In a room not much bigger than my uni lounge room, The Answering Machine take to the stage. They stroll up through the crowd casually and each finds their place on the raised area. The five Manchester musicians look pleased to be home.
As the band opened with Oh Christina, the subdued crowd gradually gained momentum – eager to show support to their local exports. With Obviously Cold the hook of the song grabbed our attention as we sat, or stood in the case of the more enthusiastic fans (and notable late arrivals), and listened to the vocals and the instruments joining force to produce this spectacle.
The set continued with a few more tracks that weren’t particularly ground shaking, before lead singer Martin Colclough introduced Animals. Their latest single, Martin told the audience that, despite its recent release date, they could download the track for free on their website and so should treat themselves. Thoughtful as this may be, I doubt it’s doing their career, or pay-packet, any immediate favours.
The intrusively named Your Home Address was next to be played, followed by Emergency which was to kick off a trio of health related titles. Both Lifeline and Hospital Lung kept the crowd interested with the latter being one of the several new songs being showcased tonight. In fact, Martin to us that it was only the second time that the band had played it live so I was genuinely impressed at how strong it sounded. It was then down to old favourite Oklahoma to provide balance to the new tracks on show. It did indeed do this, with the fans in the audience clearly enjoying the familiarity.
The twelve-strong set ended with the aptly named It’s Over! It’s Over! It’s Over! This didn’t mimic the sentiments of the audience who briefly cheered for an encore before quietening as the lights went up and it became evident that they wouldn’t be returning. At the end of the gig I found myself impressed at the band members who clearly had the passion and ability to perform well together, but there was something there that prevented them from wowing me. They’ve got potential but it’s going to take a bit of work to make the most of it.