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Concert: Madrugada at Academy 3

Manchesteronline 8 April 2004

20/04/2004 :: MAJESTY: Madrugada

CAUGHT a rare breath of fresh air on Oxford Road last night.

In the UK for a short series of promotional gigs, Norwegian band Madrugada, played a much appreciated set at Manchester's Academy 3.

Well-rehearsed, functional and tight, the band were completely at home with their material, and faintly surprised to be playing to a healthy audience after their last visit to Manchester when they played to nine people.

This audience - dedicated Madrugada fans, members of several of Manchester's coming bands and a healthy supply of live rock 'n'roll addicts - were treated to blistering opening renditions of Ivory Town, Hands up - I Love You and Seven Seconds before the band came up for air.

The power of guitarist Robert Burås' ability, sound and sheer talent gave wide dimension and power to tunes like the soulful single Majesty, and lifted the already storming Bloodshot Adult Commitment to almost anthemic proportions.

Burås' guitar playing offered all the support that was needed for this industrious four-piece, and the rhythm section of Frode Jacobsen on bass and Simen Vangen on drums provided a solid and punchy backbone for singer Sivert Høyem's passionate vocal performance.

Madrugada wear their influences on their sleeves but there is a pleasing pop heartbeat underneath their thundering live sound. And while Høyem pays tribute to Ian Curtis, Iggy Pop and Lux Interior in sound and manner, he manages it without appearing too derivative.

That was obvious from listening to their recently released album Grit, but the bands' live performance took the record's power and drive to a whole new level.

Madrugada return to the UK in May for a more comprehensive tour - it will be interesting to see what sort of attention they will attract.

Mark Richardson

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