The Outlaw - Spensleys, Middlesbrough

Steven Storrie | Friday, 22 August 2008

The Outlaw - Spensleys, Middlesbrough

Another sign of hope for Middlesbrough’s burgeoning music scene, The Outlaw have managed to pack the place out, testament to their rocketing reputation in their hometown. Unfortunately, due to sound problems at the venue, the band were forced to improvise and play a two man acoustic show instead of the normal flat out four piece. No matter, it worked a treat.

‘Time is A Healer’ opened the show and showcased singer Rippers’ rasping vocals. It’s one of the strongest voices around at the moment, anywhere. Lesser bands would have been found out in this stripped down situation; The Outlaw thrive.

With new songs on display tonight it’s a sign of how great the writing in the band is that the oldest song performed still manages to sound fresh. ‘No Friend of Mine’ and it’s perfectly placed “Whoah oh whoah oh’s” causes a joyous sing-along as the songs protagonist is chastised and scolded for being such a wannabe;

“I’m sick and tired of your lies and your daydreams… you said some things that you really shouldn’t have said / in an attempt just to maybe boost your street-cred….” That’s them dealt with, then.

The best song of the night was ‘1958’. It boasts a maturity and classicism that eludes many other bands and points to something more than the usual ‘beer and balls to the wall’ noise most bands give you live. It moves along on a brooding tune.

They closed on 'Take me Away' and departed to good applause. It was a good save tonight, in what could have been a disaster.
With songs as great as ‘Come Home Johnny’ and the Kasabian / Oasis mixture that is ‘Chase the Dragon’ (dig that riff!) in their arsenal, do yourselves a favour and catch the band at their electrifying, pulverising best. They’ve set a standard; mediocrity has been Outlawed.