Archive for the 'in the city' Category

Gig Review: In the City, Manchester, Tuesday 7th October 2008

We were looking forward to an In the City hat-trick and yet again were befuddled by the range of choice so we had always planned on making Tuesday the day where we saw a few acts with whom we’re pretty familiar.

In The City 2008 - Unidentified band @ The AtticWe started off at The Attic where a last minute opener had replaced a cancellation by one of the scheduled acts. I have no idea what these guys were called as they never said, but honestly, if I played in a band that derivative I wouldn’t tell anyone what we were called either. They had long hair, beards, wore baggy shorts and sounded like they liked everything bland and monotonous about Seattle c. 1995. The most memorable thing about them was the rather unpleasant ending to their set where the lead singer braced his guitar against a monitor and simulated sex with it. I’m still trying to erase the image from my brain as it was really rather vile. I guess he thought it made him more “rock n roll.” Mostly it made him look like a bit of a tit.

Second on was The Star Fighter Pilot, a one-man electronic act whose lo-fi, keyboard and computer-driven set falls somewhere in between early OMD and what Nine Inch Nails would sound like if they tried to make lighthearted electro-pop. The live set involves live singing combined programmed elements from a laptop and sound effects and a bit of keyboard. Lyrically the tracks cover somewhat unusual themes (although the prevalence of numbers about stalkers and perverts last night was a bit worrying) and full of humour. The highlight, naturally, was the live debut of “The Invisible Invasion,” which we’re pretty sure made internet history as the first song commissioned via Twitter when I made a cheeky tweet about it back in early September. Needless to say, we very much enjoyed the set.

With proceedings at The Attic running late we knew we’d already missed The Bangs and didn’t want the same thing to occur with Light Syndicate so we rushed across to Retro Bar where the band were just taking the stage as we paid for drinks at the bar. We first saw Light Syndicate back when they were still called Nephew at an In the City showcase way back in 2005. At the time I commented that they reminded me of Toad the Wet Sprocket because there was a folky element to the sound. These days with the band down to 4 musicians they are tighter than ever and louder than ever. Light Syndicate in 2008 have really hit their stride with a sound influenced by late-era Radiohead and post rock but with enough rousing melody and sympathetic lyricism to make the songs sound vast and anthemic while managing to maintain the intimacy of delivering them in a tiny room – plus they still do the whole quiet/loud thing to great effect. They told the crowd last night that their debut album, which they must have completed a year ago, will finally be out next month. It’s great and well worth buying.

By the time Light Syndicate finished we were exhausted from four days in a row of gigs and decided to head home, very impressed with the broad range of new musical talent on offer at ITC in 2008. Hopefully we’ll hear more from (most of) these bands over the coming year.

Posted by JustHipper on 8th October 2008 at 6:44 pm | comments (5)
File under Gig Reviews,in the city,manchester gigs,youtube.

Gig Review: In The City, Manchester, Monday 6th October 2008

In The City 2008 - To The Bones @ Cellar VieThis year’s In The City is turning out to be really great. In previous years we haven’t been to nearly as much as we should have but this year we’re making the effort to get out every night. The event would be even better were it not for all the belaminated record industry delegates clogging up the venues. I’m not sure what they’ve been delegated to do but talking loudly while the bands are on while us mere mortals strive to hear over the top of them is my best bet. Then there’s the photographers who think that they have the right to get in everyone’s way for an entire gig because they have a big fuck-off camera. This happened on Sunday night at Cellar Vie during To The Bones where at one point there were four or five such planks making it impossible for anyone else to get a decent view. A couple of them were at it for the entire gig, which is just ridiculous; I mean, how many photos do you need to take? If the pics on Drowned In Sound today are the best from the 300 or so you took then you’re clearly in the wrong job.

In The City 2008 - Magic Arm @ Piccadilly RecordsTonight we began at Piccadilly Records where we missed the start of Colorama’s set but enjoyed what we did see; their cool, laid back mix of country rock, folk and blues making for almost as chilled-out a start as we had at the Bay Horse the day before. We were there to see Magic Arm, who I’ve seen in a supporting capacity at least three times in the last year, but never headlining, and never with a full band. He started off solo but with his superb manipulation of his looping pedal it sounded anything but. After his excellent rendition of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Ballad of Melody Nelson” and a few harmonica problems that brought songs to a grinding halt, the band – made up of members of My Side Of The Mountain – joined in and things got less intricate and more rugged, but no less enjoyable, even though Justhipper had to put up with a cameraman standing right in front of her for most of the latter part of the gig while chatting away and texting his friends. They closed with a terrific version of “Widths And Heights”, leaving the song’s undeniably catchy chorus rattling around my brain for the remainder of the evening.

In The City 2008 - The ABC Club @ Chicago Rock CafeThen it was off across town to the Chicago Rock Café on Peter Street where we managed to catch Radio Luxembourg’s final song – a rather excellent slice of anthemic Welsh pop – and were then enthralled by the old school indie of The ABC Club with their wonderful jangling guitars and the breathtakingly morose Morrissey-esque vocals of Zandra Klievens, who stood stock still and expressionless throughout, which is exactly how it should be. At least the jabbering delegates behind us picked up on the brilliance of Klievens’ voice and I hope that they don’t stay unsigned for too long because I can’t wait ’til they release an album. They were followed by the disappointing Dash Delete who, despite their earnest endeavour, brought nothing new to the indie landscape with their sub-Bloc Party bluster. We left after a few songs: another early night for us, but another enjoyable one, nonetheless.

Posted by The Ledge on 7th October 2008 at 11:53 pm | comments (5)
File under Gig Reviews,in the city,Reviews.

Gig Guide Special: In The City, 5th-7th October 2008

Manchester’s annual In The City festival rolls around again this weekend and as usual there is an absolutely huge number of gigs going on in the city centre between Sunday and Tuesday. Most of them are free showcases for unsigned acts and small indie labels but there’s a fair few more recognisable acts playing as well. You won’t be able to wander around the Northern Quarter without being in earshot of a bunch of earnest teens in skinny jeans singing for their supper. And what about those dates? I’m sure that previous ITC’s took in the whole weekend. Three days of late nights and early mornings for those of us with jobs is not going to be easy.

As far as line-ups go you’re spoilt for choice and an afternoon of trawling MySpace to narrow down the options is highly recommended. We’ll probably start at the Night & Day on Sunday afternoon for the Switchflicker showcase headlined by the excellent Magic Arm, although at the same time at Fopp Records there’s a Heavenly showcase including acoustic sets from The Magic Numbers’ Romeo Stodart, Cherry Ghost and Edwyn Collins, all of whom will be making their way to the Deaf Institute for a presumably more electric showcase in the evening.

Also on Sunday night there’s a Fierce Panda showcase at the Night & Day with The Spinto Band headlining and Laymar and The All New Adventures of Us also on the bill, XFM put on The Beep Seals and Gideon Conn at the Ruby Lounge and at South the NME have Eugene McGuinness and Detroit Social Club.

Gideon Conn turns up again at Urban Outfitters early on Monday evening where there is also an exhibition of his artwork and “free drinks”. On Monday night the Hell Yeah promotion at the Academy 3 looks interesting with The Bottomfeeders, Silverclub and The Sister Of Transistors playing. On the same night The ABC Club, who were ace when we saw them supporting ¡Forward, Russia! earlier in the year, play the Chicago Rock Café in support of Johnny Foreigner, the band they replaced on the bill that night.

On Tuesday The Red Deer Club take over Piccadilly Records where they’re putting on Sophie’s Pigeons, Down The Tiny Steps and Sara Lowes, while Drowned In Sound have the likes of Grammatics and These New Puritans at the Night & Day. On the same night Manc guitar legend Vini Reilly brings his Durutti Column to the Ruby Lounge, Wiley headlines the Channel M night at Moho Live and Twisted Wheel and It’s A Buffalo play the BBC Introducing showcase at the Deaf Institute.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. Check out the In The City website for the full line-up and make sure you also look at the list of fringe gigs on the site, which is almost as exhausting as the main event. Acts include Simon Connor, among others, on Sunday afternoon at The Bay Horse, Air Cav at Joshua Brooks on Sunday night, The Star Fighter Pilot at The Attic on Tuesday night and, also on Tuesday, Light Syndicate and The Bangs at the Retro Bar.


Posted by The Ledge on 2nd October 2008 at 11:44 pm | comments (2)
File under gig guide,in the city,manchester gigs.