This week had dragged a little to say the least and it was good to break away from the shackles of work and hit town with what seemed to be a reliable gig to attend. An easy journey down and into the venue I went to be greeted by a slowly building crowd that would hit quite a good number later on. Aaaah the pulling power of a label and a band from the US - a common theme throughout the UK! Personally it doesn't matter a jot to me so I won't dwell on it and take things as they come. As usual chits and chats regarding the upset in the scene, the good, bad and just plain senseless were taken and in no time at all The Vox Dolomites were up and happening.

Still in their embryonic stage with a shortish set (which I feel works well - always leave em' wanting more) this band mix up the tones of skank and punk quite niftily. The punk surges work a treat and when the harmonies erupt with the front three strummers barking in unison the greatest level of success is had. Intersperse this with some upstroked moments filled with zest and you have a combination that obviously hits many buttons. Ok the ska based moments lack the genuine subtleties of the genre and still need a slight polish up, the tonsil tearing triumvirate need to not get too carried away with the winning formula and mix and match it and, it would be nice to see one song breakdown to let the drummer rip it up and have his moment – but…this is jolly good stuff. It is only their second gig and I could be accused of being overly picky here but hey, as I repeat over and over - surely the job of any reviewer is to squeeze the best out of all musical fruit - it is just unfortunate for the VD boys that I have plucked these early on ha, ha. Due to a well promoted 3 track CD demo there are tracks which obviously win greatest note but tonight I found myself drawn to the ones I didn't know which I feel is a positive sign. The closing 'Losing Hands' is everyone’s fave at the mo and is a bloody good ditty but already I can feel this one niggling the old titties and it may be one of those that makes initial impact but will be outshone by many others further down the line - who knows, who cares - enjoy. Good band, good vibe, bunch of cunts - you know me - always something to say!

Epic Problem next and another band in its infancy and still testing the critical waters with what is a very sinewy form of sonica belted out by a strong group of fiddlers, who still I feel, have much to discover and pull out of the obviously bulging hat. The band opened with 'Battles', a hefty song off their chosen taster CD and again one which most are now familiar with. This should have been one of the best but wasn't due to the level of quality increasing throughout and a tricky dicky sound that impeded the sonica of this band and the former - I'll come back to that though. For me what Epic Problem do is quickly hit a good level and stay there which is all well and dandy and will meet the needs of many but I would like to see a few awkward testing, more eruptive moments when the crew lunge for the unexpected and cause the punter to be taken aback. Again a minor criticism (squeeze, squeeze) but if it gets the chaps chomping harder then so be it. The guy at the fore must be given mention has he works hard to maintain the impressive intensity and really does put in a sound level of commitment. Best song - one I think was called 'Short Circuit' - a cute ditty and one to watch out for again. No gripes overall and another band to reassess in 12 months and see how the progress has gone. They are back in the studio soon with that twat Matt (sorry but three words in a row that rhyme can't be missed) from Pumpkin Records and no doubt will come out with something strong to listen to - here's waiting.

A pop for a piss and The Human Project were up and at it even though I had been caught up in conversation by the Epic Problem twanger Ian McLennan - inconsiderate bastards. I'd only nipped down for a quick Arthur Bliss whereupon I found the aforementioned Ian lurking around the urinals with a tear in his eye. Asking what was wrong he suddenly broke down into a fit of wracking sobs and informed me his 12 year fling with Jimmy Tarbuck had ended (strange really has I thought he was nobbing the corpse of Enoch Powell). Anyway condolences were given and I did explain that there were many more chuckling fish in the comedic ocean and also added that ex-Catchphrase presenter Roy Walker was on the look-out for love. Almost instantaneously Mr McLennan brightened up, smiled brightly, shook my hand vigorously and headed off to catch the first train to Ireland in his quest for new horizons of washed up lust! It’s a strange old scene. Anyway - my slash was taken, my Samaritan duty fulfilled and up the stairs I went to view the Project that was Human. What a solid, technical set these dudes produced with an abundance of flamboyance, tight as fuck tuneage and great slam dunking, ever spunking moments of riffage to explore. It is a busy sound to truly grasp on one viewing but when in the mood is a memorable sight to behold. It isn't something I would partake of on a daily basis (a bit like masturbating fish) but when tasted of the rhythmic taste buds ring with delight. The drums are a hectic brew, the strings wobble with wild earnest and the gob work forceful and in some ways unpredictable. With that young whizzed up wastrel Luke Edmund Yates on guitar (a genuinely nice geezer and always on the Fungal Fave list) this was a joy to watch and I went out for a breather at the end quite satisfied with things thus far but...

Just prior to the headline band hitting the stage and after my excursion outside to indulge in the air that was fresh I informed Dean that the sound overall was shite except for the new side stage area I now found myself in. A statement of 'Say it to my face why don’t ya' came my way and the sound guy (whom I didn't recognise) was the cause of the request. As ever, in my usual honest way the response was given 'The sound is indeed shite and I have no problem about telling you to ya face'. It was taken as it was meant and no ill feeling was created and we both discussed the venue, the acoustics and the main problem that seemed to be an overloaded bass amp. I learned how the 4 wire wobblers had been informed of the potential problem but hey I know the crack here and all I could say was 'do what ya do, work with what you have and go for it'. It is an unenviable task doing the sound and some venues just have those dud spots you can't compete with. The main message of this digression is - if you were there and found the sound unsavoury don't blame the guy at the desk - get some ear muffs ha, ha.  OH and if you ever doubt Fungal’s honesty then don’t – I ain’t a backstabber tha’ knows – always upfront and fair!

On to the last band - Dead To Me. You know what’s coming with many of these bands and you know what crowd you will get. No point going on about things as they will never change so on to the review proper. DTM are a super tight efficient rockin' machine with 4 players of the highest calibre. The two guitar guys are fully wired in to the sound and never miss a moment to maintain accuracy and a high level of riffage. The drum dude is an exceptional artiste who bangs and rattles with clustered organised incessancy and if likened to a boxing style would be one of those throwers of 'punches in endless bunches'. For me the outstanding component was front mouth and bassist who nailed some intricate moments with aplomb despite delivering highly charged lyrics full of exhausting spirit. The manipulation of the weapons neck was mesmerising (look I am talking non-sexual here so get out of the gutter ya deviant) and one could almost envision the said bass ejaculating its notes onto the flesh of the hypnotised audience (oh fuck it then). A stunning performance with no duff tracks although as time ticked on I did miss the final two - you bugger Dean. A great headline act though and no complaints at all.  Just to add I was informed that this band have been on a 6 week tour and last year did a 9 week stretch – hey full fuckin’ marks to em’ and hard work is the only way to success – yes!

Off I whizzed then, into the night and the Manc streets filled with the beer swilling masses whom looked a trifle bored (get to a punk gig then ya twats). A decent night and more please Dean - that's it!

review by OMD (25 February 2012)