Tuesday 12 August 2014

Weirds / Kassoma / April Towers / The Slow Readers Club - Manchester Castle Hotel - 11th August 2014

Four very different bands for free on a Monday night - that was the offer from the lovely folks at Beta, promoting new and unsigned bands in Manchester.  The offer was too good to turn down and what we got was a rich diversity of sound and audience interaction.

First up are our favourites The Slow Readers Club. We've gone on and on and we'll continue to do so about the injustice of them not being huge.  They've been on a roll of gigs at the moment and they're sounding bigger and better than ever.  The new songs Fool For Your Philosophy, Forever In Your Debt, Days Like This Will Break Your Heart and recent and next singles Start Again and Don't Mind now dominate the set as they move towards the release of album number two, hopefully by year end.  A drunk woman shouts to Aaron at the end of Don't Mind that he has a lovely singing voice.

Not wanting to decry album one, from which they play Feet On Fire, Sirens and set-closer and old Omerta favourite One More Minute, their trajectory is forward-looking and they draw the biggest crowd of the evening.

Next up are Nottingham band April Towers.  They set up with two banks of keyboards, an electronic drum pad and a solitary guitar between the two.  This type of keyboard driven backing track heavy approach isn't really our thing, but with April Towers it works really well.  The reason for this is that there's actually real songs behind the electronic wizardry going on which means there's a diversity to their sound and Alex's voice works perfectly within this setting.

Songs like Electric Storm and Arcadia wouldn't sound out of place on Radio 1, even including a quasi-rap breakdown in the middle of the former, but with enough crossover potential to get a much wider audience. The closing song reminds us of OMD and the best bits of New Order when they were at their electronica peak and this is no bad thing. They don't say very much during their twenty minute set, but they show enough to make us want to check them out further.  
Next up are Kassoma and there's already been quite a bit been written about them with the Manchester Evening News bigging them up as "your new favourite band" and they've played at the Etihad Stadium.  They have that stadium rock feeling to them and you can see and hear their Facebook influences Coldplay and Editors in their set.  The Castle feels too small for their sound, like it needs bigger spaces to fill out into.

They interchange vocalists between songs which adds more variety to their well-written solid material.  Holding Knives is their big track at the moment and whilst it's a great song you sense they need a big song to make the breakthrough they are striving for and are perfectly capable of making. New song Breathe sounds like they may be moving in that direction. One caveat, they could do well by dropping their cover of Temper Trap's Sweet Disposition - their own songs stand up in their own right and they have the personality to make themselves stand out and not sound like a copy of their influences and they don't add a great deal to the original.
Last, but absolutely no means least, are Weirds. They set up and soundcheck in front of us (one of the problems with four very diverse bands playing on the same bill is that the gaps between bands are longer than the sets) and it's loud.  And it doesn't really sound like music.  They start playing and it's loud, too loud for the room, the four of them seem to be playing a different song,  and the vocalist can only just be heard and we can't work out whether he's singing or recreating some animalistic howl into the microphone.

It should be bloody awful, but it's actually absolutely fascinating to watch and listen to.  Music comes out of the chaos going on, front man Aidan jumps off stage into the crowd, heads for the back of the room and then back to the stage, a song breaks down to just a solitary keyboard and then descends back into white noise.  They finish the set with Aidan and the guitarist on the floor, nearly taking out a couple of girls in the crowd as they jump about. We think there were songs in there, but we're not entirely sure.  We should hate them, but we loved them.

All in all, another excellent night from Music In Beta who are doing a sterling job in promoting free live music in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.  Like them on Facebook to find out more.

The Slow Readers Club can be found at their website. Don't Mind is released digitally on September 22nd and the band celebrate it with a launch night at Manchester's Night and Day on September 20th. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

April Towers are on Facebook and Twitter.

Kassoma are on Facebook and Twitter.

Weirds' official website can be found here.  They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

1 comment:

  1. Excelent review of SRC ..they should be massive ,I agree - here's why...