Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Rainkings / The Train Set / Déjà Vega - Manchester Ruby Lounge - 13th October 2016



The Rainkings' comeback continued with their third show since reforming earlier this year at Manchester's Ruby Lounge.  Support came from another band from the late 80s / early 90s heyday making a comeback in The Train Set and the very much of the present Déjà Vega.

Déjà Vega open proceedings with their unrelenting onslaught on our aural senses. One second Tom, Jack and Mike produce a sonic tsunami that threatens to burst the eardrums of anyone in their path, the next the song stops and one of them leads, bass, guitar or drums, the contrast leaving the listener uneasy and dazed waiting for the next punch. Forthcoming single Eyes Of Steel might just be the best thing they've ever done. Red raw, it leaves the listener on the ropes with a hook that it's impossible to avoid. It's followed up by the killer combination of current single Friends In High Places and old favourite The Test. Deja Vega, like Ist Ist and LIINES, are refusing to play the game and making their own rules.


The Train Set's recorded output in the late 80s consisted of a couple of 12" singles and they appeared to be destined to go down as a band spoken about in hushed reverential terms by those who discovered them as the explosion of music from the north west (they supported James and Inspiral Carpets at the time) somehow passed them by. Even with the passing of nearly three decades these songs still pull at the heartstrings with that peculiar jangly insistence that characterised many of the bands of that era that didn't embrace the dance beats of Madchester.

The warmth in Clive Jones' vocals exudes throughout their set which rightly aims to recreate that wistful vibe of the likes of She's Gone, Hold On and Look Up At The Sun and it's impossible not to be drawn in by the obvious joy that's coming from the stage of them performing together again.

The Train Set played Tell Us, Hold On, Stop Stalling, Look Up To The Sun, Untouchable, Heaven, All Blown Over, Gets Me Down, She's Gone and Beautiful Monster.

That feeling extends to the headliners The Rainkings, another band that left us feeling there was unfinished business. Drummer John Rowland is back in the fold reunited with Stephen Holt and Dave Swift as the trio at the core of the band's first incarnation which is augmented by Dub Sex's Cathy Brookes on bass and Paul Williams on keyboards. There's a small but dedicated crowd out who seem to all know the words to every song whether it be the older material such as Good Times, Get Ready or Take or the new material that they've recorded in the past couple of years.


It's those new songs that really steal the show tonight. The songs from their Fiveways EP - Low Hit, By My Side, In From The Rain and in particular Nothing's Set In Stone and the set-closing Getting Nowhere - alongside even newer song Searcher that their star burns at its brightest and Cathy and Paul make their mark and a sign that there may be more to come from them.  Stephen Holt isn't quite as animated as he is when fronting the Inspirals, but his voice is perfectly suited to these songs and as the set progresses the crowd become more animated. It's a fitting reminder, in a time when their contemporaries are now playing stadiums, that there was far more to Manchester than the Roses and Mondays if you scratched beneath the surface.

The Rainkings played Good Times, Get Ready, Move Along The Chain, By My Side, In From The Rain, Take, Searcher, Nothing's Set In Stone, Too Many Words, Low Hit, Step By Step, Getting Nowhere

Déjà Vega are on FacebookTwitter and Soundcloud.

The Train Set's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

The Rainkings' official site can be found here and they are on Twitter and Facebook. Read our 2015 interview with them here and our extensive 2013 pre-Even The Stars one here.
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