The Futureheads, Operator Please

Paul Cook 01/06/2008

Sometimes the most satisfying part of live music is that the entire line-up is comprised of class acts. Luckily The Futureheads were supported by the lively punk poppers Dananananaykroyd and the brilliantly vibrant Australian 5-piece Operator Please. Together these three bands made close to three hours go by seamlessly and without a doubt one of the best all round gigs of the year so far.

Dananananaykroyd, an intense Glaswegian six-piece kicked things off and delivered fantastically precise instrumentals and raw, emotive vocals. It's always a surprise to find a support act which excites you from the opening riff and when you do it is usually followed by a lack lustre headline act which The Futureheads certainly were not.

Operator Please showcased their high octane blend of stinging instrumentals and jazz-tinged “jungle-pop” and proved themselves not only to be an exciting new live talent but the best act of the night. Fusing funky electro sounds with driving drum beats and a violin isn't no easy task but Operator Please create a fantastically exciting sound, mesmerising for the first time and addictive on repeat listening.

Lead singer Amandah Wilkinson, no doubt the subject of constant comparison to Beth Ditto infuses vibrance and energy into an already buzzing quartet of talented musicians. Drummer Tim 'Little Timmy' Commandeur stands out as being one of the best young drummers around today at just 17 years old. Lightning quick and infectious drum riffs pepper the Yes Yes Vindictive album and when they're not driving a track towards crescendo they provide a solid, perfected base to the rest of the instrumentals. Live, Operator Please delivered on all levels, performing high tempo, catchy songs such as “Just a Song about Ping Pong” and “Cringe” along with more mellow songs “Two For My Seconds” and “Ghost.” The violin added a classical, alternative edge whilst the dual female-vocals from lead singer Amandah and violinist Taylor also gave an extra dimension to the lyrics.

After a tediously long wait, around 10pm Sunderland's finest post-punk/pop band The Futureheads arrived on stage. Performing hits from all three albums including an array of tracks from recent album This is Not the World. Performed with vigour and intensity, particularly popular hits “Hounds of Love”, “Decent Days and Nights” and “Skip to the End” comprised the opening half of the setlist whilst the latter was a rendition of newer tracks “Radio Heart”, “The Beginning of the Twist”, “Think Tonight” and “Hard to Bear” amongst others. The Futureheads brought their typical Northern charm and cheekiness to the performance making for a comfortable, friendly atmosphere between band and crowd. The band also proved that the band are still well and truly up there with the best of the chart bands, lyrically and instrumentally cleverer than much of what is on offer lately

With the festival circuit exploding over the last few years there are literally dozens of places to catch both The Futureheads and Operator Please this summer - they're not to be missed, particularly Operator Please who given their relatively small British fan base are likely to be featured on small, intimate stages at a number of festivals.