Keane - Manchester Apollo

Tom Chaplin is all self-deprecating charm. A bulging Apollo, aided by the year’s first mini heatwave, quickly heats up: the warmth for the returning Keane is considerable. “Thanks so much for sticking with a bunch of southern twats, Manchester,” he quips. And stick with them they do. The arena-filling days of their early years are behind them but you suspect that, in the current climate, Keane would settle for their current lot. A sold-out UK tour and fourth album Strangeland sitting comfortably in the top ten for the past month: clearly, there are worse things for yesterday's bright young things than consolidating your position.

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And credit where credit’s due. You suspect that even without the presence of local hero Peter Kay, who shuffles on unexpectedly to introduce them and promptly gets the place bouncing, the newly expanded four piece would have had this partisan crowd on their back without too much mither. In a set that concentrates on their first two albums (Hopes And Fears and Under The Iron Sea) and their most recent offering, at the expense of 2008’s Perfect Symmetry, relative obscurities jostle for attention with the big guns. ‘Everybody’s Changing’ is tonight's first direct hit and, with ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ (mass sing-along, predictably), ‘This Is the Last Time’ and a stirring ‘Bedshaped’ left until the back end of a lengthy set, the hardcore are rewarded for staying involved throughout. They exit to a genuinely staggering ovation. No longer a name to be dropped, Keane demonstrate the nobler art of maintaining a solid fanbase. They’d surely not swap the patronage of the groovy gang for loyalty like this?

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Photos courtesy of Mike Gray

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