The Automatic catch the hearts of Manx audience

GIG-goers enjoyed a mad concoction of horse masks, red polka-dot bikini pants and crowd diving at the sell-out Automatic gig in the Villa Marina Promenade Suite on Saturday night.

The Welsh band — which consists of Rob Hawkins (vocals and bass guitar), James Frost (guitar), Iwan Griffiths (drums) and Paul Mullen (guitar and vocals) — showcased their new album, Tear The Signs Down, as well as playing all the hits from their first two albums.

The youthful energy and chirpy banter from the four lads really stirred up the audience into an intimate indie punk-rock frenzy.

Of course the crowd went wild when the lads bashed out their hit Monster — especially when Paul reappeared wearing an old monster mask half way through the song.

'My dad bought that monster mask about 30 years ago. It even scares me when I'm looking in the mirror wearing it,' he said.

Other songs such as Magazines, High Time and Cannot Be Saved were also well-received.

And we were left on a high when they ended their set with anthemic single Steve McQueen.

But the excitement did not stop there.

For the band soon came out from backstage and started clearing their own set away.

They were more than happy to pose for photos and give autographs to star-struck fans of all ages.

Paul said: 'That was the best gig we've done in a long long time. For us as a band it all came together.'

The boys had come straight from three gigs in London and left the Island on Sunday to head back home to Cardiff for a couple of days before heading to Swindon and the rest of their tour.

'We just live out of each other's pockets. It's quite hard because you need your own space but we are all good mates. We argue about our music but that's all constructive. We just all want the best out of the songs,' said Paul.

The band arrived on the ferry on Friday for their first Manx gig and headed down to Castletown.

'It's a lovely place, it's so nice,' said Rob. 'It was amazing seeing the Scottish mountains. Everything feels so Celtic here. The others said hello to the fairies. Everyone's been really friendly.'

In the evening they came back to the Empress Hotel where they were staying and went out drinking in the Outback and The Courthouse.

They didn't go into Colours because it cost 5 to get in!

In fact despite their chart successes, the band were most excited about getting their own hotel rooms in Douglas instead of having to share as usual.

Talking of future plans, Rob said: 'We'll hopefully do as many tours as possible. In fact we are hoping to support Ash in April or May. We'd love to do that.'

James explained: 'I've known Iwan since I was 11 and Rob since I was four. The three of us were all in a band together and we were massive fans of Paul's band Your Code Name is Milo.'

He said: 'We are releasing our own album this time after being messed around by our record label.

'We lost half a week's sales on the Steve McQueen record because they didn't get it out in time and our album came out two days late too. We like to have more control over our records. This way we know the score.'

He explained that they now receive a government grant towards their costs.

The band's new single Run and Hide is out on Monday (March 8).

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