the perfect party to round off the week. Mixing in euphoric versions of 'Romeo' and 'Jump & Shout' with everything from Destiny's Child to Missy Elliott and a whole lot more besides. Not bad for a week's work.

Hardeep Phull

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