Live review

Academy, Manchester : 6.9.2003

Finally, Lifehouse reach English shores after April's cancelled venture, but had they left it too long? Were they going to show at all? Had drummer Rick Woolstenhulme really grown the biggest hair in the world? In fact the timing was perfect; the dust had settled from the mixed reviews of the recent Stanley Climbfall and Woolstenhulme's barnet really was a magnificent gesture to the hair styling world.

Lifehouse begin proceedings with Stanley Climbfall; an unexpected opener which sees them inject new energy into rusty foundations, making it an ideal crowd warmer. They also give the same treatment to Anchor, Everything and Sky Is Falling. Lifehouse instantly come across as an imaginative and confident band who aren't scared of trying something new with the songs.
    However, Quasimodo fails to get the Lifehouse ‘rock out' makeover; perhaps one of their most aggressive songs on record falls short of the mark the tonight's set, Jason Wade's husky vocals failing to stir the surface. However they soon recover with a surly performance of their forthcoming single, Take Me Away and their signature song Hanging By A Moment, which despite being endlessly played on the radio still sounds as good tonight as on the first listening.

Lifehouse's finest quality isn't their funky in-between song jams or their spirited reinvention of songs; it would have to be the band's edge. They have a concentrated an intense collection of songs which, with the exception of Quasimodo, they deliver in a fiery fashion, with a raw and spontaneous demeanour. Lifehouse are one of those bands who were born to play live; the stage isn't their platform or judgement space, it's their natural habitat.

:: Paul Newbold

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