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Live round-up

Lena Peter goes in search of future stars at Jabez Clegg

Published on March 11th 2008.


Live round-up

Right, here I am…After accusing Confidential of not reviewing enough unsigned bands in Manchester, I’ve been given the dubious honour of spending one night a week getting drunk in some of Manchester’s darker drinking establishments while listening to what will be bands with promise. I might also vent some anger in their and the venues direction as well.

First up, a night at Jabez Clegg’s upstairs venue, where the beer always tastes weird and they seem to have ‘redecorated’ by putting up some camouflage netting on the ceiling and some graffiti on the walls.

The bands should have plumped for using the larger of the two upstairs rooms, as it was the smaller room that they were playing in was rammed, both bands had a good turnout, even at 9 o’clock.

Contact Mo.
Sounds like: Elbow meets Idlewild

The first band to take to the stage was Contact Mo, a five-piece outfit who seem to specialise in anthemic rock. There were sweeping choruses and three-piece vocal harmonies in songs that built slowly.

The singer Jonny has a good voice and the use of the keyboard helps to fill out the sound, creating a multi-layered feel. The drummer was great, playing the most interesting parts of the music by creating cross-rhythms and fills.

I also like the fact that for the last song, the band swapped instruments. This is a bit clever-clever but it is always good to think that members of the band have enough musical ability to play other instruments. The bed-hopping of instruments freed someone up to play the trumpet, which was a nice touch in theory but unfortunately couldn’t be heard.

All in all, Contact Mo delivered a polished set but for me it was a bit bland – great music to buy the cd of but not so good to jump around to on a Friday night.

Check out Contact Mo at www.myspace.com/contactmo If their music is your thing then you can catch them next at Urbis (?!) on Saturday 5 April.

Little Volcanoes.
Sounds like: Suede meets Morrissey

Little Volcanoes were the next band onto the stage, in what was kind of billed as their comeback gig. The band has had a fair few line-up changes recently, with singer Phil being the only remaining member of the original line-up.

One of the best things about Little Volcanoes is that they are a band that stay away from generic Manc-indie sound. They managed to create a good vibe, with people shouting along to the guitar-pop choruses. The sound was punchy-strong, although the guitarist didn’t cut through as well as the rest – perhaps he needs to try some different sound effects to stop him being left in the background. Considering that they haven’t been playing together for long, they were pretty tight – it’s a shame that they’re losing their drummer again.

Little Volcanoes are a ‘feel good’ band, with songs that would be perfect to play as you get ready for your Friday night out. A special mention must be given to the singer’s trousers, which perhaps gave the audience a bit too much information…

Little Volcanoes can be sourced at www.myspace.com/littlevolcanoes Things seem to be moving fast for them, their next gig is at the Roadhouse on 15 April and is billed as a single launch.

Due to there being a D&B night after the gig, the night felt a bit short and we abruptly told to go downstairs to the bar as soon as the music finished. That was a shame, as it broke up an audience that had appreciated two bands that had played well and would have happily stayed to drink more. At a fiver, you couldn’t complain, but another band could have been squeezed in to make it more of a night.

Gigs to look out for this week
I’m tempted to tell you to go and see Asia at the Academy on Thursday, just because it will be a highly amusing prog-rock gig, but it’s above my £10 gig limit. So, in that bracket, here’s what I recommend this week…

Deaf Institute
Trof continues to expand its empire, with the recent opening of The Deaf Institute, renamed from Deaf and Dumb, which apparently caused the council much consternation. Based on Grosvenor Street, the new venue follows Trof’s tried-and-tested bar formula, but has the added feature of a gig venue with a domed roof. I haven’t been myself yet but plan to very soon, so get down there and then argue with me in the comments section. Wednesday sees folk from Wigan-born Nancy Elizabeth, or if you fancy something more up-beat then Zoot Woman plays electroclash on Friday.

Night & Day
A tip for the top for Saturday is Hot Club de Paris at Night & Day. At only £7 in, and being more than ably supported by Sky Larkin and Elle S’appelle, it’ll definitely be good. Unfortunately, the gig is in conjunction with Channel Erm who will be recording it for broadcast, but don’t let that put you off.

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