Archive for the 'islands' Category

The Manchester Gig Guide: 21st – 27th September 2008

Brett Anderson of Suede drooling over Bernard Butler

Well, a day late and from the wrong member of the Indie Cred household, here’s the weekly gig guide.

It seems that last night we missed Beggars at the Night & Day, System of a Down side-project Scars on Broadway at the Manchester Academy and hardcore band Strike Anywhere at the Music Box. Oh well.

As for tonight, if I manage to get this posted in the next 10 minutes or so, you might manage to get down to the Manchester Academy to see experimental rock-rap-funk outfit Flobots, down to the Roadhouse for Infadels or to the Night & Day for White Lies, although that last one, it seems, has been sold out at least since Friday’s Manchester Evening News went to press.

Now, on to the gigs that aren’t already nearly history. Tuesday, September 23rd looks to be a quiet night with not much more than Liz Green, Ben Wetherill and Essie Jain, a trio of singer-songwriters, on at Matt & Phreds. Elsewhere, Mancunian band Ideas as Opiates are on at a showcase at the Night & Day which also features Frank is Dead and Sycamore.

On Wednesday the 24th things start to pick up a bit more when quirky Canadian indie-pop outfit Islands take over the Night & Day. Last time I saw Islands playing to a half-full crowd in the Roadhouse they were utterly charming so I’d recommend joining The Ledge to check out their latest offerings. Elsewhere experimental folkster Adem plays at the Ruby Lounge, supported by charming jangly instrumentalists Tim and Sam’s Tim and The Sam Band with Tim and Sam while gloom-rockers 1913 play the Hilton Hotel, of all places. On a completely different note, grime rapper Sway is on at Jabez Clegg, which could be interesting if only to see such a hotly-tipped hip hopper in such a tiny setting. If small, intimate gigs by good bands aren’t your thing, however, or you’ve a zimmer frame and want to hark back to your childhood in a more overpriced, seated setting, you can always head down to the Apollo for The Moody Blues. If you remember them from their first go round, however, you’re either really old, you weren’t really there, or both.

Thursday sees the welcome return of Scottish indie-folk-rockers Broken Records to the Night & Day. We enjoyed them the last time around and we may head down ourselves, although we’re likely to skip opener Troubadour as we’ve had little luck with bands of similar names. However, we’re also sorely tempted by the idea of Neil Halstead of Slowdive and Mojave 3 performing on his own at Sacred Trinity Church. It may come down to a coin toss for that one. If you fancy a bit of hypnotically loud post-rock, then Amusement Parks on Fire are on at Retro Bar along with the very amusingly-named Apes Fight Back. For the more electronica-minded amongst us, try heading down to catch Fujiya & Miyagi at The Deaf Institute. If neither of those take your fancy, there’s always psychedelic rockabilly courtesy of Jon Spencer’s newest band Heavy Trash. Enjoyable local rockers The Maple State are on at The Music Box while Spear of Destiny trigger some memories of the 1980’s over at Club Academy.

Friday, Suede fans of the world will get the opportunity to lob rotten tomatoes, rocks and pints of piss at me as I head down to see Brett Anderson attempt to interest us in his latest solo offering at the Royal Northern College of Music. My companion for the gig and I will be hoping he gets the solo stuff out of the way early so we can see whether “Trash” and “Animal Nitrate” sound as bad on the cello as we expect they will. On a slightly similar note, Wigan’s finest, Starsailor, will be performing at Moho Live in front of the 6 people who still care. For those not interested in mainstream indie whinging, get your dancing shoes out for disco diva Sam Sparro at Manchester Academy or dust off your leather trousers and head down to watch Dragonforce at Club Academy. If none of that takes your fancy, you could always check out some famous folk offspring in the form of Teddy Thompson at the Ruby Lounge. Of course Corrie and a bottle of wine sound pretty good on a Friday night too.

Saturday the 27th looks to be the night of the indie anthem as Puressence play Club Academy and Longview perform at the Roadhouse. Of course, if you’re feeling a bit less 1997, you could head down and see It Bites at Club Academy. We’d recommend, however,  that you rest up for the following weekend as In the City prepares to descend on us once again.

Mojave 3 – Mercy

Amusement Parks on Fire – Asphalt (Interlude)

Posted by JustHipper on 22nd September 2008 at 9:27 pm | comments (6)
File under brett anderson,gig guide,islands,manchester gigs,mp3,night & day.

Gig Review: Islands @ Night & Day Café, Manchester, 20th February 2008

Islands @ The Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
When Islands played the Roadhouse over eighteen months ago, I was already looking forward to a new album after an excellent set comprised almost entirely of new songs. Of course, in the months since I totally forgot about it; almost forgot about the band altogether. Well, Arm’s Way will finally come out in May and, on the evidence of their gig at the Night & Day on Wednesday night, it’s going to be a belter.

The band were six strong this time round, one down on the Roadhouse gig, but they produced a huge sound with dual violins and dual guitars backed up by a strong, and unfussy, rhythm section. Again, the majority of the set was new, but that didn’t matter, such was the strength of the material. The opener, “Vertigo” (I think), had a strong americana flavour running through it, augmented by some lovely slide guitar, and ended with a thrilling instrumental climax, though it was impossible to discern exactly when the song ended and the next began. The band was like a mini pop orchestra covering all sorts of musical territory from country to twee to power pop to chamber pop; there was even a bit of bluegrass fiddle playing in there somewhere. New songs, like the glammy strut of “The Arm” and the rockabilly stylings of “Pieces Of You”, really showcased Nick Diamonds’ expansive pop vision and went down very well with the sizeable crowd. The new stuff certainly sounds stronger and more ambitious than the material from their Return To The Sea debut – which was prone to meander along, with whimsical, often wafer-thin melodies – though Diamonds cheekily insisted that the new album was “not for you, it’s for your kids.”

Islands @ The Night & Day Cafe, ManchesterThe highlight of the set was an oldie, however. “Where There’s A Will There’s A Whalebone” is the best song on Return To The Sea, thanks mainly to a deliciously skewed rap from Busdriver, but without the rap the band instead played their heart out in a dizzying mid-song crescendo. The sweet pop shuffle of “Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby” saw out the main set and they returned with yet another excellent newie (something about animals and zoos) before rounding things off nicely with the epic “Swans (Life After Death)”.

So, a triumphant night for Islands, but earlier on Edinburgh’s Damn Shames put in perhaps the worst performance by a support band that I’ve seen in quite a while. For a start, the sound was absolutely shocking, especially considering the brilliant mix that Islands got later in the evening. The guitars were lifeless, the bass woolly, and their drum machine was programmed with some of the dullest beats known to man and could barely be heard above the ugly sonic stew. To add to this, the band were just trying too hard, with their spastic dancing, their over-exuberant guitar playing and their horrible yelped vocals seemingly trying to pull a smokescreen over the weakness of the songs. You could catch them occasionally looking hopefully into the audience for some kind of validation; but they won’t have got any, just a brief, polite smattering of applause after each song. They calmed things down as the set progressed and improved a little but the damage had already been done. Having said this, I’ve listened to a couple of their songs on their MySpace page since and they don’t sound too bad. Maybe with a decent sound mix and a focus on playing the songs better, rather than jumping around the stage like they’ve got a small, feral animal down their trousers, they might yet be worthy of support slots such as this.

Islands – Where There’s A Will There’s A Whalebone

Islands – The Arm

Posted by The Ledge on 22nd February 2008 at 7:14 pm | comments (6)
File under damn shames,Gig Reviews,islands,mp3,Reviews.