A new venue that smacked of studentsville and of a pretentious Manchester that I don't enjoy one bit. With scarlet drapes flowing across the ceiling, flickering candles and a apparent laid back smattering of tables this two level gaff wasn't my idea of a good night out but with what promised to be three great performances by three great bands needs must. This was The Shadowcops' CD launch gig and was definitely worth attending as this outfit are surely one of the best bands from around this area. Add to this the sterling scousers known as the Strait Jackets who were in main support and also with a new band to me that I wanted to check out, namely The Despondents, I felt I was on a winner.

A quick drink and a few chats and The Despondants were soon at it and knocked out a short set that was timed to perfection and contained some infectious riffs and sing-a-long moments that opened up the nights proceedings very well indeed. Like I said this was my first viewing of this lot and the main thing that struck me (despite the shit PA) was the quick smash 'n' grab style of each and every song. This method was and is very punky in approach and one that always wins favour with me as long as the tunes are as melodic and upbeat as this. Its always better to have 25 minutes of entertaining quality then 45 minutes of shite. Well this was quality and the charm of the set won through despite the aforementioned dross PA. I am sure there was a few covers in there but was later informed there was just the one. Must be hearing things but 'Gotta Getaway' was a track that stuck. Very good opener and one to contact for future gigs.

Next the Strait Jackets who basically copped the shit-end of the stick tonight with a sound system that just wouldn't play ball with their style of music. The vocals were non-existent in parts and barely audible in others and frontman Jimmy just seemed to get more and more distraught with the whole affair. His bandmates just got on with it and full credit to them for that but in a temperamental fit of disgust Jimmy lost the plot and quit after almost completing the entire set. A shame really because this was good musically and was just scraping by but it was understandable that the frontman blew his top. Personally I feel that he should have just got on with it and made best of a bad job and maybe paused for thought and explained to the crowd that the PA was just wank. Hey ho - things are always easy in retrospect so I'll leave it there. A quality band diddled out of a good do by things beyond their control. They will be back.

Lastly The Shadowcops who stuck at it and gave it their best shot and in truth produced a spectacular performance that rose above the low vocals and dodgy sound system. A crackin' band this that rely on a full-on wall of guitar violence backed by some energetic bass playing and some quite excellent rock solid drumming. In fact the entire set was one long blistering assault that rocked the place to the affected rafters. A few bass hiccups were nonchalantly palmed off and displayed what a confident and talented band this lot really are. The tracks from the newly released CD, 'Ready When You Are', were magnificent with 'My, My, My Personal Ennui', 'Green Light' and 'A Great Deal More' being totally magnificent. Also a couple of new tracks were thrown in and offered an appetising taster of some more excellent offerings from this top notch outfit. What makes this band so effective is the combination of styles that all come together and produced a final cacophony of noise that reflects some damn hard work and some fine musical know-how and skill. This was a good showing tonight but you know what - there's a helluva alot more to come and that in itself is quite fuckin' scary. I said earlier that this was one of the best bands from this area. Well I stand corrected. This IS the best band from this area! The mantle has been passed for the time being so its up to these young whipper-snappers to get running and hold onto that coveted prize for as long as they can. There is some good competition out there but from the evidence so far there needs some serious practice put in to catch this lot. Immense.

Well not bad at all really and a night that fills the punk rock soul with hope for the future - a sensation rarely found at more established gigs. Now that's saying something.


review by OMD (29 July 2007)