Nick Harrison bounces onto the stage, him and his backing band all smiles. Despite the miserable weather, Nick Harrison is determined to bring a hot summers day feel to Norwich. Looking like Alex Turner, but with better skin, Nick plows through a 30 minute set of could be summer hits. Sounding like The Kooks (if they were still in their early days), but with awesome three part harmonies, and a brighter outlook, he gets the small crowd jumping around. At no point do the smiles fade from Nick, his bassist and drummer, as they blend The Police, Bob Marley and Maximo Park in an unforgetable mix. Stand out songs were singles ‘Oi Rude Boy’ ‘Something Special’ and sure fire hit single next summer ‘Summer Holiday’ with it’s screamed refrain of ‘I can’t wait for the summer’ whilst backed by Beach Boys style harmonies.
This guy is gonna be big.
Two years ago The Automatic could do nothing wrong, after the mega hit of 2006 ‘Monster’ you’d expect them to sell out a venue double the size of The Waterfront. However, having spent 2007 touring America, then replacing keyboardist Pennie, they seem to have lost momentum. Tonight, The Waterfront is barely half full, despite The Automatic releasing a glorious second album, far surpassing debut ‘Not Accepted Anywhere’, and having lead single ‘Steve McQueen’ constantly on radio and music tv.
Whilst certain songs lack the screaming produced by Pennie, Paul Mullen, former Yourcodenameis:milo frontman, is more than up to matching him in every other way. Having two guitarists fills out the sound, making the Automatic live sound bigger and bolder than previously. Paul Mullen also offers a second dimension vocally, taking over lead vocals from Robin Hawkins on the verses of many of the songs from new album ‘This Is A Fix’.
Despite the small crowd, the crowd are louder than most sold out shows, screaming along to every word, showing that whilst they draw a more modest crowd, the fans are all die-hard fans. Obviously, ‘Monster’ gets the biggest cheer of the night, sounding better than ever before with the two pronged rock guitarist attack courtesy of Mullen and Frost enhancing the original version. With Pennie gone, you’d expect less keyboards, however Mullen, Frost and Hawkins all play synth during the set.
‘This Is A Fix’ the title track of the new album stands out, with all members rocking out, and Peter Hill, rock photographer, joining the band to play bass whilst Robins Hawkins plays synth.