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!

4 Responses to “Gig Review: In the City, Manchester, Sunday, 5th October 2008”

  • Tim Says:

    I’ve got no idea how you keep up with all these bands. There are so many, and they all sound really good.

    Would it be possible to call a moratorium for, say, 12 months, whilst the slower ones among us try to catch up? Please?

  • The Ledge Says:

    Yes Tim, It has been a bit hectic lately, but after Wednesday I don’t think we’ve got a gig for almost 2 weeks. Can’t wait for the weekend when we can put our feet up for a couple of days. The way I feel at the moment, 12 months off would not be such a bad thing. Except it would be a bad thing, thinking about it.

  • JustHipper Says:

    I’d settle for 12 hours off at this point. Anybody wants to write some guest posts while we sun ourselves and sleep, feel free….

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