Sounds From The Other City – Review

Various Venues, Chapel Street, Salford

02/05/2010

By Simon Poole

I’ve queued up and got my wristband so I’m off to my first port of call for this mammoth day of live music. It’s now around four o’clock and I’m sat upstairs in The Old Pint Pot. It’s pretty quiet with just a handful of people hanging around, but just twenty minutes later when Dutch Uncles take to the stage the place is full. I’ve heard them a few times on the wireless and really wanted to see them live, and thankfully I’m impressed within seconds.

Their music has a real eighties indie feel to it, whilst at the same time not seeming to just emulate the sound of yesteryear. In the short set every track including the latest single ‘The Ink’ are finely structured to perfection. I’ll be making it a priority in the near future to see them again when I can get a full length set from them.

A quick jib over to The Angel Centre which on a normal day is a community centre promoting healthy living and hosting such things as knitting clubs. Already playing to crowd are Waiters, which is quite apt as the room is also a café which is serving homemade pasties and the like. I hang around long enough to hear their lo-fi almost shoegaze sound. I’m guessing they are still in a quite embryonic stage, as they seem rather ramshackle.

On the move again and I make my way into St.Philips church. I’m just in time to catch the last ten minutes of Jo Rose, and how I wish I had the arrived a little earlier. With the mixture of his soft tones and being in a place of worship, the audience are deathly quiet. The only sounds apart from those coming from the PA that can be heard are the fizzing of cans of beer being opened.

After a short break the delightful Jesca Hoop walks on stage and tells us it’s going to be a stripped down set with just her and friend Becky accompanying with the backing vocals. I’ve been gagging to see her live for a while now, but unfortunately missed out each time due to prior engagements.

She opens with ‘Murder Of Birds’ and I’m literally spellbound and the only way I can describe the sound of the guitar and her vocals is beautiful. As she plays ‘Whispering Light’ and ‘For Dreams’ the whole place is hanging every lyric. It’s only during ‘Hunting my Dress’ that a few people at the rear can be heard chatting, but this is quickly nipped in the bud with a few well deserved shushes and by the time her set finishes I am truly smitten.

Back to The Angel now and I give a friend his first sample of Hotpants Romance. I tell him they are adoringly terrible and his reaction is that of amazement and asks if they are for real. After a few tracks I point out to him that even though he says they indeed terrible, he has not stopped grinning. My point is taken well and we head over to the New Oxford on Bexley Square for Frank Sidebottom.

For a cutting edge music event it would seem that Mr. Sidebottom has drawn a huge crowd, as it is now a case of one in one out. I manage to breathe in and squeeze myself into the tiny back room for his set. His popularity seems to have risen again of late and there are people pressed up against the windows to try and catch his set.

For my final live act tonight I’ve been recommended Egyptian Hip Hop. Once again this is another band I’ve heard on the radio but never seen live. The recommendation is well deserved and even though I’m pressed up against one of the huge speakers and being half deafened, I’m loving the energy of the entire set. Definitely one of those bands that have to be seen live to be appreciated fully.

The night is drawing in now and I head over to Islington Mill for a short while, but it’s rammed, so I head over the Black Lion to let the people behind club night Bollox see me through the remainder of my night.

It’s been a class day and night out and even though it niggles me that I’ve missed out on lots of other live acts, my thirst for good music has been well and truly quenched.

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