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TRAIL OF DEAD
:: The Killers :: Ambulance Ltd ::
12 November 2004 / Academy 1 / Manchester
By Julie Penfold

When Ambulance kick start their support slot you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re actually watching Ash and cherubic Tim Wheeler crooning, not floppy-haired frontman Marcus Congleton, so similar are the two both to look at and vocally. Ambulance have such an eclectic sound, their influences just ooze from their music and leave you picking out which artist inspired each track. There is a definite Britpop theme in their stuff which is quickly picked up and admired by the ever-increasing crowd. Citing 90’s shoegazer music as an influence has clearly grown into an onstage trait as the band shuffle awkwardly avoiding any notion that they could be enjoying themselves. After four songs in they finally find the confidence to address the crowd with an ubercool “we’re Ambulance, dude.” With that show of nonchalance comes the pulsating rock the night has been crying out for, entitled ‘Stay True’ it’s a lively, bouncy, raunchy affair that gets everyone’s spirits up. Here their heavy grunge roots also kick in and the swelling crowd are rubbing their hands together with glee. Sadly, this also signals the end of their slot but what a promising climax. Whisper it, but these timid NYC boys have won a few of us over tonight.

The crowd are in one hell of a frenzy before the Las Vegas four-piece even take to the stage. Anxiousness and excitement is already at a climax, so when The Killers casually stroll onto stage and Brandon, wearing a poppy, blows a kiss to the crowd simultaneously as the opening chords of ‘Mr Brightside’ belt out, make no mistake we all know we’re witnessing something very special tonight. People grin massively at one another, in sheer disbelief and much delight that they have chosen this of all songs to start with. Before you have time to catch your breath, ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ and ‘On Top’ have been played and the sound is deafening. Everyone sings along word perfect so much so that Mr Flowers stops to nod his approval and smile widely at the adulation that surrounds his band tonight. ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘Andy You’re A Star’ and a show-stopping ‘Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll’ quickly follow and we know we’re really being spoilt tonight. This is behind our dreams kind of class. Literally, every single person in the packed Academy has their hands in the air, it is really quite a sight to see. Before, we know it we’re snowballing towards the finale, and what an encore. ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine’ sounds immense and every grunt and wail is echoed tenfold. But, for the ending. “Thank you all very much, you’ve been amazing” and so begins ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’, and it seemed that the whole world sung the immortal line ‘I got soul but I’m not a soldier’. A special night and a very special band. Unforgettable.


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