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  • Ben Taylor

The Bluetones Live @ New Century Hall, Manchester

The 90s quartet don dinner party style suits while touring their second studio album ‘Return to the Last Chance Saloon’, dryly mocking themselves and their fanbase as they go.

Mark Morriss, lead singer, is just the perfect front man. His ability to have the crowd in the palm of his hands musically and verbally had us in awe of his performative skills. Their experience on stage as a band was proven with a particularly impressive performance on the guitar from Adam Devlin.

One thing we’ve always loved about this album is how it really does feel like saloon-y style music, as if you are watching some western film featuring a more nasal-english voice as the lead vocal.

Speaking of Morriss’s voice, it is so iconic. When you think of how many bands that are out there, and how many lead singers, he has such a particular sound that boomed around Manchester's beautiful New Century Hall the moment he walked on stage to the opener ‘Unpainted Arizona’.

Some highlights for us were when Morriss claimed The Bluetones invented Gorillaz as they had an animated music video for ‘4 Day Weekend’ that was turned down by MTV in 1998. Another was his audacious but fair statement that ‘Bluetonic’ is "probably one of the best pop songs of all time", the crowd didn’t disagree as we saw a pint go flying as the words "there’s no heart you can’t melt…" were sang.

The final highlight of the night was the band’s cover of Squeeze’s ‘Pulling Mussels from a Shell’, pitch perfect from Morriss and an outstanding recreation by the band, what a tune.

After seeing what the Britpop legends are capable of, it’s safe to say The Bluetones, despite the title, are not returning to the last chance saloon. They are icons.


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