The Futureheads / Tapes n' Tapes The Phoenix, Toronto, ON - July 26, 2006

Touring in support of their sophomore effort, News and Tributes, it’s clear the Futureheads have had a lot more experience working a crowd than their openers, Minneapolis’s Tapes n’ Tapes. Though some have suggested their second disc marks a more mature, though pedestrian and disappointing, departure from the manic barbershop punk of their self-titled 2004 debut, you’d be hard pressed to say the UK foursome have slowed down after watching them burst onto the stage like Spitfires out of the morning sun, whipping the sold-out house into a frenzy that didn’t let up until the last sustained three-tone harmony faded into the night. Tapes n’ Tapes, despite the fact that they were the far more musically interesting band, had a little more trouble connecting with the packed house. Playing Canada for the first time, Tapes n’ Tapes had a lot of much-deserved online buzz to live up to, and for the most part they succeeded. Performing the entirety of their fantastic debut, The Loon, Tapes n’ Tapes got a few heads bobbing with their sincere, sophisticated songwriting, led by front-man Josh Grier’s jerky guitars, wavering Malkmus-ian vocal style and held together by the amazingly versatile drum work of Jeremy Hanson. Unfortunately, their set was undermined by a lack of energy and stage presence, both of which the headliners had in spades. Amid blinding flashes of light and an unrelenting assault of furiously hammered guitars and vocal-cord-shredding harmonies, Barry Hyde and company blasted through a tight, full-throttle set that reached a fever pitch with the cacophonic "A to B” and the frantic "Return of the Berserker.” Things only slowed down once so guitarist Ross Millard could lead the enthusiastic crowd in a sing-along of "Hounds of Love” before sending the sweaty throngs off with a blistering two-song encore that left ears ringing and expectations surpassed.