Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Team Ghost @ Soup Kitchen, 11.04.13

Well turned out for a mid-month Thursday in a disappointingly dismal April, Soup Kitchen laid host to the Manchester's Mount Fabric supporting their Parisian counterparts Team Ghost.

A relative stranger to both bands and almost duped by an erroneous set times poster, it was all the more pleasing to see a support band capitalising early on their slot with such poise and confidence. As Mount Fabric's opener came to a ferocious conclusion, with yelping vocals reminiscent of The Faint and a well balanced sucker punch of reverb crashing against the audience, complimentary murmurs could be heard seeping through the crowd.

Throughout their five song set there was a noticeable stylistic shift in their new material, from the typically explosive, driving post-rock of 'Curves and Corners' to latest single 'Heuristic Fits', which lacks quite the same angular nature, ending up like a Horrors B-side, but without the hook.

The tendency to drench the vocals of the new material in layers of effects actually does somewhat of an injustice to the outrageously good, falsetto voice of frontman Alex Marczak, his natural soaring tones having a much more euphoric impact when not distorted beyond recognition. The dreamier, electronic tinged, mid-set tracks were proficient enough, but it was the moody, combustible moments of the finale which brought back the rapturous applause and animated discussion we had first heard amongst the audience.

Team Ghost were swift to follow suit. Buoyed by some home support in the crowd, they rifled through a number of tracks from last year's Dead Film Star EP; psychedelic-pop worn on a synthesized sleeve. Former M83 man Nicolas Fromageau's lyrics full of woe, tragedy and passion, intertwined with Placebo-esque sonic distortions and noisy brooding chords. The songs are tightly bound bringing a visceral, unpretentious alt-pop punch embodied by 'Dead Film Star' itself, but at other times it can come across relentless and draining.

Although the improvised mid-track harmonisations between Nicolas and keyboard player Benoit de Villeneuve showed an intimate relationship and a cocksure confidence and swagger, Fromageau's limited vocal timbre was at times lost in the mix; his dulcet Parisian tones drowned out by those of his arguably stronger fellow musicians with a regularity suggesting this is not accidental.

There is undoubted potential here – the oblique, droning 'Curtains' hurtled towards a wonderfully violent conclusion but it seems that Fromageau and Co are still finding the perfect balance and structure to truly reap the benefits of their respective talents.

Words: Dan Coultas.
Team Ghost photo, top: Emma Le Doyen.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Galoshins @ Gulliver's, 13.04.13

Tonight we embark on a twisted voyage through the warped psyche of Scottish peculiarists Galoshins.

It’s jazz, but not as we know it. No laboriously self-absorbed solos or needlessly fidgety fretboard twiddlery, but a wonderfully involving and upbeat rampage across the realms of funk, rock and electro, with a delightful and disorientating dash of glitch to melt what remains of your fleeting sanity.

Backstage the befuddlingly talented drummer can be seen giving lessons to supporting acts - dressed appropriately as an African priest - whilst onstage their chemistry burbles with the madness of a shamanic vision quest, the wide-eyed keyboard/vocalist egging on an enraptured and boisterous audience.

It ought be mentioned that never before have I been hit with such simultaneous bouts of dancing and laughter, as the comic undertones of the three-piece’s performance lift them leagues above most of their jazz contemporaries.

Gasping and perspiring, they finally succumb to the rambunctious demand for an encore, and we’re plunged into yet another wormhole of majestic sonic turbulence; the cacophonic clamour of keys, strings and drumskins bombinating the skeletons of all within range.

It’s a mind-bending ruckus, sometimes soaring, sometimes bewildering, but always fun. And that’s what we came here for, right?

Words: Tom Richardson.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Simon Joyner @ Kraak, 06.04.13

Simon Joyner is someone who has been critically acclaimed by the likes of John Peel and Conor Oberst, yet has a relatively low profile in the UK. Within the US – in particular his hometown area of Omaha, Nebraska – he has been known to organise tours on the basis of playing a gig in someone’s house in return for a bed for the night. That type of approach will have prepared him for the intimate surroundings of Kraak.

He has also taken a similarly unorthodox, and some may say financially limiting, approach to releasing his new record, Ghosts, which is in the vinyl format only. He announces proudly on his website that, “No digital technology was used in making this record,” although digital downloads are available.

There’s just about enough space for all six members of the band on the Kraak stage, with the drummer standing to one side whilst the pedal steel guitarist, Mike Friedman, has to be heard rather than seen, but it’s the sound that counts and it is a rather glorious.

Supplemented on some numbers by Megan Siebe, who plays agreeably violent violin, the style is very much located within the Americana genre, comprising of slow burning stories that develop and build to carefully created climaxes.

Wearing what appears to be a Stetson hat, Joyner leads from the front and that may be the one area in need of attention, as his occasionally flat and dry delivery, in the manner of a low-key Nick Cave, can seem at odds with the pristine sound. There are a lot of biblical references (“When you’re in pain / sing Hallelujah”) along with some intriguing word play (“I can barely carry / never mind bury / the past”).

When the rousing choruses are reached it almost seems like summer is around the corner. Almost.

Words & photography: Ged Camera.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Letters To Fiesta @ Roadhouse, 29.03.13

Just as a flame seems to flicker more brightly towards the end and the wick folds into the remnants of the wax, the club event that Underachievers Please Try Harder has used to light up both the live music and club night atmosphere of Manchester is slowly drawing to a much regretted close. Like George Best, you might as well go out leaving fond memories, and the best wishes of those who have taken part in the event, behind.

So let’s enjoy the fare that Dave and Kirsty have laid on for us. First up is Letters To Fiesta, who feature the pure, clear voice of Anna-Louisa Etherington. Her performance resembles an intelligible version of Liz Frazer, who fronted the Cocteau Twins. Strong yet delicate, the vocals seem to frame how their set is delivered.

Whilst her voice is the first thing that grabs attentions, the musical detail supplied by Tom Brydon (guitar), Andy Fletcher (bass) and Daniel Houghton (drums) provides a splendid platform to work from. Ethereal in tone and subtle in delivery, they could be Sigur Ros on steroids.

The band is being hailed as the latest in a long line of outfits to emerge from Manchester, and as the next band that must be twittered about. Yet, like the other band on the bill, they've been making music for several years – albeit with slightly differing line-ups. This overnight recognition of abilities seems to take several years. On tonight’s performance that opinion seems justified. Let’s hope they are allowed the time and space to flourish.

So it's onto to the very danceable tunes of Kid Canaveral who have travelled down from Scotland. I hope they weren't swayed by the fact that Manchester is closer to the equator and as a result it will be warmer than their nominal home base of Edinburgh. It’s a pity that the weather outside cannot match the warmth of their sounds.

By now there's now a large crowd in the Roadhouse some of whom are waiting for the club night to start rather than catching the bands. It could have been a challenging occasion for Kid Canaveral, but it wasn't. From the front David MacGregor guides the four-piece through a merry romp, armed with a repertoire of instantly catchy songs. Quickly they have a core of dancers in front of them and the smiles on people’s faces are enough indication of how well they’ve been received.

Words & photography: Ged Camera.

Monday, 1 April 2013


Issue 4's artwork comes courtesy of Sheffield illustrator Phlegm. We have plenty more articles besides, including the usual array of politics, food, poetry, art, music, theatre, film and independent trade. Dive in here:

We'd like to thank all our supporters for this issue (in page order):

Morley Cheek's.
Fuel Cafe Bar.

Ken Foster's Cycle Logic. (10% off see magazine advert for info.)
Kagyu Ling Buddhist Centre.
Video Jam.
WR Audio.

Battery Park Juice Bar.
The Eighth Day Shop & Cafe.
Épicerie Ludo.
Out Of The Blue.
POD Deli.

Outstanding Beers.
Marble Beers.
The Jackalope.
The Hillary Step.
The Hope Inn / Fool Hardy Ales.
Privateer Beers.

Sacred Art Tattoo.

Chapel St Studios / The Black Lion.

Cloudspotting Festival.
Antwerp Mansion.
Loren Fetterman Custom Tattoo Artist.

The Deaf Institute.
Manchester MIDI School.
Manchester Academy.

Agapanthus Interiors.