How ironic that the organisers are titled the Swing Dance Collective, conjuring up images from the ‘30s when a band was more likely to comprise a brass section than a guitarist, and everyone wore the group’s uniform. Tonight’s event is a maelstrom of furious intensity, plus a more unusual type of uniform. First up are Bad Grammar, a duo comprising of Lucy Brown on drums and Ben Forrester on guitar. Forrester has a voice that at times resembles Dave Grohl’s, as fiery riffs bounce around. At this time of the weekend, a Sunday night, most people are winding down in preparation for a return to work the next day, but they let fly with a fairly brutal display that clears any lethargy. The more unusual uniforms are worn by Alpha Male Tea Party. Looking like they have walked from a crime scene, Tom Peters (guitar), Ben Griffiths (bass) and Chapman (drums) are dressed in all white, zip up radiation suits. Or it could be a giant condom. As they invite people closer to the stage they do apologise for the smell. Well they have played the last few nights in Hartlepool, Northampton, Liverpool (their home town) and now Manchester in the same outfits which they acknowledge as being drenched in sweat. Plus some other types of fluids. Loud and proud in performance, the recent gigs have allowed the trio to develop their harmonies and timing in an intense manner. How apt for times like these that a band should have a song titled ‘Tastes Like Dog’, presumably recorded in a more prescient moment. They announce that they have some CDs on sale but after their tour the only change they have is in the form of “Durex Pleasuremax or Euros”. I’m not sure how well that went down with the parents of one band member, who were in the audience. A second band from the west end of the M62 is Vasco Da Gama, who comprise of John Crawford, Chris Lynn, David Kelly and Joe Falconer. With a more intricate weave of sounds, full of stop-start arrangements and intricate guitar works, they more than keep their followers here tonight entertained. Axes close the night, which is probably a good thing as I think they arrive 15 minutes before they go onstage. They are almost a distillation of the three bands that precede them; loud, vibrant and entertaining. The stage is barely able to contain the four-piece as the front three move across the stage furiously attacking their guitars with a swinging (yes, I know) onslaught of strings to provide a suitably fiery climax to a swinging night. Words & photography: Ged Camera.