Archive for October, 2008

The Manchester Gig Guide: 27th October – 2nd November 2008

Noah And The Whale have scored a quite surprising amount of chart success in recent months so it’s a surprise that they’re playing a vanue as small as the Academy 3 on Monday night. It’s not surprising that it’s sold out, though, and with Nitin Sawhney the Academy 2 on the same night it looks like the Academy is just a step too far at this point in their short career. On the same night, French ambient post-rockers M83 play the Ruby Lounge and Cheeky Cheeky and the Nosebleeds are on at the Roadhouse. I just looked at their Myspace and thought, “Hey, they look a bit like The Young Knives, but with more members”. Then I listened and lo and behold…

There’s an very good bill at the Deaf Institute on Tuesday where Drowned In Sound put on Wild Beasts with support from the excellent Cats In Paris and with members of the recently-split Long Blondes on the decks. On Wednesday we’ve got The Walkmen at the Academy 3, Jackie-O Moherfucker at the King’s Arms in Salford and Canadian country rockers The Sadies at the Night & Day.

Elbow return to the Apollo due to popular demand on Thursday while WOTGODFORGOT put on A.R.E. Weapons (remember them? thought not) at Big Hands on Oxford Road. Also at the Apollo on Saturday are Hot Chip which will probably be a far more satisfactory experience than the Icicle Works karaoke that Ian McNabb will no doubt be bringing to the Academy 3 for a mere £15 a head.

Posted by The Ledge on 26th October 2008 at 9:00 am | comments (5)
File under Uncategorized.

The Manchester Gig Guide: 20th-26th October 2008

There’s plenty more to be going on with in Manchester this week with Rilo Kiley’s flame-haired indie siren Jenny Lewis on solo duty at the Academy 3 on Monday. On Tuesday there’s Vampire Weekend at the Academy with support from Wild Beasts while downstairs at the Club Academy there seems to be a hangover from the weekend’s Beepfest going on with Jim Noir, The Beep Seals, Gideon Conn and Magic Arm performing. And it costs nowt to get in, with entry being on a strictly first come, first served basis.

On Wednesday the Manchester Blog Awards are taking place at Matt and Phred’s on Tibb Street and we’ll try our best to get down there on time (we weren’t nominated – boooo!) ‘cos we’ll be at the Academy 3 for the Shred Yr Face tour featuring Times New Viking, No Age and Los Campesinos! It’s going to be very noisy but we’ll probably duck out after openers, the excellent TNV, to make a dash for the awards, the nominations for which can be found at The Manchizzle. On the same night at the Deaf Institute the wonderful young Swedes Those Dancing Days will be holding court with Joy Formidable in support. There’s plenty more where that came from with Tilly and the Wall and Slow Club at the Club Academy and Aimee Mann at the Academy. A busy night, then.

On Thursday there’s a major clash with Mogwai at the Academy and Port O’Brien at the Night & Day. As good as The Hawk Is Howling is, I think I’m going to plump for the Night & Day as Port O’Brien’s debut All We Could Do Was Sing is one of my favourite albums this year and I’ve seen Mogwai many times before anyway. Also on Thursday, Elbow, buoyed by their recent, and much deserved, Mercury Prize success, play the first of two nights at the Apollo.

On Friday you can catch local electro-poppers and parentheses botherers (We Are) Performance at the Deaf Institute while the Aftershow at Moho Live brings us the likes of The Maybes?, The Old Romantic Killer Band, The Orchids, Pushbike Army and The Faraways.

On Saturday, Black Kids play the Warehouse Project and on Sunday you can see The Datsuns at the Night & Day or Mystery Jets at the Academy 2, perhaps.

Posted by The Ledge on 20th October 2008 at 12:02 am | comments (10)
File under gig guide,manchester gigs.

My Morning Jacket Cancel European Tour

There must be something about October because this time last year The Decemberists cancelled two tours. Then it was The Hold Steady a couple of weeks ago and now, it seems, My Morning Jacket won’t be gracing our shores with their presence, due to an injury.

Rough Trade emailed the following statement from My Morning Jacket to the fans:

It is with great regret that we have to announce the cancellation of My Morning Jacket’s up-coming tour to Europe due to injuries suffered by Jim James in Iowa City. For the fans who have purchased tickets, we would like to extend our gratitude for your support and understanding. Our hope was to merely postpone the tour, but as our scheduling does not allow that to happen in the immediate future, we feel it is best to cancel this tour in hopes of re-scheduling at some point. We would also like to say ‘thank you’ to all the fans who have reached out to Jim with their well-wishes as we all hope for his speedy and full recovery.

We hope that Jim’s not done too much harm to himself and he has a speedy recovery.

We also hope bad news only ever travels in threes and this will be the last October gig cancellation because somebody’s sick or injured!

Posted by JustHipper on 16th October 2008 at 6:57 pm | comments (1)
File under cancelled shows,manchester gigs,my morning jacket,News.

The Manchester Gig Guide: 13th-19th October 2008

After the exertions of last week’s five night run of gigs we’re taking a well earned break this week, but, as usual, there’s still plenty of good things on. Not at the Academy on Monday, though, where the Kaiser Chiefs hawk their no doubt unremarkable new album, the name of which escapes me at the minute. At least they’ve got the far more interesting Late Of The Pier in support. The best bet for Monday is down at the Ruby Lounge where Hot Club de Paris are in action, supported by excellent Leeds popsters Sky Larkin. Also on Monday, electro-popper Esser is at the Night & Day.

On Tuesday there’s a bit of post-rock going on at the Night & Day with Texans This Will Destroy You being supported by Manchester’s own Day For Airstrikes. Belgian rockers dEUS are at the Academy 3 while Jeremy Walmsley plays two gigs: the first an under-18s only set at the Koffee Pot, starting at 6:00pm, followed by a strictly over-18s set around the corner at the Night & Day with support from Jay Jay Pistolet.

Wednesday sees Leeds’ I Concur play the Dry Bar and, after a quick listen to a few of their tracks on last.fm, I must admit they sound pretty damn good. Also, on what is a busy night, The Paddingtons play the Roadhouse, the frankly shit Towers Of London are at the Academy 3 while Haven, a band who disappeared without trace, and without anyone even noticing, back in 2001, come back to haunt us with their mediocre Britrock at the Night & Day.

On Thursday Manc prog rockers Oceansize begin a three day residency at the Roadhouse in celebration of their 10th anniversary while Blood Red Shoes are at the Academy 3 with Rolo Tomassi in tow. On Friday another Leeds band, The Sugars, play Moho Live. 

Saturday is very busy with local journalist, author, punk rocker and season ticket holder at Wagamama in Spinningfields (well, he’s always there waiting for his takeaway when we go in) John Robb bringing Goldblade to the Academy 3. Puressence, another band on the comeback trail, play the Academy with original support band Marion now replaced by Exit Calm after singer Jaime went down with pneumonia last week. Marion are back as well! WTF! Also, Dizzee Rascal plays the Warehouse Project but the best bill of the night is surely at the Deaf Institute for Beepfest which goes from 3pm to 3am and has Jim Noir, Magic Arm, The Beep Seals, The Answering Machine and many more spread over two stages. Plus there’s a literary stage hosted by the Institute’s regular lit night “No Point In Not Being Friends” which promises readings, poetry, comedy and acoustic sets from some of the bands playing the main stages.

Posted by The Ledge on 12th October 2008 at 9:07 pm | comments (28)
File under gig guide,manchester gigs.

Gig Review: Tindersticks @ Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 4th October 2008

Tindersticks‘ gig at the Bridgewater Hall last Saturday night was something of a renaissance for the band after years of what seemed like a steady decline in their popularity and the quality and quantity of their output. I can barely remember the last time I saw them at the Academy 2 in 2001 and if JustHipper hadn’t reminded me about that gig I would have been telling you that the last time I saw them was Glastonbury 1999.

Hopefully my memory will play similar tricks if I ever attempt to recall seeing support act Sara Lowes at any point in the future. I was initially impressed that a young, relatively unknown singer-songwriter would turn up with a seven-strong backing band in place but soon grew weary of her unremarkable and completely forgettable made-for-Radio 2 fare. We headed back to the bar after four songs and stood next to the great Guy Garvey as we ordered our drinks. He is a big bloke, in real life.

I won’t be forgetting the Tindersticks’ performance in a hurry. The Bridgewater Hall is a perfect venue for their brooding, melancholy, orchestral pop and the fact that they had a mini-orchestra playing with them was a major plus point. Their new album, The Hungry Saw, is a return to the sort of form they were in in their late nineties heyday and on the night they played the whole album (with the unexplained exception of “Mother Dear”), in order but in two parts with a bunch of oldies in between. They did a similar thing at Glastonbury in 1999 when they played the yet-to-be-released Simple Pleasures in its entirety. The first seven album tracks were played to perfection and it was the three instrumentals that really stood out from the rest. Where they tend to pass by with little more than a passing wave when listening to the album, live, and with the benefit of being able to see the orchestra play their component parts, they unravelled to reveal intricate, beautiful melodies that had previously gone unnoticed.

After the thoroughly entertaining “The Organist Entertains”, the soulful “Dying Slowly”, from 2001’s Can Our Love… ushered in a collection of older songs as well as a Townes Van Zandt cover (sadly not “Kathleen”). There were three songs in a row from their classic eponymous second album including “Travelling Light” which, despite being my favourite Tinders track, was the biggest disappointment of the night. It’s a song that really only works as a duet and with Stuart Staples singing it alone and changing the words so that each line was from his own standpoint it fell a little flat, despite the best efforts of the string section. “Sleepy Song” followed and instantly made up for it with the orchestra again excelling with its swells of strings and brass.

“The Hungry Saw” saw most of the orchestra turning their hands to percussion while “Boobar Come Back To Me”, the highlight of the new album, built from its quiet beginnings to a resounding crescendo. Stuart Staples, with hair cropped and sculpted sideburns, has aged very well and his voice hasn’t changed at all – for me it was always more rich, tender baritone than Vic Reeves club singer. He was on fine form all night, never more so than on “All The Love”, the slow burning, mournful lament that was the high point of the evening as far as I’m concerned.

The encore began with their cover of “If You’re Looking For A Way Out”, a song that at first seemed an unlikely choice of cover but that fitted right in with the downbeat soul of Simple Pleasures and that they have now made their own. The lively Spanish guitar flourishes and Mariachi horns of “Her” brought Calexico to mind and the sparse “The Not Knowing” brought matters to a sombre close. This was a tremendous return for one of my favourite bands of the nineties and Alzheimer’s will have set in by the time I forget this one.

Tindersticks – All The Love

Tindersticks – Travelling Light

Tindersticks – The Not Knowing

Posted by The Ledge on 11th October 2008 at 7:19 pm | comments (7)
File under bridgewater hall,Gig Reviews,mp3,Reviews,tindersticks.

Gig Review: Foals @ Manchester Academy, 8th October 2008

When we first saw Foals, just over a year ago, they amazed us with the sheer force of their delivery. The set was energetic and chaotic while still delivering loads of great hooks and dance beats. We expected great things from  the album and were disappointed at how clean and polished it sounded – none of the urgency or energy came across in the first couple of listens. So, I filed it away as a minor disappointment and didn’t think much of it until The Ledge told me he had secured a pair of tickets to see Foals play Manchester Academy 1.

I thought I should get the album back out and listen to it again a bit more closely. Clearly my original opinion had been coloured by the live experience which was intense and unexpected. While the second half of the album does lose focus and meander a bit and while I still think the production could have done with giving it a rougher edge, the first half of the album is actually very good. So by the time we headed down to the gig I was looking forward to it, in a fifth-gig-in-five-nights-dead-on-my-feet sort of way.

Thankfully we discovered we had access to the balcony which turned out to be a mixed blessing. It afforded us a great view of the gig without the usual crowd hassles and it kept us from having to wade into a giant mosh pit – which looked like good fun, but we were far too exhausted from the previous four days of activity. The problem is, our vantage point also meant we captured none of the atmosphere of the crowd, and there seemed to be loads of it as the moshers during opener Holy Fuck certainly seemed to be going for it.

Holy Fuck were quite intriguing for about 15 minutes as I couldn’t tell whether they wanted to be a rock-oriented dance band or whether they were trying to produce catchy math rock similar to Battles. Ultimately, over a 45 minute set they were a little boring. I think you’d probably have to be dancing to really listen to them for very long. I suppose they played that long because Dananananaykroyd, also meant to be on the bill, had cancelled at the last minute.

Foals received a riotous reception from the crowd on the floor, and while I can’t fault the quality of their performance, I can’t help but feel that they have yet to fully make the transition from a band playing tiny toilet venues to a band capable of filling a large hall full of 2,000 screaming teenagers. My two favourite tracks off the album, “The French Open” and “Cassius” sounded fabulous, and I was certainly humming along to the likes of “Olympic Airways” and “Electric Bloom” but on the whole the performance seemed far more withdrawn and less chaotic than previously and the band seemed not to know what to do with the crowd.

Many of the album tracks didn’t venture far from their polished album versions and much of what really impressed me about the previous gig just wasn’t there or simply didn’t translate well in the larger venue. To be fair, they had opened up a bit by the end and some stage diving occurred, but the intensity and anarchic atmosphere from the Night & Day had been replaced by what seemed to be a band not entirely sure of themselves.

Foals performance shouldn’t have surprised me. I spent much of the gig thinking that actually it felt a bit like watching the awkward performance delivered by Bloc Party the first time they played Manchester Academy 1 back in April 2005 only a few short months after playing a blinder at the Night & Day on Halloween night 2004 (and only a few short months before The Indie Credential came into being). I believe I expressed similar sentiments about Editors at Manchester Academy also back in 2005.

I suppose it is simply the nature of the music industry in 2008 that young bands are finding themselves becoming popular very quickly without time to really find their feet. I would also guess that they will learn to adjust their live shows over time and learn to fill venues the size of the Academy and bigger so perhaps next time we can stand in the balcony and get properly knocked off our feet.

Foals – The French Open

Foals – Electric Bloom

Posted by JustHipper on 9th October 2008 at 5:38 pm | comments (4)
File under foals,Gig Reviews,manchester academy 1,manchester gigs,mp3.

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 Review: In the City, Manchester, Sunday, 5th October 2008

Per usual, we were stumped about where to begin with In the City this year. The Ledge initially wanted to check out The Magic Arm at the Night & Day, but I had it on good authority that at his Monday gig at Piccadilly Records he’s got My Side of the Mountain as his backing band. Apart from being some of the nicest guys in Manchester, they’re also shit-hot musicians, and apparently they were brilliant with him at Glastonbury, so we opted instead for Simon Connor at The Bay Horse, figuring we’ll watch The Magic Arm tomorrow instead.

We made a good choice as Simon was lovely. His melancholic singer-songwriter fare is a notch above the norm. Lyrically he writes very vivid vignettes, although he would benefit from having a backing band with him on stage. It’s a shame he was on so early, at 4pm, as he deserved a bigger audience as he sounded lovely. Having become familiar with some of his songs, particularly the tracks off the Seaside Surprise EP, I was really captivated by his performance.

Simon was followed swiftly by a folk duo called Butler-Williams who were funny and self-deprecating and positively lovely. They used guitars, odd percussion and a theramin to great effect in their musical tales of everyday. Apparently their EP has been record of the week at Piccadilly Records recently and we could definitely see why.

The last act we watched at the Bay Horse was called Kev Fox and he sounded like his main influence is Doves first album. He has an absolutely massive voice which at times was so powerful that it was breathtaking and startling and we really enjoyed his very short set of moody musical landscapes.

From the Bay Horse we moved onto Cellar Vie, which I thought was a gentleman’s club, as I pass it twice a day. We caught the end of The Fire and I who I thought sounded like rather boring, bogstandard rock and The Ledge thought had potential. The band on after them, however, Isosceles, came on stage with a bang and were enjoyable protoges of the angular art pop of Young Knives and Franz Ferdinand. There was an amusing moment at the end where the young scenesters played a song called “Kitsch Bitch” which was mocking, erm, scenesters. Well done.

Unexpectedly, Silverclub really blew us away almost immediately, coming on stage looking decidedly unassuming and producing, with just a singer/guitarist and a bassist, quite a big sound which was heavily influenced by The Happy Mondays and New Order – but in the best way possible. We’d never heard of them before but I don’t know how. We’ll certainly be looking out for them in future.

Finally, we stuck around just long enough to watch To The Bones, who turned out to be a raucous, hairy rock band who screamed a lot, jumped around the stage and then jumped around the crowd. The singer poured beer in his own hair before rolling around on the ground a bit. They were highly enjoyable and very skilled at what they do.

So, day 1 of In the City has been a success and we’re looking forward to another couple of days of new bands!

Posted by JustHipper on 5th October 2008 at 10:56 pm | comments (4)
File under Gig Reviews,manchester gigs.

The Hold Steady Reschedule UK Tour for December

According to an email from Rough Trade, The Hold Steady have rescheduled their UK tour for December. Hurrah!

October dates were cancelled when guitarist Tad Kubler contracted Pancreatitis (ouch!), but he’s on the mend and they’re coming back once they’ve completed the rounds in North America. Here’s the dates:

  • 7-Dec Sheffield Leadmill
  • 8-Dec Oxford Academy
  • 9-Dec Nottingham Rock City
  • 10-Dec Manchester Academy
  • 12-Dec Bristol Anson Rooms
  • 14-Dec Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
  • 15-Dec Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
  • 17-Dec London Roundhouse
  • 18-Dec Glasgow Glasgow SECC
  • 20-Dec Dublin The O2
  • 21-Dec Belfast Odyssey Arena

And just for fun, so you too can celebrate, a couple of songs:

The Hold Steady – Knuckles

The Hold Steady – Killer Parties

Posted by JustHipper on 4th October 2008 at 3:15 pm | comments (0)
File under mp3,News,the hold steady.