THE problem with festivals is often the less than salubrious surroundings. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, they can often resemble one of those grueling Tough Mudder assault courses.
No phone reception.
The possibility of being accosted by a juggler.
You exit with trenchfoot and a stubborn case of gonorrhea contracted after furtive sex in a £7.99 Argos tent.
There are over 60 acts performing across 11 spaces up and down the Chapel Street corridor in Salford
Not so with Salford’s forward-thinking Sounds From The Other City (SFTOC) festival. Now in its ninth year, it lets you watch a cutting-edge line up without having to master how to squat and defecate in a Tesco carrier bag (although that would certainly provide a talking point for the WI manning the tea and cake stall at The Angel Centre from 2pm-5pm. You might possibly even leave with a grant from Arts Council Britain).
With the aim of providing local promoters with settings to showcase talent, SSTOC acquired a reputation as being the festival for music connoisseurs, where you can catch early sets from soon-to-go-nuclear acts. Previous discoveries have included Mercury Award winners Alt J and the Ting Tings.
In addition to the live music, there are myriad artistic events taking place, including a sideshow installation from performance artists The Volkov Commanders. Manchester record label Red Deer Club will be hosting some Secret Sessions, where unannounced sets will happen in intimate spaces – including somebody’s front room. Be sure to wipe your feet before entering, it’s only polite.
With over 60 acts performing across 11 spaces up and down the Chapel Street corridor in Salford, here are some highlights.
Presented by: Now Wave
Where? St Philips Church, 7.20pm
Why? Neither from Deptford nor a goth, enigmatic south Londoner Daniel Woodhouse is another bearded chap who seems to have a ‘Kick Me’ sign affixed to his heart. His R&B-flecked minimal electro and soul-baring lyrics have seen him touted as the next James Blake. He doesn’t often play out, so the ornate, ecclesiastical surroundings of St. Philips Church should only add to the sense of occasion.
What to say: “His breakthrough album, Life After Defo, bridges the gap between Bon Iver and Jamie xx.”
What not to say: “Can you play any Sisters of Mercy, mate?”
Presented by: Faktion
Where? The Old Pint Pot, 10pm
Why? Rare performance from one of the founders of the Warp label. He was one third of the Forgemasters, responsible for house track ‘Track With No Name’, the debut release on the imprint. In 1991, he left Warp amid the kind of bitter acrimony you usually see on ITV2’s The Big Reunion. After disagreements, partners Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell voted Gordon out and purchased his shares in the label. Allegedly the final straw was when Gordon hurled a phone at Beckett during a row. Just an advance warning for any potential hecklers out there.
Presented by: Hey Manchester
Where? Islington Mill, 10.45pm
Why? LA’s maverick Daedelus – aka Alfred Darlington – dresses like a PJ Wodehouse dandy and makes avant-vintage electro that deftly defies categorization.
Presented by: Wet Play
Where? The Old Pint Pot, 10.15pm
Why? In the late 90s, Gramme were one of the first bands to mine the 80s punk-funk of ESG and A Certain Ratio – years before Mattie Safer picked up a cowbell or James Murphy fretted about losing his edge. Yet they received little recognition. After a ten year hiatus, they’re back to set the M-Cat among the pigeons with sinuous basslines and revivalist New York disco beats.
Presented by: Trash-O-Rama
Where? The Angel Centre, 9.30pm
Why? With song titles such as ‘C***s in a Circle’ and ‘Stabby (Stabby) Stab’, it’s perhaps easy to deduce that Divorce aren’t easy-listening singer-songwriters who you would hear convivially chatting to Ken Bruce on Radio 2. Instead, these Glasweigan no-wavers have fast established themselves as one of the UK’s most thrilling and visceral bands. Beforehand, you can catch a similarly female-fronted aural-blitzkreig from Manchester’s fast-rising Queer’d Science, at 8.30pm.
Presented by: Now Wave
Where? St Philips Church, 9.45pm
Why? You’ve probably already heard the rousing ‘Shut Eye’ providing the musical backing for a trailer promoting Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, but there’s more to this Scouse all-female trio than trying to convince you to watch a bunch of Topmannequins. Their debut album, last year’s Into the Diamond Sun, is a gorgeous collection of neo-pagan pop tunes, which should soar in these spiritual surroundings.
Where? Islington Mill, from 2pm
Why? Performances from bands from all over the world (including the USA’s Pregnant, Riognach Connolly from Brazil, and D/R/U/G/S providing some patriotic pride) will be piped into Islington Mill via Skype. It sounds like a sort of credible version of the Eurovision Song contest. Technology melded to creativity. Personally, we can’t wait for next year’s Grindr disco (hopefully).
See soundsfromtheothercity.com for ticket prices and details.
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