Snow Patrol

Mike Mantin 14/03/2004

"How To Be Dead!"
Snow Patrol don't play How To Be Dead live.
"How To Be Dead!"

An excitable kid called Sam has been screaming out for the dreamy opening track of Snow Patrol's most recent album for the past ten minutes. He's not going to stop. The band nod confusedly. Suddenly, singer Gary Lightbody starts to strum the opening chords as the band look around as if Lightbody was 'doing a Craig Nicholls'. How To Be Dead's first ever live outing is a shoddy affair: cord changes go wrong and Gary forgets most of the words. But the air of shonkiness only adds to the cosy feeling, the knowledge that you are in the hands of the warmest indie band around, before they may be about to hit it big as- and here comes the obligatory reference- Coldplay. The first clutter of songs- including new single Chocolate- are performed imperfectly: Gary admits to having a sore throat. When the hecklers come a-calling, however, he's tipsy enough to reflect their snide comments with a carefully disguised, crowd-pleasing insult ("everyone's entitled to an opinion... even if it's wrong").

As the evening draws to a heavenly close, everything falls into place. Lighters-aloft anthems are rife, with Same and Run, currently clogging up the radio and a song so beautiful it could curse the band forever. But no moments tonight could be as tear jerking or heartwarming as How To Be Dead. The major league beckons, but tonight intimacy is the key and Snow Patrol- symbolised by How To Be Dead's debut performance- have it in buckets.