After last nights gig at The Retro Bar and realising the burning throat was a prelude to a full blown cold I struggled to make this at all but realising it could be a lowly attended affair and that The Shadowcops were deserved of more I made the effort.

You see the Shadowcops ain’t just good they are actually fuckin’ superb and the chance to see them for a 12th time in as many months was too tempting to say the least.  Add to this the promising Cash For Your Stories and two new bands to assess and I thought the strain would be worth it.

Upon arrival the initial thoughts of a bilge turn-out seemed justified although eventually there was enough in to pay all bands and that in most cases is enough.

Anyway salutations to the Shadow men and Cash For Your Stories were straight up and at it and despite my previous reservations about this lot I have to hold my hands up and say this was a very promising outpouring indeed.  A dramatic improvement from last months viewing and a band obviously going in the right direction.  There seemed a lot more drive and all round gumption tonight with one or two songs being totally outstanding.  It is always nice to see a band improve and up the desire aspect and this was the case tonight.  Chats with frontman Tom later highlighted a band in need of gigs and I am sure they can jump on the fungal underdogs train at some point in the future.  Be a pleasure to have em’ aboard.

Next up the Aforementioned Shadowcops and yet again another outstanding performance that was sheer unadulterated class from note one to the final guitar blast that left me mesmerised at the bands current set.  Indeed it is bordering on a classic collection of complete songs that work both individually and as a group.  ‘Recurrent Blockades’, ‘Putsch’, ‘Vehement Subterfuge’, ‘My, My My Personal Ennui’, ‘Calling Out The Elders’, ‘Green Light’ and many more all add a bionic boost to a toy box full of Six Million Dollar Men.  This is one of punk rocks most overlooked bands and if these lot are not gaining the true credit for their abilities and song writing talent by the end of the year then this scene is more fucked then I ever suspected or Lady Luck has be bummed rigid by the warty tool of Sod’s Law.  Like I said this was my 12th viewing tonight and the least dirtiest dozen I have ever witnessed in 30 years of punking.

Next The River Card whose name was far less uninspiring than the set (thank goodness) as this hardcore outfit dished out a fair showcase of songs albeit something that I had seen on several occasions before by similar scream and shout squadrons.

 With microphone lead wrapped around the wrist the frontman adopted the tried and tested approach and skipped and pogoed his way through a yelling match that was backed by some good guitar and bass work as well as some tight efficient drumming.  Some songs worked, some went down the middle ground and a few failed but all were charged with electrified vim and vigour and drew in the crowds appreciation.  Despite the few songs failing due to over-running their distance the set didn’t and an above average H/C band was done.

Finally Vultures United who were of a similar vein to the previous band but a few extra notches above due to more complimentary moments and the band playing in accordance with one another throughout.  My kind of hardcore is a dish best served swift and although these were by far not like the rat-tat-tat delivery of awesome bands like The Day Man Lost this was still a good end to an evenings entertainment that had just enough variety and an overspill of talent to keep all in attendance well happy.

Again only £4 for the entrance and what a bargain indeed.  Manchester's main downfall is that sometimes too much is happening but that only becomes an hindrance when gigs clash or there is simply too much too attend when one has other interests.  The good thing about the over-abundance of gigs is that there is always something to keep the curious punker on his toes and tonight was evidence of this.  Not bad at all!

review by OMD (26th March 2008)