19th April 2012 - The Bay Horse, Manchester

After some recent shit flinging, another bout of bad health (seems par for the bastard course these days) and the usual hassles brought about by people with nothing much better to do than prove they are still breathing and still filled with self importance it was out of necessity to support those involved rather in search of pleasure that I attended this gig. I lie - another particular reason was to check out The Franceens, a band that had played a gig for me a couple of months prior and a band who had really impressed me with their lo-fi garage essence and general ease of delivery. Could they repeat this and convince me they were one of the best new dogs on the sonic walkway? Only one way to find out - make the effort, support, scrutinise and let them bite me on the arse again.

Prior to The Franceens hitting the stage several other bands had played and had really knocked out some impressive noise and got the crowd well and truly rocked up - the test of true troopers though is had when faced with such heights to attain. The three-piece under the Fungal spotlight hit the playing area, set up their weapons of war and were ready to roll despite the crowd being not fully attentive and some still outside on gossip and fag duties. Oh how they would soon be dragged in and loving this!

The set tonight was delivered in the murky, blackened depths of a backstreet pub and seemed quite apt for a style such as this lot deliver. All the aromas of DIY punkage and something very unadulterated and essential was being blasted forth by all bands – would anything change here?  Not a chance of it as the tuned in trio loaded us up with many idiosyncratic touches of the garage scene as well as some surfed up rock and roll vibes we I was quite rightly expecting.  Much sonic spume crashed at the feet of the onlooker and it was filled with delightful discordant detritus that was re-arranged and thrown about with such wonderful accuracy. 'Alarm' is a gem of a song, 'Attack' a new favourite that bites hard and 'Pledge' a crackin' creep along that shows the multi-angular potential of a fantastic unit. The lead guitar and gobman Dan is an artiste not to be overlooked and underestimated and has deep conviction written all over his absorbed mug when on and off stage. Strings are carved up and duly fucked with startling effect and so giving plenty of sub-visual violence to adore. Naomi on bass is a cool cat indeed and is a perfect contrast to the six-stringed demon. Controlled but very much into the vibe and contributing perfect bass lines and passionate female utterances in exactly the right places. It is amazing how some players can impress so much without going overboard on the theatrics - great stuff. The sticks are attended to by a new recruit (take a bow Miles) and dealt with in exact and unflustered fashion - no needless tricks, no pointless flurries - just easy as you are and nice and precise. The end result is a set filled with red hot number after red hot number and from first to last this old and well worn punk rock victim was enchanted. The riffs are hard, the melodic vein pumping with flourishing life and the appearance of the band ideal. Massive stuff.

I love garage, especially when the crumminess is manipulated and turned into something that can barely be described - it surely is one of the best sub-forms of punk rock. The rawness, the innocence, the spirit these players have for the chosen mode is a joy to the spiked soul and I came away after this quite convinced that this is one of the best units within their own pool and very much beyond. They were set a high benchmark, they ascended, strutted their fine stuff, and hopped down with reputation enhanced tenfold. Do not miss this lot  if they are threatening to noise blast your area - go forth and take in the full seismic explosion - get rocked off yer feet and just love it for what it is - beautiful scuzzy rock and roll! Up The Franceens!