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Xfm’s Winter Wonderland 2006

On Friday night the Apollo’s stage was groaning underneath the weight of some of the country’s best acts, at Xfm’s Winter Wonderland. We sent Kelly down to check it out.

Published on December 13th 2006.

Xfm’s Winter Wonderland 2006

Last weekend, venues in Manchester, Glasgow and London hosted three consecutive Xfm gigs with proceeds going to Shelter - the housing and homeless charity. Friday came and I was the lucky soul in our office to get hold of two tickets to the Manchester gig, where the Manics would be leading a line up fit for a festival main stage.

So the DVD and all intentions of a quiet night in got ditched, and me and a friend of mine - Helz Belz, headed down to the Apollo. Running a little late I parked my car on the road (big mistake) and went in hoping to catch Badly Drawn Boy.

We arrived to hear Clint Boon announcing Sheffield band Little Man Tate. A very tall lead singer, and a band that had elements of the Arctic Monkeys, with themes of singing about nights out and life in general.

We unfortunately missed Xfm’s Rock School winners, Billion Babies, whose prize for winning was to play the first set of the evening. However, all the feedback from their version of AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ (one of my favourite songs!) was really amazing.

Manc troubadour Liam Frost

Following LMT was Manchester’s very own singer/songwriter Liam Frost. After seeing Liam Frost a while ago at 235 Live, I’m a big fan. With his northern humour, genuinely powerful yet gentle voice, excellent guitar skills and the little jig he does when he’s playing, he’s someone I would gladfully watch again and again.

Badly Drawn Boy and his hat followed. He’s someone I’ve really wanted to see after hammering his album ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’ a few years ago. His set ended, and I was left with the same warm tingly feeling I get from his album. It’s easy to forgive and forget his snippets of arrogance that peep through every now and again.

After visiting the bar, we arrived back to see John Power, The La’s former bassist and Cast's lead singer. Leaving his indie/pop days behind for a more ‘loose grooves and bastard blues’ sound, it is easy to think he is from Nashville, Tennessee, rather than Liverpool. It has been noted that his latest album, ‘Willow She Weeps’, is his best self-penned collection since he first appeared on record in 1987. This is an album I will definitely be purchasing.

Manic Street Preachers

The two brother and sister duos that make up The Magic Numbers played some of their hits, Love Me Like You and Forever Lost being two of them. Their alt/rock/country went down really well and was a great warm up to the Manics, although I have to admit, I found some of their lesser known songs a bit dull.

The grand finale, and what most of the gig goers were there to see, were the Manic Street Preachers who haven’t toured for two years. I’m possibly going to be burned alive by Manic fans for saying this, but I have to admit I found them a little bit ‘dad rock’. But they were great, and it would be an understatement to say that the crowd absolutely loved them. Even though I’m not a fan of the Manics, it was hard not to enjoy it.

To end the night on a high, I arrived at my car to find it had been broken into and loads of stuff stolen from my boot. So a BIG WARNING to everyone going to the Apollo, try not to drive and if you need to, park in the car park. However, thieving scallies aside, the gig was ace!

Kelly Ormesher

Images © Andy Stubbs www.andystubbs.co.uk

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