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Kid British and the Action Manky

John Robb thinks this eclectic new band could be something special

Published on May 1st 2008.


Kid British and the Action Manky

The best new band in Manchester are on stage in the Roadhouse and they’re tearing it up.

In an eight song set they manage to play four dead cert hits and four other killer tunes in an exercise of pop perfection that is going to rewrite the blueprint of what a ‘Manchester band’ is. Kid British and the Action Manky are that good, and the coolest thing is, they don’t even know it!

The last Manc band to chew up such a disparate bag of influences were the Happy Mondays and they changed a generation

For years Manchester has delivered an endless succession of white boy indie guitar bands and this conveyer belt has recently been cranked to full with The Courteeners and Twisted Wheel - both fine bands in their own right. But the Kid and his crew take indie, mash it up with hip-hop and rudeboy sensibilities, and turn it into great pop.

The best new band have arrived fully formed without belonging to any clique or spending all day eulogising about themselves on local message boards. The best new band have arrived without any hype. The best new band don’t even call themselves that. I’m calling them the best new band because I’ve just seen them play a set of brilliant songs with an effervescent carefree charisma.

Where the Kid British and the Action Manky differ is that they are a multi racial crew dealing in multi racial music that comes right at you, and this is important as Manchester is a big city bursting at the seams with lots of different styles of music and culture.

There’s more to Manchester than indie, and the Kid and his crew realise this. Their myspace claims ‘Kid British and The Action Manky combine a broad musical mindset which mashes up into great pop. From Britpop to dub, from Prince to the Meat Puppets, they are influenced by the good and the great - so many acts, not enough time’

There is a sniff of the Gorillaz multi eclectic surfing, the Specials rudeboy bonhomie, Madness are ‘sampled’ in one song with the chorus a cunning half inch of the classic ‘Our House’, De la Soul’s high IQ hip hop and The Streets home-grown version of street life UK- it’s all in there in a breathlessly varied mix.

The last Manc band to chew up such a disparate bag of influences were the Happy Mondays and they changed a generation.

So who the fuck are they?

‘I was in bands when I was 14,’ explains the effervescent Kid, ‘I then started producing in 2000 doing hip-hop, I worked in London and in Canada . I came back and set my own studio up in New Mount st. Nigel Martin Smith asked me to do a Motown project on the phone but I turned it down. At the time I didn’t want to be an artist, I was still producer.’

Happily producing, the Kid then teamed up with Action Manky and struck gold. Everyone in the band writes tunes and their stage presence is killer. With Kid bouncing around on guitar and vocals, joined by three other vocalists, loops, keyboards and some dude with dreads playing another guitar, it all makes for an interesting spectacle.

The band came together when the Kid decided to get from out from behind his studio console and onto the stage and threw his lot in with the Action Manky.

‘I only decided to be an artist last year when I finally felt my voice was bearable to listen to! I was putting my voice on some tracks and experimenting with different styles and it worked. I was producing the Action Manky guys and we joined together.’

The key to the band is their eclectism. There’re no boundaries here. This is a music that can’t be put in box. It’s like an amalgamation of all the best street pop bands of the last thirty years and is a soundtrack for 2008 UK. That eclectism reflecting a walk through any part of any city in modern Britain, all that different music you hear coming out the windows and also marks a return to the famous Mancunian record collections of wildly disparate music. ‘Our music has loads of influences from new wave pop to The Beatles but we don’t want to be pigeonholed. We listen to reggae, good song writing and sing about today’s society in a way that people can relate to. I don’t like all the negativity of gun crime and it’s affected us in a way. A band member’s cousin got shot and affects you. We are determined to write about what we see around, we are not afraid to speak out.

We talk about topics people try to avoid. Compared to The Clash and Joe Strummer, bands now sing about nothing. Bands should be more open and we’re talking about what’s going on…’

Best new band in Manchester. Yeah! you heard me.

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bashMay 1st 2008.

great band!

NickMay 1st 2008.

YEAH! I bumped into these guys at the roadhouse one Sunday (well the early hours of Monday morning) a few weeks back. We played Table football for a couple of hours and they were really nice guys. I'm expecting great things...

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