GIVE IT A NAME. Alexandra Palace, London. 02.05.05

OK, so every promoter in the country is wishing they'd thought of this first but it probably seemed so impossible, so unbelievable.

Just write a list of every next big thing and name of the moment, get them to turn up and play in a North London venue that probably hasn't seen a rock show for decades, and watch the money roll right in. Simple

Except on arrival to the giant greenhouse that is the Alexandra Palace, it seems as if counting the money, rather than spending a little, is all the organisers have done. There are 8000 people sweating under the glass ceiling, no one is allowed back outside unless that's where they want to stay, and the four bar areas that open with the venue doors at 1 have to close two hours later when the shelves are emptied by the parched crowds that weren't allowed to bring any bottles in. This does not please anyone in the 200 strong queues

It might explain why no one has anything to throw at Fightstar, not that they deserve any of that one bit. Looking alarmingly more like rock stars every time they play, the band breeze through a set of rock by numbers that's full of charm but still lacks bite.

Mae provide a little bit more of the same, but some softer edges and the angelic voice of frontman Dave Elkins help them stand out.

British rock, as always, is playing catch up with the almighty american music machine but, as always, some of us don't give a fuck. The Lucky Nine are such a bunch of likely lads. Everyone seems to wish they didn't have to look so damn cool so they could have a little dance.

Alexisonfire normally shine. Their upbeat tunes, family message, and original take on what's hot turns has previously turned macho mosh pits to dance floor party centrals but today they never quite take flight.

The old and tired debate on mixing politics and punk means nothing as Rise Against rally the troops, new single 'Give it All' raises some roars but not from sore-throated singer Tim. Alexisonfire guitarist Dallas does his good deed by supplying some vocals but apart from the hardcore punk rockers down the front most of the Palace seems uninterested.

Coheed and Cambria have always been the weird ones. Piano-sounding guitar lines, a coffin-tight percussion groove and helium-voiced SOAD-isms make these geeks unique but it does get a little bit jazz odyssey at times. That and the heat seems to making people fall asleep.

The sun has set but the heat remains and despite nearly 5 years of waiting so does the anticipation for new Finch material. and it's a weird one. They sound like Dillinger now, they sound like Minus. Nate Barcalow sounds like a baby monitor distorting the voice of satan and everyone takes a step back. The new songs jar glaringly with the poppy older material which the crowd lap up but the band seem utterly bored with and frustration rears its ugly head with temper tantrums and a broken bass.

There was a tiny doubt whether they deserved it and a slightly bigger one whether they could pull it off but the night eventually belongs to Funeral For a Friend. Someone with their finger on the volume control helps them out a little but FFAF's patented emo rock makes the biggest bang of the night.

The 5 Welsh boys still look and sound 12 years old, their potty mouths extending to making the whole venue scream profanity, but the songs are as catchy as they've always been. New single 'Streetcar' is aired quickly and turns out to be a highlight, all galloping guitars and achy breaky melody.

'Bend Your Arms to Look Like Wings' and 'She Drove me to Daytime TV' are greeted like old favourites, everyone sings back the choruses and even though the band are undoubtedly used to the crowd being louder than them it's a fine moment. It seems like people know most of the new stuff too. You pesky downloaders you.

FFAF continually thank people for hanging around but as last train times loom, the streams of those leaving grow wider, picking their way across festival style piles of shit, yawning but happy.

yeah, what he said

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