If ever there was a wank night to put gigs on then Monday must be in with a shout of taking the prize. Just after the weekend, first day back at work and beginning with the thirteenth letter of the alphabet this wouldn't be my choice of day for on which to push punk on. So out of respect for the promoters bravery, that old curiousity sensation and in need of another Shadowcops fix I arrived at The Retro Bar in Manchester at approximately 7.20pm.

First band on was bang on time and a vital pointer really as if this gig over-ran I feel people making the effort on this dud day would be well miffed. Anyway no fault there and Cash For Your Stories got the gig a-going! I will reserve judgement on this lot for now as this set undulated with good and bad moments that I feel were down to lack of experience when composing a set and the fact that the sound wasn't at its best - a usual occurence for first bands on. Like I said there were some good power riff moments but some parts didn't work and went on in a confused way for a little too long for my liking. The crowd reacted well to the band so you can take that as a pointer, or not!

Next The Distraked who I have seen on a couple of other occasions quite recently and the fact is this lot are gradually getting better and advancing in musical know how albeit slowly and steadily. Less talk between songs, more focus and an omittance of dodgy covers this was the best I have seen them and the future looks rosy as long as they continue the upward trend. Still an abundance of room for improvement as well as spare space for a few slower tracks. The Damned cover 'New Rose' was the best I have heard it except for the opening drum beat. Nethertheless it is not covers that make a band but the quality of their own material and lets just say 'it's getting there' and leave it at that.

Frontline burst on in true hardcore fashion with the frontman adopting a typical pose. High energy with plenty of dramatic sounds these lot thrashed out a decent performance with my only gripe being that one or two songs were a little too lengthy as I like my H/C in short, sharp nuclear bursts. Just a personal preference and one which I am sure many will disagree with - hey, ho - the awkward predicament of reviewing and being honest! Overall though a good band with plenty of visual vigour and wall-bursting sonics.

Lastly my personal flavour of the month (as if you hadn't guessed) namely, The Shadowcops! For once I will restrain my praises but this was again a marvellous outpouring. Best band again for me and by a long way may I add. I am struggling to find a band as effective and powerful at the moment let alone one that has a set filled with quality tune after quality tune. Simply amazing and totally impressive. A real positive for tomorrows punk scene and a genuine standard bearer for all underdog bands. If these lot don't make the grade then it will be only down to bad luck or general ignorance. There isn't one gig around that these lot would be out of their depth on and I feel a real test on a big stage is now needed to see what they are made of. On the smaller stage they are the best around - and sometimes that can be achievement enough in itself. Quite exquisite!

An overview of the night and 'yes' not bad at all. Ok it's another regular night in Manchester and how it competes is beyond me but good luck to them and as far as the punter goes it is another one to throw into the melting pot when organising your diary. Having checked Getpunks myspace site I have noted a few curious gigs coming up that I would like to attend - hopefully time and the budget allows. A decent crowd as well for this opener shows there may be some potential - let's hope so and here's to another successful venture.

review by OMD (20 February 2008)