Live reviews

Morning Runner - The Charlotte, Leicester (8th February 2006).

Tonight, it was Reading’s turn to show us what they were made of and had sent their representatives, Morning Runner to make the point. Current darlings of the music scene, the band have been seen touring alongside Coldplay, Bloc Party and Ian Brown and although the first time in Leicester, have played 2 well received headline tours of their own. I had been in the fortunate position of having had a sneak preview of their forthcoming album “Wilderness Is Paradise”, prior to the show, but with a release still 4 weeks away, those who had stumped up between 7-9 quid to come along tonight only had the whisper that something special was in store (ok, several releases and a website that appears to present a wealth of resources may have been an advantage).

When half past ten had finally arrived, we’d already been served two delicious dishes in the form of the studious Polytechnic and directors of their own floor-show, The Screening and although Morning Runner had at least received airplay, theirs was also an unknown quantity. Starting the show tonight in quite fitting fashion the band had chosen the albums opening number, “It’s Not Like Everyone’s My Friend” a song with a sad undertone, but driving an audience that was at least a couple of hundred in number, quite inappropriate, our gazes were all fixed on what vocalist Matthew Greener had to say. From where I stood amidst the heaving mass, the light show made it appear the band were playing in an erupting sea of fireworks, although in contrast to this, the back drop to the stage gave the impression that this was a prostitutes boudoir, so perhaps fireworks had their place.

“Have A Good Time” had followed this first number, then “Be All You Want Me To Be” and by the time “Punching Walls” had met our ears, the ecstasy we were experiencing had to be carefully managed by a band aware of their audience's needs. The set had so far proved fast paced and made for exhilarating participation. The songs were sung with a heartfelt sincerity and with lyrics that were in no way superficial, living the dream in 21st century Britain was summed up when Matthew, Ali, Tom and Fields struck into the album's final track - “Work”, a song that with the swirling sounds of a small venue, may have been lost, but the impact certainly wasn’t and on the sang.

They had greeted the audience in a fashion that belied the groups tender age. From an early signing with "Faith and Hope Records" in 2003, 3 years later and now signed to "Parlophone", they have cultivated a ‘super group’ in the making and although this may only be an ‘indie super group’, as Matthew had stood on-stage, hair obscuring his view, I saw a younger Gaz Coombes staring back at me. Like the night Oasis, Reef and Coldplay had first played these hallowed walls, I felt I had been lucky enough to witness history in the making, this was stadium rock played to a handful in what might as well have been a shoebox, chances like this don't come along every day.

Morning Runner’s debut album - “Wilderness Is Paradise Now” is scheduled for release on March 6th 2006, through Parlophone.

Nick James

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