A cold Monday night in Manchester was the prospect but with 4 bands on show for free it was worth making the effort to Satan’s Hollow and go see what noise was to be had for old Fungal.  Arriving in good time it was to be met with disappointment as the doors were delayed by 1 hour due to a bunch of overpaid tossers showcasing some silverware they had won recently in the name of sport (football to be exact).  A chat with a grand dude was had outside about the scene up his end and down my end (sounds almost sexual) before those fine people Graham Norris, Barbara Ann Prince (Babs) and Travis McTucky arrived and wagged jaws. The wind whistled on outside and eventually we chilled punkers were allowed into the gaff were a cider was bought and the first band got up and were ready to entertain.

Pink Hearse have been around some time now and I am struggling to remember the last time I saw them.  Poulton Le Fylde and Manchester are certainly two places I have seen and enjoyed them but there are several other viewings that have slipped from the cerebral matter – bah, bugger, nuts.  Anyway I digress – tonight this 4-piece (I am sure at one stage they were 5) played a sweet, solid set with a variety of good tunes to instantaneously pick up on.  The main source of vitality in this female pasty of sonica is provided by the wild bellowing she-bitch at the fore Nikki Hearse who really is a feisty fucker that goes at it full tilt.  Zombified and crowned with a pink scarecrow shock this front lass gave it her all and provided some quality entertainment.  The bassist and guitarist held the ropes and maintained a steadiness and the drums kept it organised and also added a certain stability.  The songs were well structured and of a good standard with the vicious ‘2 Fingers’, the sharp ‘Virtual Valentines Day’ and the aggressive and wonderfully effective ‘Baseball Bat’ all shining brightly but for me the whole set was a pleasure and lapped up by the punk connoisseurs in the crowd.  The niggles – well more pointers to be exact and how I feel the band can progress.  The main area the band needs to work on is to get the players more involved and whipped up.  Guitar, drums and bass need to inject a little more attitude and just move a little more and so add to the theatre Nikki bravely produces.  The material is there let’s just tear it up a bit.  Hey I am a reviewer and as I say the reviewer’s job is to encourage and try and squeeze the best out of bands – I can but try.

Next up DC66 a band I had seen before but could remember fuck all about.  Now why is that?  Hailing from Leeds the band go for the more US/modern style of pop punk with a subtle technical edge and formulaic routine that has obvious comparison.  It comes as no surprise that listed in their influences are bands such as Pennywise, NOFX, Bad Religion and The Descendents and one can almost hear the essences without trying too hard.  Tonight after initial minor monitor problems the band ploughed through their swift set with a good level of precision and practiced methodology.  In parts when the band went for it the surge was impressive and one felt that if the hard riffage was truly blasted then more success could have been had. The odd moment of stuttered string work seemed to impede the general flow but this may be a personal view due to my pop punk leanings being more traditional.  The highs were the short, acute numbers and again the only pointer I would offer is that the band get a decided set of brief battering blasts and work them into the floor and go forth and nail them.  It’s all there so why not indeed?  Not too bad but just a little more to add!

This Is Turin (a late addition no doubt and making the gig a 5 band showcase) vaulted into the limelight next with a head-mincing mush of mayhem that will undoubtedly divide favour wherever they ply their trade.  One thing that cannot be disagreed upon is the crews focus, ability and intent.  Whereas the previous band still need to find their true feet and style this lot know what they want to do, how to do it and don’t hold back.  Described as Black/Death/Tech Metal (fuckin’ hell how many sub-generic labels are there) this was heavy stuff indeed and yet held the audiences attention throughout with their unholy riffage, busy bee stage movement and ‘tighter than a gnats chuff’ delivery.  Experimental in parts, almost overboard in others what This Is Turin did was keep it unpredictable, cacophonous and very fuckin’ loud.  Heavily plated hardcore with irresistible drive this crew will be avoided like the plague by ones who want something more orthodox and melodic but will be embraced by the niche nutters who like it rammed up the shitter with spite.  If you like it raw, passionate and without routine – have this.

Moving on and Above The Underground next and very much a case of new school techno-poppish punk with flash trimmings, spirited outbursts and good rolling rhythms.  Anyone from the local scene would realise that these would very much fit the bill on a TNS gig with all the intricate guitar work and appropriate acoustica shown.  The bassist here fought the cause well and mixed it up with verbals and throbbed his 4 wires in a mightily fine style.  His off stage eruption at the end was a nice touch and a bit more of this throughout wouldn’t go amiss on future shows.  This isn’t my choice cup of musical cha’ but I can appreciate the style and the energy therein.  Of tonight’s troopers I feel these are the ones I need to check out again to fully assess and so before making an assessing faux pas I will shift on.

Finally The Amorettes – a 3 piece she-machine who rocked it hard and shook the balls of the gaff with precise playing and many raucous rhythms.  Classic rockin’ raunch and roll these acoustic whores whip up a good noise and maintain the quality sound structure as well as excellent visuals with confident aplomb.  Despite the gender there is a whole load of spunk within the mix and the lasses brandish their weapons with utter conviction.  They work in unison, offer good honestly constructed songs and have a concrete degree of diversity to capture attention.  They look good, they play good and for me would go down well in more commercial circles.  My punk ethos may be DIY and awkward but one can still have insight into where bands are best suited and booted as regards their future audiences.  Why shouldn’t The Amorettes play Download and go on to bigger and better things – I can think of no reason as they have no punk shackles to hold em’ back – go for it lasses.  One thing though!   This lot may progress because they are deemed good eye–candy – anyone guilty of helping their cause for these reasons needs to sort out their heads – the music matters not the muffs – so don’t patronise or take the piss fuckers – think on.

So 5 bands for free and very good entertainment at that.  I should have attended the previous two but got sidetracked which it looks as though was very much my loss.  Thanks to the soundmaster Marios again for his excellent work and the gaff for hosting a solid gig.  Roll on more of this stuff and keep on mixing and matching the styles.  Oh and fuck Download ha, ha – gotta be a bugger tha’ knows!

review by OMD (24 May 2011)