Music : Middlesbrough Town Hall
... The Music take their next step on the path to world domination...
The Music are flying high. Robert Harvey and his crew have octopus-danced their way to 300,000 sales of their scissor-kick psychedelia debut LP worldwide. They’ve sauntered into the Top 20 and moonwalked into venues of the size that their erstwhile peers The Vines, The Coral and The Libertines have yet to conquer.
And tonight they’re about to fly higher than ever. It’s a culmination of nine months of donkey work taking the long road and touring it in Europe, Japan and the cousin-shagging hick towns of America. Tonight, as Robert Harvey puts the steps on, The Music collectively step up to the next level.
This is the first date of a UK headline tour that’ll see them play in front of 12,000 people. It’s also an evening that witnesses the emergence of the true Music. A coming of age – for a band in which only one member has turned 20.
Tonight they see off the spindly wig-outs that so characterised their early efforts, replacing them with a more controlled spirit – so second single ‘You Might As Well Try To Fuck Me’ is out, ‘Jag Tune’ is in. The rambling raw power of ‘Walls Get Smaller’ is replaced by a reined-in display of aggression like ‘New Instrumental’. The cumulative sound, as you’d imagine for a group that spends so long on the road, is tighter than Dolf De Datsun’s hipsters.
Robert Harvey has grown into his role too. Still a wired little freaky dancer – whether harnessed with a guitar or not – in full physical flow, he’s now more playful, now even more unmissable – think part Bruce Lee movie, part cosmic tai-chi bullshit, part Justin Timberlake.
It’s evident in the new steel in their songs – the railroad dirt of ‘The Truth Is No Words’, the Primal Scream-alike gospel of ‘Float’ and the anthemic rage against the man ‘The People’. ‘Getaway’, Harvey’s letter to someone on the other side (kind of making it The Music‘s ‘Stan’) is one of their finest moments. It’s always been amped, but now it’s pumped not just by volume – now there’s emotional muscle being flexed too. “What’s it like up there?” Harvey pines, “Do you worry any more?/How’s it feel up there?/So much left to say…”
It inspires the kind of idolatry once reserved for Richard Ashcroft and Ian Brown: only the hero worship now goes along the lines of people dressed exactly like Robert Harvey chanting “MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-SIC, MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-SIC, MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-SIC”.
‘Getaway’ is rivalled only by the moment when Robert takes to the stage with an acoustic guitar – to the obvious befuddlement of his plugged-in bandmates – to perform ‘Alone’ acoustically. An overlooked B-side to ‘Take The Long Road…’ it’s one of their few “straight” songs. Harvey has apparently written quite a few little numbers like this recently. Let’s hope it’s true. Because then The Music really would be destined for stages even bigger than the ones they’re currently conquering.