The Sunshine Underground - Manchester Ritz (05/02/2010)

Matt Crompton | Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Sunshine Underground - Manchester Ritz (05/02/2010)

The Sunshine Underground have been on the ever expanding indie scene for quite some time now. Their debut album, Raise The Alarm, hit the stores in 2006 to critical acclaim, yet the crossover to the mainstream still eludes them. Here the Leeds based band aimed to show why their second album will propel them to places their excellent first record failed to.

To describe the band's sound is quite tricky, because they sound like no one else out there. Their mixture of indie, punk and funk leads to comparisons with Friendly Fires and Hot Chip, but songs such as 'We've Always Been Your Friends' and 'The Way It Is' are performed with such gusto and attitude that they are placed in a league above the aforementioned bands.

As a live act they've built up a healthy reputation and even have a group of followers known as the 'SU Army'. And you can see why their live shows haven't gone unnoticed. They are excellent, with riffs and hooks coming out of every song and arriving straight into the Ritz. By the time popular single 'Commercial Breakdown' is aired, the venue's become a mass dance floor.

The show is played at break-neck speed, and even the band members can't fail but dance to every song, although the night does slow down for a moment, in the form of crowd sing-a-long 'Borders'. This is one of the stand-out tracks from Raise The Alarm, and lead singer Craig Wellington doesn't even need his microphone, such is the ferociousness in the way the crowd sing back every lyric.

In terms of the new tracks, the band seems to have stuck to a winning formula as the old ones are very similar to the new ones. The crowd's reaction is great and most off the army seem to appreciate 'In Your Arms', 'Spell It Out' and 'Coming To Save You' as much as anything recorded previously.

The gig finishes with a stomping rendition of their biggest hit to date, 'Put You In Your Place'. This song is played with just as much intensity as the first of the night and is even more evidence as to why this band should be playing bigger venues than this.

Rating: 3/5