Archive for the 'manchester gigs' Category

Gig Review: Those Dancing Days @ Manchester Roadhouse, 8th August 2008

So, I know this is a bit late. The problem was not so much lack of motivation or even lack of time as it was not quite knowing what to say. Even The Ledge firmly thinks I’m out of my mind about this gig.

The Bangs LiveIn any case, it all started off promisingly enough. We arrived early so we would be certain to catch The Bangs, who we very much enjoyed at Sacred Trinity Church back in February. They pretty much tick every one of our music-loving boxes being a female-fronted indie band whose influences are clearly PJ Harvey, The Breeders, Elastica, Sonic Youth, Helium, etc. They sound like they sprung fully formed from 1991 rather than walking the “indie” standard line of trying to sound like The Libertines or Oasis. They sound fabulous and they look the part too. If they’re not on stage at ATP in a couple of years time performing in front of a drooling cult following of hundreds of pale-faced indie boys in Yo La Tengo T-shirts and gushing music journalists I’ll be very disappointed. They played a blinder, the two female leads swapping bass and guitar back and forth, looking intent and not bothering us with loads of forced, between-song banter. But hey, if you’ve got the songs, you don’t need to ply the crowd with chatter, trying to get them on-side.

The Answering Machine LiveThe crowd had swelled considerably by the time The Answering Machine took the stage. It has been a while since we’ve seen them play – I can’t work it out even looking through our archives – although we do keep seeing them, most notably eating in Barburrito a few months back and queuing for beer at a Death Cab for Cutie gig a few weeks ago. We had not seen them perform since they added a drummer and we were looking forward to it. The drummer has certainly added a lot to their sound and their stage presence. The songs sound fuller and louder even if they haven’t moved on musically very much in the last couple of years. They still sound like a chirpy, British version of The Strokes’ first album. This is not to say that they were not as enjoyable as ever – they were – I just fear that perhaps they’ve missed their window. Too many bands with similar influences have come and gone at this point and it may be a case of evolve or die. I am surprised they haven’t had a hit single by now, but I suspect that if they haven’t they may not. I seriously hope I’m wrong because I think they’re fab.

Those Dancing Days LiveAnd then we came to Those Dancing Days. Now The Ledge had sold me on this gig by telling me they sounded like an old Sarah Records band, playing lo-fi, girlie indie pop. I’d heard about half a song and it sounded pretty good. They certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage and the crowd around me seemed to like it, but frankly, I was bored witless. To be fair, I was suffering from that sound problem where if you stand too close to the stage you can’t hear very well, but as a result it sounded like one long perky pop song. And that one long song was not as charmingly lo-fi as I’d expected. I could have done with the pace changing. Now, I can’t fault the band’s energy – they were throwing themselves into things – but I was just ready to leave after about 10 minutes. I’m not even sure that I wouldn’t enjoy them on record, but on stage, with poor sound, there was nothing particularly attention-grabbing, unexpected or exciting about what I was watching. It’s a pity cause The Ledge hasn’t stopped saying how much he enjoyed it (but he is a guy and he was watching a bunch of young, pretty ladies in skirts playing guitars – he likes that sort of thing – if Kim Deal had been on the stage he’d have been in indie-boy heaven) so I feel like I possibly should have liked it more. But I didn’t. Oh well.

Those Dancing Days – Those Dancing Days

Those Dancing Days – Hitten

Posted by JustHipper on 22nd August 2008 at 7:09 pm | comments (6)
File under Gig Reviews, manchester gigs, mp3, roadhouse, the answering machine, the bangs, those dancing days.

Videos: Fleet Foxes, Land Of Talk live in Manchester

Here’s a couple of videos that we forgot to attach to recent gig reviews.

First, here’s the excellent Fleet Foxes playing “White Winter Hymnal” at the Roadhouse on 17th June with added witty banter concerning Home Improvement star Tim Allen.

Also in June at the Club Academy, Canada’s Land Of Talk played an excellent set to a handful of people in support of Tapes n’ Tapes, who were awful on the night. Here’s “Summer Special” from that set.

Posted by The Ledge on 7th August 2008 at 11:53 pm | comments (6)
File under manchester gigs, video, youtube.

The Manchester Gig Guide: 4th-10th August 2008

Like last week there’s not a great deal going on on the gig front in Manchester this week. Experimental LA rockers The Icarus Line play the Roadhouse on Tuesday things don’t really get going until Friday when country rockers Drive By Truckers play the Academy 2 while at the same time in the same building country rock ‘n’ roller the Reverend Horton Heat plays the Club Academy. A bad clash for some people, I don’t doubt.

Gig of the week is undoubtedly at the Roadhouse on Saturday when the marvellous Swedish all-girl indiepop five piece Those Dancing Days play with excellent support from The Bangs (we reviewed them first) and The Answering Machine, who we haven’t seen for ages, since they got a real drummer in fact. It is going to be a great night, mark my words. If that doesn’t float your boat and you fancy a bit of sub-Arctic Monkeys fare then head down to the Night & Day to see The Backhanded Compliments. Some members used to be in a band called Milburn, who, a quick browse on Myspace suggests, also sounded a bit like The Arctic Monkeys, and had a really, really dull name. The Backhanded Compliments sound a bit harder and edgier than Milburn – and are certainly a cut above the likes of the abysmal Courteeners – so they might be worth checking out if you’ve got nothing better to do.

Posted by The Ledge on 3rd August 2008 at 11:48 pm | comments (1)
File under Gig Reviews, manchester gigs.

The Indie Cred Manchester Music Guide: 28th July – 3rd August 2008

As usually happens when the school holidays hit, the gigs dry up a little. With the Academy closing its doors for a couple of weeks there are few what you might call “name” bands coming to town in the immediate future, although Billy Idol plays the MEN Arena on Wednesday and friend of the blog Bricking Chick may well be going along and hopefully reporting on the experience. Also on Wednesday, Brooklyn electro duo Ratatat play the Roadhouse with support from local post-rockers Laymar. At the Roadhouse on Thursday there is an excellent line-up of local talent with Magic Arm and This Is My Lawnmower playing support to the hotly-tipped Delphic, who boast two former members of defunct and slightly dull indie hobbits Snowfight In The City Centre among their ranks but promise a whole lot more. Not only this but behind the decks for the evening is fellow blogger DJ Grammar of Black Country Grammar fame, a busy man these days given that he has collaborated with James from Yer Mam! to bring you Dig For Victory!, a new club night at the Bay Horse pub on Thomas Street which kicks off tonight (Sunday 27th) and will take place on the last Sunday of every month.

Sheffield’s Bromheads Jacket play the Ruby Lounge on Friday with Orphan Boy in support but the main event of the week, as far as we’re concerned, is the A Day At The Races festival which takes place on Saturday at the Night & Day and MoHo Live, having originally been scheduled to take place on two stages at New Century Hall. Proceedings begin with Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening at Moho Live at 4:30pm with other bands at MoHo including Elf Power, Jeffrey Lewis and Los Campesinos! while the likes of Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Bearsuit and Múm play the Night & Day. I hope the weather cools a little next Saturday because a packed Night & Day is like a sauna on even the chilliest of nights.

Posted by The Ledge on 27th July 2008 at 10:04 pm | comments (1)
File under gig guide, manchester gigs.

Gig Review: The B-52’s @ Manchester Academy, 22nd July 2008

There are not too many bands that I’ve seen and The Ledge hasn’t, but the B-52’s are one of those (or they were). It would have been impossible for me to avoid them, growing up just south of Athens, GA, in Atlanta where as teenagers we mostly claimed those Athens bands for our own. I was looking forward to this gig for very different reasons from The Ledge, I suspect.

The B-52's @ Manchester Academy, 22nd July 2008We got down to the venue ridiculously early – The Ledge thought doors were at 7pm, turns out they were at 7:30pm, but it meant we had a prime spot at the front in between where Keith Strickland and Cindy Wilson would later stand. It also meant we had 90 minute wait for music as the “opening band” was a DJ playing records we could have listened to at home were we so inclined. It gave us a chance to chat to the crowd around us, and it was a friendly bunch, some had driven up from Reading for the gig and were very excited.

When the band came on, however, opening with “Pump” from their new album, Funplex, perhaps the aging crowd couldn’t really dance so much anymore, but it wasn’t quite the mayhem I expected. Perhaps they were too busy being shocked at how damned good Kate Pierson looks for a woman who recently turned 60 – if I look that good at 40 I’ll be thrilled.

The B-52's @ Manchester Academy, 22nd July 2008Personally, I spent a large part of the gig feeling incredibly homesick. I don’t miss Georgia, or the States in general, all that often, not after nearly 11 years in the UK, but every so often I have a moment. I had one watching REM at T in the Park the other week, and I had one tonight. It’s partly the southern accents which are home – I hear them and they sound so familiar I forget where I am for a moment, and it’s partly the incredibly strong associations I have between the band and my teenage years. The moment they start singing I’m in 10th grade algebra where Casey McKittrick is telling us all that if you play Cosmic Thing backwards you get weird messages about drugs and sex. Some of the boys in the class ask him how he managed to play it backwards and he can’t really answer, but everyone’s still wondering if it’s true. Or I’m in the car driving up to Rock Eagle for a school trip with my best friend and the driver is also one of the chaperones for the weekend who happens to be my brother’s best friend who’s now a student at the University of Georgia in Athens and he’s treating us to all the stuff he’s hearing at college – The B-52’s, Lifes Rich Pageant, They Might Be Giants and the Violent Femmes. Needless to say, I was in a weird place for most of the gig.

The B-52's @ Manchester Academy, 22nd July 2008You certainly couldn’t fault the band for one second as their enthusiasm never waned through a set which mixed up tracks from the new album (which, admittedly, I’ve only heard once and then I dozed through much of it on a long car journey) and classics. “Mesopotamia” came second and they even brought out a couple of tracks that I hadn’t heard in so long I’d forgotten they existed in the form of “Strobe Light” and “Party Gone Out of Bounds.” It was just before the latter, during a particularly brilliant rendition of “Private Idaho” that some guy tried to squeeze in between me and the guy next to me because he thought Cindy Wilson might want to shag him. He was about 22. She’s old enough to be his gran. He got angry when I wouldn’t move for him, but I’m not letting a guy a head and a half taller than me get between me and my view – especially when he was all arms and elbows. He spent the next 30 minutes banging into me and humping  my leg in a crowd where nobody was pushing against anyone because the venue was only half full.

Between the idiot behind me and a couple of newer tracks I didn’t recognize, my enthusiasm waned a bit when Fred Schneider wandered off stage and the two women did a new track and “Roam” back to back, the latter wasn’t great. But when Fred re-emerged so did the tunes and we got a riproaring finish, right down to the crowd singalong for the requisite “Love Shack.”

The B-52's @ Manchester Academy, 22nd July 2008In the interval my “friend” tried to push in again and when I told him to piss off I got an ear-bashing because he was a Bigger Fan because he’d flown to Paris to see them and I wasn’t singing – apparently if you’re going to stand at the front you have to sing along, silly me for not knowing. I tried to explain that his experience and mine were different. I was actually trying to explain I was from Georgia and they were making me homesick  but all I got in response was “I’m from Dublin and that doesn’t mean I know Bono!” Whatever, dude.

Luckily the band re-emerged with a couple of songs, rounding off the night absolutely perfectly with the party classic that is “Rock Lobster” and the excellent “Planet Claire.”

While I can’t say there were not a few they missed out I’d have rather heard instead of newer tracks, the gig was everything I expected and more than I’d hoped for. After going on 30 years the songs don’t sound remotely dated and the band seem as vibrant and enthusiastic as ever. If they can keep this up for the next 30 years I’ll be a happy girl.

The B-52’s – Planet Claire

The B-52’s – Hot Corner

Posted by JustHipper on 23rd July 2008 at 12:18 am | comments (8)
File under Gig Reviews, manchester academy 1, manchester gigs, mp3, the b-52's.

The Indie Cred Manchester Gig Guide: 21st – 27th July 2008

The B-52'sJust a couple of particularly noteworthy gigs this week, both of which we shall be attending and reporting on in due course. First up is The B-52’s who play the Academy on Tuesday. In the admittedly small list of bands I haven’t seen live but really want to, The B-52’s are riding high near the top so I’m very excited about this. Their classic eponymous debut was one of the first albums my brother and I ever bought way back in 1979 and it still sounds as good today as it did back then. Their latest, Funplex, didn’t really grab me on my one and only listen but I’m sure they’ll bring out “Rock Lobster” and “Planet Claire” and hopefully find some room for “Quiche Lorraine” and “Wig”. There are still tickets available, although £30 is probably a bit steep for the casual observer.

On Thursday Daniel Johnston and Friends play New Century Hall. Now, we’ve never really got all the fuss about Daniel Johnston but that’s maybe because we’ve never really gone out of our way to listen to him. What really attracted us to this gig the list of “friends” that are accompanying, and also supporting, him for the evening, which includes Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Scout Niblett, James McNew of Yo La Tengo and Jad Fair. That we’ll be able to see all of these hopefully play some of their own stuff, as well as getting a chance to give Daniel Johnston a proper listen, should make this an interesting, and highly rewarding, evening.

On Friday Peterloo Massacre play Centro in the Northern Quarter. On a recent visit to Piccadilly Records I was accosted by a member of Peterloo Massacre who had set up a CD player with headphones at the front of the shop and was inviting unsuspecting punters to give the band’s new EP a couple of minutes of their time. It sounded pretty good, if I recall, “a bit like Portishead,” I informed him. “We get a lot of that,” he replied. I forgot about the whole encounter until now but I remember telling him that I’ll check them out should they play any local gigs in the future. I’m not sure if I’ll keep my word, but I’ll see how I feel on the night.

Posted by The Ledge on 21st July 2008 at 12:20 am | comments (7)
File under daniel johnston, gig guide, manchester gigs, the b-52's.

Gig Review: Death Cab For Cutie, Manchester Apollo, 16th July 2008

Unless Death Cab For Cutie amaze us with some future album, tonight’s gig was the last time I will ever pay money to see them play live. Never mind that the new album has all the depth of a wading pool, is bland, full of soppy love songs lacking the quirky lyricism of albums past and all blends together, DCFC crowds have simply become unbearable.

Gigs at the Apollo, 90% of the time anyway, are bad enough, but tonight it was be there to be seen, not be there to hear a band. The four people stood in front of us really took the biscuit, however. To be fair, I was not in the mood to be in a crowd of people. T in the Park was amazing last weekend but it wore me out and I could do with a week of being by myself (except maybe for The Ledge). Neither The Ledge nor I was looking forward to this so we got down there late and stayed in the bar until the band were coming on stage when we made our way into the edge of the crowd where we could see but not get jostled. The first five songs were really good too. Then the talking started.

I won’t make out that it was just the people in front of us because it wasn’t. There was talking. And there was more talking. And even more talking. Where the last time we saw Death Cab I was bemused and disturbed that the average age of the crowd was around 16 yet they knew all the words to everything, this time the crowd knew a few tracks off Plans and not much else. The talking just went on and on. Not that The Ledge and I were silent, but we did keep it to between songs – I’d hate to spoil somebody else’s enjoyment of a gig just because I was not enjoying it myself.

When they started to play “Soul Meets Body,” however, the young blonde thing in front of us suddenly started squealing like a Westlife fan – “I know this one!” she screamed as loudly as she could, squealed a few more times and then talked through the rest of it. “Nice,” we though, “This is a good song.” Then they played “I Will Follow You Into the Dark. “OMG!” she screamed. “I’m so going to cry over this!” Then she hugged her boyfriend and talked through the rest. She wasn’t the only one. Half the crowd sang along, half talked along.

For the rest of the gig we had four people in front of us moving about constantly so I kept having to move to see and loads of yapping, squealing and jumping – none of which was remotely in response to the band. Why they didn’t decamp to the bar is beyond me as all four of them were pretty much behaving as if they were in a pub, not at a show for which the people around them had all paid around £20 a ticket.

During the encore, one of them rolled two cigarettes and made to light up. I’d had enough by this point and I leaned over and told her not to do it. She responded with “Ooh I was only joking! I know not to! Sorry!.” Yeah, ok, whatever.

So as the band were finishing their final song she walks over and leans in and says to me “I just wanted to apologise for making you think I was going to smoke cause i wasn’t.”

“That’s fine, so long as you didn’t.” I told her. “What you should be apologising for, however, is ruining our ability to hear the gig because you talked through the entire thing which is incredibly rude to be honest.”

A bit brutal, I know, but not deserving of the response I got. Oh yes, this little madam proceeded to tell me that she was not going to apologise for talking LOUDLY through the entire performance because she was – wait for it – bored. She didn’t care, it seems, that other people may not have been bored, and when I pointed out that I’d paid to hear the boring band – not her and her friends – I received a tirade about how I have “issues” and I am a seriously anti-social individual – all for wanting to hear the band.

Now, fair dues, I do have issues. And I do get annoyed easily in crowds. But, that’s still no excuse for someone to assume that just because they don’t want to watch something nobody cares. It’s no excuse for behaving like a total yahoo and yapping and squealing and stopping other people from getting to experience what they paid for – good or bad.

If you think the gig is shite and you want to talk – go to the bar.

I’m simply not standing for this anymore. It happened through all of Radiohead the other week and it happens nearly every time we’re not at the barrier at the Apollo. From now on, if you talk, you will hear about how much you’re pissing me off. It probably won’t do any good, but if it makes one person think about the people around them I will have won a small victory.

Gig-goers – help me out. Stop allowing people to behave like fucktards and stop being too scared to stand up for yourselves. If somebody is doing something you wouldn’t do because you know it’s annoying – TELL THEM! And if they don’t stop, tripping while walking back to your spot holding a full pint is pretty good revenge….

Posted by JustHipper on 16th July 2008 at 11:28 pm | comments (17)
File under Gig Reviews, Gig-goer of the Week, Rant, death cab for cutie, gig etiquette, manchester apollo, manchester gigs.

The Indie Cred Manchester Gig Guide: 7th-13th July 2008

Summer In The Park Festival
We’re saving all our gig-going energies for T In The Park next weekend but there’s much going on in Manchester this week with plenty of bands on the T bill doing the rounds.

On Tuesday, Interpol, who were a massive disappointment the last time we saw them at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, hit the Apollo with Ladytron in tow, while on Wednesday, Cardiff indie poppers The School play the Night & Day with an excellent support bill, including local bands Amida and the much-touted Cats In Paris, as well as the excellent Rosie Taylor Project. I’ve never heard of The School before but, from what I can hear on their Myspace page, they sound like they know their way around a Belle And Sebastian record or two. Also on Wednesday, Austin, Texas garage rockers-du-jour White Denim play the Roadhouse.

At the Roadhouse on Thursday are the excellent Jaguar Love, whose Take Me To The Sea album is an absolute joy to behold. Unfortunately we’ll be on our way up to Scotland by then so we’ll also miss the Transgressive Hot Summer Tour at the Night & Day on the same night which features Jeremy Warmsley, Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man and Liam Finn, among others. If neither of those tickle your fancy then get yourselves down to the King’s Arms in Salford for Simon Connor’s EP launch party which features support from The Bangs, who we highly recommend, and only costs £3 to get in to.

On Saturday and Sunday the inaugural Summer In The Park festival takes place at Platt Fields. Manchester needs a new festival to fill the considerable void left by the disappearance of D:Percussion from the schedules and Summer In The Park looks like it might just fit the bill. It’s billed as a food and drink festival so while there’s an excellent music line-up, including I Am Kloot, The Earlies, Magic Arm, Liam Frost, Stephen Fretwell, Lucy And The Caterpillar, The Bottomfeeders and Gideon Conn, some of the city’s finest eating establishments will be setting up shop for the weekend, including Grill On The Alley, MosoMoso, The Northern Quarter Restaurant, Tampopo, Evuna, Chaophraya and Carluccio’s, to name but a few. It’s £9 for a day ticket and £17 for a weekend pass and it almost makes me wish that we weren’t heading up to Scotland this weekend. Let’s just hope the weather holds out for all of us.

Posted by The Ledge on 6th July 2008 at 10:47 pm | comments (2)
File under Uncategorized, gig guide, gigs, interpol, manchester gigs, simon connor, summer in the park, the bangs.

The Indie Credential Gig Guide: 30th June – 6th July 2008

The Cave Singers
We’ll be taking it a bit easier this coming week after this weekend’s exertions, details of which should be up in review form in the next seven days or so. Still, it’s another pretty good week for gigs in Manchester.

Aussie electro poppers Cut Copy play the Night & Day on Monday night while on Tuesday we’ll be at the same venue to see the excellent Cave Singers, whose Invitation Songs album is one of our favourites of the year so far. Also on Tuesday you’ve got the pick of the Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Academy 2, Leeds psyche rockers The Music at the Academy and Athens, Georgia garage rockers The Whigs at the Roadhouse.

On Wednesday Beck pops up at the Apollo, presumably pushing his forthcoming Modern Guilt long player. We wouldn’t have minded going but tickets were somewhere around the £45 mark, which is just ridiculous. It’s most probably sold out anyway, and the excellent Yeasayer are in support so it will probably be a very good night.

Hoary old new wave rockers the New York Dolls are at the Academy 3 on Thursday. We saw them at the Move Festival a couple of years and weren’t too impressed. Friday sees Why? play the Roadhouse in a gig rearranged from early June after illness put paid to their whole UK tour. Also, Idlewild play the Ruby Lounge where they’ll be supporting themselves with a 30 minute acoustic set before playing a full set of b-sides and rarities. For die-hard fans only, then, and probably well sold out.

Not a great deal going on next weekend, however, although Air Cav launch their new single, the double A-side “Embers/Picking At The Bones”, at Urbis on Saturday night with support from the likes of The Answering Machine and Rochelle. It’s £6 to get in and the bands start at 9pm.

Posted by The Ledge on 29th June 2008 at 4:05 pm | comments (5)
File under gig guide, gigs, manchester gigs, the cave singers.

The Indie Credential Gig Guide: 23rd-29th June 2008

My Bloody ValentineThere doesn’t seem to be a great deal going on at the start of this week but the weekend is going to be a bit special, I think.

Goldfrapp play the Bridgewater Hall on Monday night, which strikes me as an odd choice of venue for their dancey electronica, but what do I know?

On Tuesday punk prog noiseniks Rolo Tomassi play the Roadhouse, but we’ll be saving what’s left of our hearing for the weekend, which kicks off with the brilliant My Morning Jacket pushing their recent, and divisive, long player, Evil Urges, at the Academy 2 on Friday night. Whatever you think of the album – I love it while JustHipper isn’t too impressed by the first half – MMJ are an incredible live act and this is not to be missed.

On Saturday we’ll be witnessing the return of pioneering shoegazers My Bloody Valentine, who, like Leonard Cohen last week, return after a 15 year haitus to bring their blissful, ear-shattering racket to the Apollo. Also on Saturday, The Fall play the Academy 2 with John Cooper Clarke in support. My Bloody Valentine are at the Apollo again on Sunday but we’ll be at Old Trafford, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club, where Radiohead will doubtless bring the week to a glorious conclusion.

Posted by The Ledge on 22nd June 2008 at 10:46 pm | comments (5)
File under gig guide, manchester gigs.