Gig Review: Light Syndicate @ Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, 8th February 2008

Light Syndicate @ Sacred Trinity Church, SalfordA couple of years ago we blogged a bit about a local band called Nephew. We saw them live a few times and they were great, and they also released an EP called Our Cold War which was very good indeed. It all went a bit quiet on the Nephew front last year but they have now re-emerged as the much more Google-friendly Light Syndicate and last week played in the ornate but cosy surroundings of Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church.

First to take the stage on the night was local singer-songwriter Simon Connor who did a decent job and managed to keep most of the assembled throng interested in his folksy pop. It was above-average singer-songwriter fare and his guitar playing was excellent throughout. He even busted out the ubiquitous looping pedal on his final song, building up layer upon layer of guitar to quite brilliant effect.

The Bangs @ Sacred Trinity Church, SalfordThe Bangs were a pleasant surprise, not least because their rather unimaginative name conjured up the image of a bunch of ladrock dullards. Things could not have been further from the truth as The Bangs are a three piece with a bloke on drums and a couple of very cool and slightly nervous looking young girls in their indie best sharing guitar, bass and vocal duties. And they were great, mixing up indie pop with grungey rock and taking me back to the early 90s and the likes of The Breeders and Throwing Muses, as well as some of those Riot Grrrl bands. Despite these influences, they were clearly intent on doing their own thing and were obviously enjoying themselves. What really impressed me was the way they used their guitars, picking out melodies on both guitar and bass that dovetailed together quite beautifully. We’ll definitely be watching out for The Bangs in the future; they could go on to break a thousand indie boy hearts.

Light Syndicate @ Sacred Trinity Church, SalfordLight Syndicate have lost their violinist since last we saw them and so are down to a mean, lean four piece. This is a shame because he brought a lot to their sound, especially to the post-rock aspect of it, although without him they sound more compact and more focused. They have finished recording their long-awaited (by us, anyway) debut album and almost all of the night’s set was taken up by tracks from it. The church, with its high ceilings, chandeliers and huge stained-glass windows, was a great setting for their atmospheric rock. New songs like “Friday Night On Peter St.” and “87654” might betray an obvious Radiohead influence but they sounded excellent nonetheless. Old favourite “High Rise Buildings” from their EP (and re-recorded for the new album) sounded as good as ever with the missing violinist’s parts remaining intact thanks to the wonders of modern technology. The album’s title track, “Last In Line”, was the highlight of a fine set with its blissful instrumental coda, complete with melodica solo, filling every corner of the room.

They ended with a new song, “Super Tuesday”, which had a rather funky bassline and another lengthy instrumental coda that took the song well past the 10 minute mark. It is during these long instrumental sections that the band’s excellent rhythm section come into their own, laying down a solid groove and allowing guitar and keyboards the freedom to soar into the sonic heavens. This was an impressive return to action and Light Syndicate have got a few more gigs lined up in the near future; check out their MySpace page for further details.

Light Syndicate – High Rise Buildings (album version)

Nephew – Secret Army (from the Our Cold War EP)

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