Monday, 27 May 2013

Grey Lantern Presents @ Trof Fallowfield, 25.05.13

Who’d be a promoter, eh? One minute you’re organising a festival across two venues and the next so many bands have pulled out that you might as well cram everything into one. So congrats to the Grey Lantern team who did create a fine roster at Trof.

The duo that forms Veladrome is first up on a Saturday with the sun beaming down. Lisa and Tom would appear to make an unusual combination; her with the clear, pristine vocals and him with the dirty, distorted bass noises. In delivery, the incongruous combination works well. “Keep on walking,” Lisa recites with sufficient ambiguity as to wonder if it’s a threat to one’s personal safety or merely offering friendly directions.

The incestuous nature of the Manchester music network frequently sees people appearing in multiple guises and displaying different facets of their musical tastes. Mike McKnight appears today as Sphelm. The number of Cyril Snear t-shirts on display is a sign of solidarity from his other band mates. Today he’s slightly nervous; a new toy bought to enable him to demonstrate his musical catalogue isn’t working as it should. Also, the PA is creating weird, unintentional sounds so we only hear four songs, but they are good ones. He will use almost every part of the guitar to create sounds and beats. His hands gently caress the neck of the guitar whilst his slightly rough edged vocals align themselves nicely to the overall sound.

For those who have witnessed the incendiary performances of Queer'd Science, Dinner Time are faster and seemingly more intensive. Hard to believe, I know. The Ramones played songs lasting less than two minutes, and so do Dinner Time. Shouty, fast and relentless they are not songs you are likely to hear on Radio 2, but who cares. I wonder if the pace of the set has anything to do with the fact that they are playing another gig at Kraak in 40 minutes?

Tribal Fighters take the event along a slightly different, more melodic avenue. The trio don’t do vocals, but will take a wander across the floor to the full extent of their guitar cables, all the while dispensing attractive numbers.

As someone stated, “You can't put a price on fun”.

Words & photography: Ged Camera.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NOISEstock feat. Sam Duckworth @ People's History Museum 18.05.13

Surprises can be nice, such as finding an unlikely setting for a gig that works beyond expectation, and tonight’s events are such an occasion. Sam Duckworth is providing a contribution to the Noisestock Festival, an initiative that’s celebrating the art of protest. The People’s History Museum in Manchester is as significant a location as any, with the site of the Peterloo Massacre being not far away. There’s no massacre tonight, everything being conducted in a civil yet relaxed manner, even allowing alcohol to be purchased. The brick lined room is laden with all manner of items from the current exhibition entitled ‘The Art of Protest’, including a sign informing us that ‘The Plebs Are Coming’. Mind you, with notable contributors to the NOISEstock festival including Billy Bragg and Mark Thomas, I’m on the side of the plebs.

To emphasise the informality of the event, chairs are missing and the relaxed atmosphere leads to a mixture of people sitting in small groups whilst others stand or lean against the walls. The performance featured songs from his Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. era, supplemented with other, later musical musings.

At times Duckworth supported other artists on the line up such as Josiah Mortimer and Mushana, a female vocalist from London.

Between songs, Duckworth outlines his personal political views. Coming from Southend via Burma, it’s pleasing to note that Duckworth doesn’t just ask the standard, “How’s Manchester tonight?” question, but is aware of local issues. He displays his pleasure that the last elected BNP Councillor has gone, losing his seat from the nearby area of Oldham.

The standout moments are when he is accompanied by the violinist, Tristan Parsons. The tall, open spaces of the venue lend themselves well to allowing the mixture of guitars, violins and voices being crisply delivered. Each song is received in silence and rewarded with warm applause.

When he recites “Tired of the sound? / Don’t let it get you get you down” from his GCWCF repertoire – ‘Once More With Feeling’ – the consensus is that the crowd isn’t and, for this evening, it hasn’t.

Words & photography: Ged Camera.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Competition: XXYYXX @ NQ Live, 17.05.13

XXYYXX (aka Marcel Everett) may have only turned 17 on Hallowe'en last year, but since the turn of the year has seen more of the world than many would have done by the age of 70. Having already trodden venues in Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand in 2013, he's currently plotting a path across Europe.

In equal parts Bibio, Nicolas Jaar and Lapalux, Everett sits comfortably alongside some of the world's best beat-makers. His knack for kneading together subtly crafted samples has led to compiling a full album along with shorter EPs and remixes, selling out shows in his Orlando hometown and beyond, with the ensuing global attention, all while still being able to see daylight between his late teens and 20s.

His is an often breathy, rustic distortion permeated by glitchy minimalism and shot in shadowy sepia, but with occasional deft nods to anyone from Flying Lotus to James Blake, Shlohmo to Shigeto. Most like fellow production prodigy Jaar, though, his default synthetic lilts often glide through the downtempo realm; music to drift to rather than dance to (see 'About You'), but can equally raise the bpm to Boiler Room level.

He's being joined on this European leg of the tour by fellow US soundwave-makers Giraffage, Beat Culture and Slow Magic - all with promising recordings to their name, including Giraffage's collaborative jam with XXYYXX, 'Even Though', and the Slow Magic / Beat Culture combo effort, 'Once'.

Words: Ian Pennington.

We have a pair of tickets for the Manchester show on 17th May at NQ Live, Tib Street. To enter the competition, just like and share this gig poster that we've shared via our Facebook page.

Here is the event info, and here is the ticket link.