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Manchester, Academy 3, 19 January 2008

Review by Judith Reeves

It was back to school on Saturday night as Manchester University's Academy 3 played host to a monumental night which saw The Almighty back on stage for the start of their UK tour.

Ably supported by first of all Gu Medicine whose set, due to a late start, was sinfully cut short mid way through 'Amphetamine Express'.

Head Inc were next up. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia this four piece delivered snappy, grappling sounds which pleased the capacity crowd and fantastically delivered by a band to watch out for.

By 9pm everything was back on track and an eager audience were busting to welcome the headline act...which they did to the sounds of the Bee Gees Stayin' Alive and the obligatory classical piece too for any fans of Wagner.

The Almighty burst on stage and thrilled from the off with 'Takin Hold' and the classic 'Crucify' in which drummer Stumpy Monroe rocked so hard a quick repair on his snare drum was in order.

This night was special for all sorts of different reasons, none more so than to hear the thumping sounds of Floyd London's bass guitar once more, which felt like the heart beat of the entire show.

Ricky Warwick's gravel soaked voice combined with Pete Friesen's banging guitar riffs ensured the band didn't put a foot wrong all night.

"We're here to celebrate 20 years of sex, drugs and rock and roll" Ricky confirmed to the cheers of an ever jubilant audience, and rock and roll is what they delivered with more than a dash of the punk which so obviously influences them.

'Praying To the Red Light' delivered under a stage lit up in red really hit the spot, then straight into 'Blood, Fire and Love' which pushes all the right riff buttons every time. 'Addiction' sounded as raw as ever but don't we just love it like that?

The ever popular 'Do You Understand' and 'Crank' have Stiff Little Fingers hallmarks and the punk theme was in full force throughout.

Crowd pleasers 'Devil's Toy', 'Over The Edge' and 'All Sussed Out' had the party faithful begging for more and with one last surprise unplanned as the lights went out on stage in the middle of 'Destroyed'.

The band played on regardless with 'Wild and Wonderful' , which did absolutely nothing to detract from the absolute brilliance of this band's ability to play hard and rock harder.

Finishing with 'Free n Easy' the guys returned for one encore as a temporary back light was connected on stage and Ricky explained that "some bright spark had poured his ale onto the lighting desk!"

'Little Lost Sometimes', dedicated tongue in cheek to Vera Duckworth, paved the way for a thumping version of the Beastie Boys 'Sabotage' and the night drew to a close the way it began, in jubilant style.

Stayin Alive? Nights like these are every reason for doing just that!

Set List

Takin Hold - Unreal Thing - Crucify - Gift Horse - Do You Understand - Praying To the Red Light - Blood Fire and Love - Addiction - Crank - La Chispa - Devils Toy - Over The Edge - Jesus Loves You...But I Don't - Wrench - Jonestown Mind - All Sussed Out - Full Force Lovin Machine - Destroyed - Wild and Wonderful - Free n Easy

Little Lost Sometimes - Sabotage

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