Friday, 27 January 2012

Vice Magazine Issue Launch Event featuring Clockwork Radio & Foreign Hands @ Deaf Institute, Tuesday 24th January 2012

Antiseptic Vice

Oh the incongruity of the situation; a Vice event taking place in a part of Manchester named All Saints and less than 500 yards from a church. There is a distinct lack of protesters outside the venue against such potentially corrupting issues but there are a few smokers getting their nicotine fix. Inside there’s not much to distinguish the occasion from another routine gig night.

It’s not a reflection on the musical ability of Foreign Hands, but each time they play there does appear to be a lack of number of people wanting to hear them. It’s the perennial problem of being the opening band at a gig.

At Antwerp Mansion just before Christmas less than 20 people were in the venue and tonight, at a free event, the sight of them picking up their instruments to start the set sends people scurrying to the steps that form a seating area at the far end of the venue. Only two people remain on the dance floor and they are starting to question the wisdom of providing such a display of loyalty to their Telford compatriots.

It’s a different situation at the end of their performance, by which time there is a substantial number of people congregated around them, with some even chancing their legs and starting to dance.

The drum/bass/guitar trio starts at a relatively sedate pace, with a couple of tight almost funk like numbers that illuminate the richness in Matt Adams’ voice. Couplets such as “Take me now / on this broken tiled floor,” are perhaps as close as we will get to any vice-ness tonight. Then they step up a gear, switching to a more aggressive guitar led sound that doesn’t seem to scare the crowd as much as they thought it would, before leaving with a few more interested listeners in tow.

With five members in the line up, Clockwork Radio are not going to be the type of band that play brisk, sharp sets, but there’s nothing wrong in that.

In the way that the Eurostar train picks up passengers at stops on this side of Dover before travelling along at dizzying speeds, Clockwork Radio similarly construct their songs. It’s a simple piece of percussion from drummer Dan Wiebe that gets things moving, that’s added to in turn by Sam Quinn (keyboards/samples) and as the momentum builds up, the remaining trio of Richard Williams (vocals, guitar), Iwan Jones (lead guitar, vocals) and Nadim Mirshak (bass) jump on board. The songs twist and turn from simple beginnings, in the way that Santana, on ‘Samba Pa Ti’ (ask your parents), negotiates the subtle, percussive sound before breaking out into a full-on guitar blast, then graciously slipping back into a subtle groove.

In front man Jones, they have someone who can be considered either ingratiating or engaging, depending upon your viewpoint to such verbal, between-song throwaways, such as: “This is for all the women with child-bearing hips,” or “We have some CDs for sale at £3 or you can buy the band for the night.” That’s about as scandalous as the evening has been.

Words & Images: Ged Camera

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