Alas another trip to the end of month Ska Bar at The Retro Bar in Manchester to see another clutch of bands unknown to my good self. Tim 'Punk4life' Davies and topman Tez decided to join me and witness what a stirling job these promoters of ska are doing.

I entered to see The John Player Specials just underway and witnessed what was an entertaining and fun-filled show being enjoyed by all present. Really catchy set this with a nice variety and delivery that just wooed the crowd into submission. A few really simple songs were the best of the lot due to the fact that they were so well played and dished out by an extremely confident frontman who played the crowd quite excellently. Definitely another feather in the Ska Bars cap and worthy of a slot of any gig of this ilk.

The crowd at this point was quite impressive and the second band, Make It Better Later kicked off and were very well recieved indeed. Last time I saw these I couldn't stand it but this was better. Unfortunately a trip out for some of the Bronze Legend was voted for so I missed 90% of the set. Sorry lads.

Back into the fray and mentally fuzzier than earlier it was a case of a few more beers and a chance to see a debut gig by a band called Coprolite. Well for a first gig this was a real stunner. Despite the odd duff note the set rocked and some powerhouse guitar work contrasted well with a softer ska riff and melodic approach. Very impressive and the CD they were knocking out for a single nugget reflected a DIY ethic I hope they won't lose as the band progresses and recieves expected acclaim.

Last band of the night for me was Tauntra and again emphasis was on hard edge guitar work blended with ska orientated rhythms and varied vocal styles. Its hard to judge bands you know little about and haven't seen before but again this was as solid as I could expect. Good levels of energy and a robust overall sound really kept the flow going and the evening was a success. Tired and a tad drunk (only a tad mind you) as well as tired I sat outside and a couple more drinks and a chinwag with Tim and Tez about various nonsensical subjects.

Well in retrospect another 3 good bands and the Retro Bar is firmly established as a winning formula. Long may it last.


review by OMD (25 June 2007)