Sunday, 13 October 2013

Johnny Bramwell @ Manchester Food & Drink Festival's Pavilion Tent, 06.10.13

“My set list has just turned into a wet list,” announces Johnny Bramwell, whose pint has spilled over said list. With a mischievous smile he continues: “Luckily I have another pint.”

Before he walks on, Hot Vestry take to the stage. Having supported the likes of New Order at Jodrell Bank earlier this year, the band appear comfortable in front of a crowd that is rapidly filling the tent. Mind you, I doubt if they will have been impressed with the changing area which leaves them in full view of passers-by. Once dressed in their paisley print shirts, the Macclesfield based four-piece plug in and play.

Numbers can veer from the 60s-type layered psychedelia to the attractively intense end of shiny aggression. The focus is on the resultant sound, with the addition of lyrics seemingly the more difficult part of their song construction.

The set contains the energy and enthusiasm of a group of teenagers who, despite a career to date of 150+ gigs, are still savouring the gigging experience and have developed into a taut, strident unit.

Guitarist, vocalist and sometimes bassist Harry Ward attempts to engage with the audience, even feeling in control of the situation enough to take his guitar out amongst the crowd – as far as his guitar lead will extend – before departing the stage and returning to the cobbled streets.

The set-up of long benches and tables with people sat forming orderly rows is more reminiscent of an army barracks than a gig venue but it’s a relaxed atmosphere nevertheless. By the time Johnny finally has the sound to his liking, all the spaces around the stage have been filled by people standing.

The comfort zone is quickly breached with Bramwell’s opener, ‘Twist’ – a tale of love, lust and death. Still, it beats staying in for Dancing on Ice. His voice is clear and cutting, both tonally and lyrically. ‘Storm Warning’ is followed by ‘86 TVs’ as his listeners take advantage of this free acoustic performance a week before I Am Kloot appear at the nearby Apollo venue.

Bramwell is one for whom the lyrics are the cornerstone of his songs, setting the mood and then allowing the musical atmosphere to follow. Judging by the warmth generated in the applause, there’s a lot here who want to savour that effect.

Words and photos: Ged Camera.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review of a great day , thanks MFDF ,Hot Vestry and ,of course Johnny Bramwell who made our year by having a few delicious pints with us afterwards
    Magic Johnny

    Hot -Hot Vestry