By heck, already back on the STP carousel and yet another show from that bald peddler of all things nice and noisy. So far the ride has been purely my pleasure and on tonight’s evidence I really couldn't see how that was going to change. 3 bands for sweet FA at Manchester’s best venue for noise and hopefully drawing in an ever increasing load of friendly, music hungry faces. By the time I arrived the aforementioned faces had were not in attendance but due to a bunch of overpaid bastards kickin' a ball about in some business orientated cup final I suspected many would be arriving a little later than planned - especially when extra time was on the cards. Nonetheless I was up for some good chat and some good noise as well as a few good beers and so got on with the night as it should be done. The punters trickled forth and before going on to the first fine band mention must be made (before my frazzled noggin lets it slip) of the solid embracing atmosphere that prevailed throughout the gig tonight. Maybe it was just me but this ambience came across throughout the night and I feel it is a sign that the STP gigs are making a mark and people are finally sitting up and taking note (and about time too).
And so...to the first band of the night, that reliable three-way unit christened Senseless. Place emphasis on that word again - 'reliable' - because that just about sums up this crew to a tee. Consistently they produce the goods and do it to a very exciting standard and (surprise, surprise) tonight was no fuckin' different. Well in fact I tell a falsehood as on drumming duties tonight was the front gob (JJ) from the forthcoming headline act and, in all honesty, he really did exhibit what an acute dabbler in all things noisy he is. He applied himself well and any newcomer to the band would have been hard pushed to pick out too many hiccups in the overall flow. There were one or two but hey this crew are too stage wise to let it hinder progress and so on they went and in the main gave the crowd what they wanted. The main mouth man and 6 string artiste is Moz and what a right talent he is. The manipulation of the warring weapon is a joy to behold, the hard riffage created full of strength and the intricacies thrown in not lost (well on this old buggers lugs anyway). The bassist (Sean) offers up a steady rumble and throws in some good gobbology too and so we have something to savour. Two songs tonight registered in the aging grey matter and these were 'Bottom Of The Bottle' and 'Rough And Tumble' but as I many times these days - the whole set was a good un'. Senseless will continue to play their punkage here, there and wherever you want em' too and if ever a band were classed as 'steady' then these are a typical example.
Downstairs for a beer and an indulgence in the amiable atmosphere and as time flapped by it was back to the racket with a veritable spring in the sonic step. Up and at it were those urchins of many colours Headgames and what an amazing blend of acoustica this lot puked forth. A sub-indie sound intricately attended to with skankoid touches, reggaefied adornments and psychedelic accoutrements the players (the six stringer especially) were utterly absorbed in their material and seemed determined to make the gaff tremble with the intensity of undulating sound. The more ska'rred moments cut really deep whilst the heavier bassed moments added weight to an already buzzing set. The front guy worked the crowd and took delight in his role as well as what his fellow players were contributing (this is always an essential factor). Several members of the crowd were induced into the hypnotic kaleidoscope of noise and jigged away with total inclusion. The waves of sound washed forth and the set grew in stature and became a great contrast to what the previous punkers had offered. A veritable raveoid drug-esque incident this with cacophonic casualties taken and won over - what can you do? I loved this set and wondered if powders and pills hadn't impeded progress (yet enhanced output) where the band would be at now! Here's to some giant strides and let the 'clutter bucket super fuck it' rhythm have us all!
And again - down for a slurp and a wag of the jaw and an autopsy on the previous band. Feedback was all fine and dandy and so it was to the finale that attention turned.
Up again and Wasted Life opened their assault with big fuck off musical fists and never let you recover via a lengthy set that I thought would get tiresome by the end (my punk spirit and attention always goes for short, sharp shockers) but it was nothing of the sort. After seeing them 12 months previous I had a good yardstick to judge em' by and in my opinion there was a fantastic all round improvement made in the delivery and the impact of each blow was far more effective and far more satisfying. This is nothing less than a result of hard work and practice with the band now all working in greater unison and bringing forth a powerful harmony to relish. JJ at the fore believes and sets about his throaty task with an ardent attitude with his merry fiddlers and tub thumper keeping pace and adding their own individual touches that make up the end passionate product. 'Why Me', 'Long Time Dead', 'All Fucked Up', 'Arrogance', and 'Betrayed By The Truth' were memorable but there were many, many more and this was a masterclass in how a band can make superb progress if they want it bad enough. There is no danger that Wasted Life are carving out a good reputation for themselves and after 5 years at it seem to have a good long journey ahead of them that will bring many rewards - here's hoping.
So yet again a STP showcase has come and gone and been recorded here. It would be good if someone else can scribble down a review or two for a couple of other sites rather than rely on this key-tapping twat. I do my bit but want others to do theirs - it is what we should be doing anyway. You know the story - no Fungal glory - just keep that noise rolling and keep attending those STP gigs and read what I type and put all your energy elsewhere - the bands need you, the venue needs you and so do top chaps like Mr Taylor. Think on!
review by OMD (27 February 2012)