Category Archives: Live

Follakzoid live at Soup Kitchen 18.05.2017

Follakzoid are the real deal.

Chile’s finest krautrock band rolled into Manchester as part of their tour and played a sold out Soup Kitchen last night.

The set starts with a simple repetitive bleeping of ants-in-your-pants electronics, to start the rhythm going in your head and cast aside the outside world. When the rhythm section finally kicks in you’re already nodding your head, you’re already in the zone. Follakzoid are slave to the groove. They have melded their motorik pulse beat to a dance ethos, and like, Radar Men From The Moon, have arrived at a point where psychedelic meets trance. This is the purest distillation of dance music. Noise distilled to its simplest essence, acquiring a raw brutality on the way. 10 minutes later and you’re drunk on the music, grinning inanely. You keep expecting the song to come to an end, for the fun to stop, but it keeps going, understanding that enjoyment should never be curtailed. When it does wind down you’re dumbstruck.

The drumming makes a massive difference. Most motoric drumming is clipped, subtle and smooth, ready for the autobahn. This is tribal and sweaty. Here is a drummer who powers through the song. He’s like the guy who would beat the rhythm in a Sunday afternoon movie when the hero has been sold into slavery and forced into the bottom of a galleon.

The bass is a huge rubbery twang, so visceral you can almost see the air moving in waves. It’s a lot like Peter Hook’s circa Closer.

This leaves space for the guitar, which adds decoration. Sometimes it’s the oddest reggae style scratches, other times impenetrable squalls of pedal abuse. Strange sharp noises resound.

Follakzoid played 3 songs in what could have been 50 minutes. It could have been a couple of days, maybe a week. Time became irrelevant. Who cares about time when you’re throwing shapes to the psychedelic equivalent of The Shamen?

Groove as pleasure.

https://follakzoid.bandcamp.com

Stockport Shaken by Earthquake

The denizens of Stockport were left shaken on Friday night following a freak earthquake in the town. The tremor was described as a “bass heavy rumble” that shook window panes in their frames and dislodged chimneys.

Professor Tim Flangerhanger from The Institute Of Shaky Ground stated in a press release:

“The quake was recorded on the evening of the 23rd March 2017 in the vicinity of The Seven Miles Out venue. We’re not entirely sure what caused this bizarre phenomena but it sounded heavy and full of dread, man”

As to the source of the incident, rumours are now circulating about the presence of space-rock leviathans Dead Sea Apes, who were reportedly active in the area. This band, known for their bleak soundscapes that you can nod your head to, are a prolific band with a new album entitled The Sixth Side Of The Pentagon, featuring guest vocal performances from artist and writer Adam Stone. The new album sees Dead Sea Apes focusing on a new dub orientated angle. Also, the climax of the earthquake reportedly resembled fan favourite ‘Wolf Of The Bees’.

Jim, a Schnauzer, owned by a Mr Savage of Dead Sea Apes confirmed that he was not taken for walkies on Friday night and his owner was seen leaving the house with “all his pedals”.

It would appear that the mystery may be solved…

https://deadseaapes.bandcamp.com/album/sixth-side-of-the-pentagon

Live: Dead Sea Apes and Thought Forms 22-02-2017

In the cobwebby underworld of Soup Kitchen, two bands were performing to enliven our Wednesday nights with some sonic adventures.

First up it’s one of Manchester’s most popular support acts, the mighty Dead Sea Apes. It’s been a while since I’ve since the Stalybridge boys…

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Brett’s astral-plane guitar spits vapour trails, but within such gleeful noise making he finds time to fire off flinty post-punk rhythms and spurts of energy. Here is a man (who owns a Schnauzer) torn between the urge to soundtrack slow-time battle cruisers with the urge to launch into catchy, accessible riffology. He seems like an extrapolated Will Sergeant.

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Music this stately and grand can often be inert and rigid, but thankfully Dead Sea Apes’s rhythm section is what sets them apart from the hordes of heavy-ish space rock bands that drift the broad plains of bandcamp. Chris’ drumming is constantly scurrying and fizzing with a fiery intensity; Satan’s jazz drummer. Nick’s bass is fluid and serpentine, wrapping its way round the other instruments and occasionally taking point. Even when the music is slow you can nod your head to it, and when the engines fire up it’s bristling with a pent-up groove-energy. Seeing these two locked together leads to the conclusion that this is in fact an extreme funk outfit. No, really.

Then it hits: Dead Sea Apes are a post-rock / funk band. You didn’t see that one coming did you?
Then it’s Thought Forms, who were unfamiliar to these ears.

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The overall impression is a Krautrock sense of freedom: five musos in black flitting across genres as they see fit. Their music constantly shifts: at times a sun-baked remorse, at other times clipping along with a motoric pulse. They often ripple with a Sonic Youth propulsion. The guitars are stringent and the drums sporadically burst into bombastic blocks that bring us nearer to metal. They switch from rhythmic to fractured with alarming ease. This is a band confident enough to end the set with an ambient soundscape of eastern drones and guitar experimentation.

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https://deadseaapes.bandcamp.com

https://thoughtforms.bandcamp.com

Live – Control Of The Going 17.09.2016

Whitehall chiefs had dispatched me to the North for a progress report on Control Of The Going, one of Manchester’s rising psych stars. On the way, a gang of ski assassins tried to ambush me outside Birmingham, but a few blasts from the machine guns mounted on the Aston Martin put pay to them. The location was Soup Kitchen in Manchester’s hipster hotspot The Northern Quarter. After dispatching a few ninja’s and cleaning the blood of my tuxedo, I entered the concrete fallout bunker that doubles as a music venue. They’re fooling no-one, when the bomb drops that’s the place to be.

Control of The Going were headline act and I am pleased to report the year they have spent in the field has shown startling progress.

With three guitars, keys, rhythm section and vocals it has been easy for individuals to be lost in the mix or even to sound as if instruments were jostling against each other for attention. Now though, Control of The Going are managing to get all their instruments to blend together into a whole. They’re not yet at the kind of unity that Helicon achieve, but they’re getting there.

The set was a laid back collection of groovy psych numbers in the vein of their heroes, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, culminating in the cosmic jangle of ‘Star’ and ending with ‘She’ which starts as classic pop before hitting the gas and shooting to a breakneck finish. It’s a good song to end with as the band clear enjoys accelerating through the gears. These kind of tempo changes really help them and taking more trips into the fast lane would certainly help.

Matt’s drumming is just right: vigorous without being overpowering and flashy without being twattish. Moreover, the whole band are clearly now comfortable both on stage and off, they’ve always been happy to mingle and chat with the punters but they look totally at ease on stage now. Liam wears a hat that could only belong to a frontman and happy to take on the focus that such a mighty hat attracts.

The gig, the first monthly psych night organised by Scruff Of The Neck Records was a success, with a healthy crowd and an attractive line up of bands for a fiver. It finished early too, which meant I could hunt down that former KGB operative that now lives in a rented room in Whalley Range. Luckily, that teeth floss that doubles as garrotte came in most handy and I left the assailant face down in the washing up.

With the wheels of the Aston screeching, it was time for the next adventure.

Secret spy images attached:

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Hey Bulldog and Sulk live

Three bands and a club night for £5? That’s pretty good value from Night & Day Cafe. Mind you, the booze is expensive, so swings and roundabouts.

HEY BULLDOG

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I sadly missed Inland Taipan but arrived just in time to see another incendiary set from Hey Bulldog.

There’s a camp that believes that OctopusBen is the best drummer in Manchester. If that isn’t reason enough to go see them, he’s one-third of the city’s premier power trio. Joining him is Matt, whose snuffling bass is a huge foundation stone and Rob on guitar who knows how to make a Strat scream and purr. Watching his fingers dance up and down the neck of the guitar during ‘Divide And Conquer’ is further proof that the guitarist is the 21st century gunslinger.

Their recent gig with Moon Duo proves they’re one of the best support bands around, wrapping crowds round their fingers. Go see ’em, get wrapped!

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SULK

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Admittedly, I’d never heard of SULK, but for the duration of their hedonistic set I was transported to the GMEX circa 1992. Despite having a guitarist who fires beautiful curlicues of psych notes, when SULK lock together they have grooves straight from the ‘Sally Cinnamon’ school.

They obviously get stacks of comparisons with Britpop, though I feel this is mainly due to the presence of a good old-fashioned frontman. Jon Sutcliffe’s got tons of Ian Brown and Tim Burgess swagger, plus a measure of Tom Hingley stage presence. They’re also retro in having good punchy chorus’ to get everyone fired up.

SULK already feel like the complete package and are a band ready for big, big rooms. Go se ’em, get dancing!

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https://heybulldog.bandcamp.com

https://sulk-uk.bandcamp.com/album/no-illusions

The Maitlands: The Last Gang In Town

Maitlands frontman Carl Ingram was once described as “Manchester’s answer to Mark E Smith”… a particularly dopey bit of journalism considering Manchester already has a Mark E Smith, thank you very much. You can see where the deluded hack was coming from though, Carl does have a vague Mark E Smith quality in that he is clearly very conformable on a stage. That and he regularly assaults his musicians to instil discipline*. Witty and at ease he comes out with plenty of between song #banter (ick) such as: “If you can all imagine a great big sign saying ‘The Maitlands’ behind me, that would be helpful as it would save me £80 on a sign”.

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The Maitlands played that cornerstone of Manchester cool, Gullivers last week. They spit out swarthy, crunching guitar music that lies somewhere between indolent punk and gravelly garage rock. There’s a gritty vibe that counterpoints the fey elements found in the concurrent psych revival. They embody the band from a place where life comes down hard (Puressence, 2007). I may be totally skeewiff but there’s a hint of the Happy Mondays minus the funk and Paul Oakenfold. The mix of meat-and-potatoes riffs, plus witty words is also reminiscent of Half Man Half Biscuit. The band is nicely laid back, particular plaudits going to Jonty on drums. The slinky Gang Of Four riff on ‘Arrested Development’ impresses. The last track, the brand new ‘A Few Choice Words’ broadened their horizons with lots of cheeky cowbell and a bass solo. More please!

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The Maitlands: the last gang in town.

*Not true

Watch The Maitlands in rehearsal. Put a shirt on, Jonty.

Amerikan Bear – S/T (2014)

Belting engine on this band… Listen to the way that Amerikan Bear motor through the second track on their S/T album, ‘Summer Day’. It’s so finely tuned, yet spewing raw masculinity that it summons images of a Ford Mustang in a cross Nevada chase. Outta the way, folks, Steve McQueen is gonna to blow away the bad guys!

This sound is 60s garage rock, delivered in a hot, sticky, hairy embrace.

Frontman Bear sings with rasping, Roky Erickson grunts. He sounds like a man so attuned to rock ‘n’ roll he doesn’t deign to use actual whole words, preferring noises. On the opener, ‘It Ain’t Free’ he yelps and shrieks, a caged and paranoid animal. It took Mark E Smith 30 years to eschew words entirely so fair play, man! I’m being disingenuous, Bear does of course have lyrics, but delivers the songs in such a rough-housing, window-breaking style the force he transmits is what’s memorable.

Click to listen

The guitars (Bear again & Omar) are high tension lines of surf, not a million miles away from the electric eel wranglings of Tim Pressley (Darker My Love & White Fence). The rhythm section (Nick & Andy) is a stoked rhythm and boogie machine, churning out bruising knuckle duster scraps.

From the strangulated soul of ‘The Messenger’ to the waspish garage rocker ‘Get A Grip On Yourself’ they kick it out hard and lascivious. ‘In My Dreams’ is a moonshine guzzling blast.

Amerikan Bear. They’ll rip yer face off.

Bandcamp & Facebook

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