THE CHAMELEONS, for those not in the know, were a post-punk band who somehow missed the boat in the early to mid-1980s.

The foursome from Middleton, near Manchester, looked to be sailing for waters charted somewhere in between Echo And The Bunnymen and some of the more melodic goth bands, but the atmospheric sound they created in their three albums from the period barely rose beyond cult status and they sank without trace in 1987.

Resurfacing at the start of the millennium, they made a disappointing fourth studio album before another break-up has left us with the debris of tonight’s offering – Chameleons Vox, a fivepiece fronted by lead singer Mark Burgess and drummer John Lever.

Sadly, Lever had not been well enough to play for the last few weeks although Burgess revealed he was “getting better” so we had to make do with Doug McLoud on the skins instead.

As the band pounded its way through Pleasure And Pain, Tears, Intrigue In Tangiers, Nostalgia and Second Skin, it became obvious that, although Burgess may be the voice (Vox) of The Chameleons, its soul was missing – guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding, who in tandem crafted beautiful, transporting soundscapes which have been bludgeoned to death by distortion and a heavy-handed bass in the hands of this new incarnation.

Not that the 200-strong crowd seemed to mind as a plodding start picked up strongly to finish with decent renditions of Swamp Thing, In Shreds, Up The Down Escalator and an encore of Don’t Fall which has young and middleaged alike moshing in the pit.

Come back Reg and Dave – let’s do nostalgia properly.

- Warren Barner