Build it and they will come, the saying goes, or in this case put on 3 great bands at an intimate venue on a Friday night and they will come. So with the sold out signs going up for this gig long ago there was a real sense of excitement amongst the gathered masses for what was about to take place.
The night is the brainchild of Manchester mover and shaker Mr Peeps, who’s been using his Podcasts as a forum for unsigned bands to get their music played to a wider audience and tonight sees the Podcast go live with featured bands The Rise Of General Mezmar, Puppet Rebellion and Velocets.
The back room of The Castle Hotel had filled up nicely by the time first band The Rise Of General Mezmar took to the stage and it was refreshing to see plenty of people in from the start. Hailing from down the East Lancs Road on the Wirral this four piece are a bit of an unknown quantity to me, The Lucid Dream being my only reference point, a track that featured on the 1st Mr Peeps Podcast, and this is the opener of the set, a psychedelic groover of a track with some nice vocal harmonies that got things under way nicely.
The band are difficult to pin one particular genre to, with 50’s rockabilly, 60’s psychedelia, folk, country and blues all thrown into the mix. Flying Machine was a particular highlight with a country/blues feel to it and a strong vocal. As the set drew to a close Judas had the audience dancing to the upbeat 50’s rock n roll sound, final song Romeo et Juliet had a great blues-rock rhythm combined with a big blast of harmonica. The Rise Of General Mezmar are an interesting outfit that certainly don’t conform to modern musical fashion, which may be a help or could be a hindrance, but I for one will be interested to see where they take their sound.
The Lucid Dream, Love Take Me Down, Flying Machine, Freedom, Reasons Why (#3), Judas, Romeo et Juliet.
Up next were Puppet Rebellion, if you haven’t heard about this Manchester 5 piece yet I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing plenty soon. In a short space of time they have gained serious momentum on the back of releasing their Chemical Friends EP and a host of scintillating live performances. So with a buzz of anticipation and expectation in the room Puppet Rebellion took to the stage and launched into the recent EP’s title track Chemical Friends, a track set to a frenetic beat with a great combination of contrasting heavy and chiming guitar, the two guitarist both taking turns to lead.
Cupboards Painted Red had an uplifting ballad quality to it whilst still maintaining the pounding rhythm and post-punk edginess, The New Twenty, another track off the debut EP, is a rallying call to those over 30, striking a cord with many in the room and its upbeat melody and dancefloor beat would sound great in a hazy indie-dance club. New track Pirouette was an interesting addition with a more powerful guitar sound, driving bass and a catchy vocal that sounded like a souped-up Editors, a work in progress with real potential.
Green Eyed Monster saw frontman Simon Monaghan come out into the crowd to deliver the vocal with a hint of a snarl backed by power cord guitar. In final track The Greatest Lie Ever Told the band have a Manchester anthem in the making, drawing on the city’s post-punk heritage of melodic, melancholy guitar and fusing is with a modern indie beat to form the backdrop for a truly great vocal that sums up many people’s thoughts on religion brilliantly. The whole crowd singing along to the chorus of “we don’t need you, I don’t believe you” was a real “I was there moment”.
Chemical Friends, Cupboards Painted Red, The New Twenty, Loner In Disguise, Pirouette, Green Eyed Monster, The Greatest Lie Ever Told
The hot and sweaty gig-goers had just about got their breath back for the arrival of Velocets, a young Manchester band who’ve been busy honing their live set with a relentless schedule that has seen them play all manner of gigs and festivals both near and far over the past few months. From seeing the band back in January to this latest performance it’s clear to see the time spent gaining valuable gig experience has really paid off with the set now tight and accomplished.
Sophie kicked things off, the punky bass line and angular guitar direct and straight to the point getting the room bouncing. The bands garage-rock influences and in particular The Cribs is clear, Push Me In sounding like a Jarman brothers composition and the dual vocals of Adam Walsh and Elliot Berriman worked particular well on Down On Your Luck. A track that has benefited from the busy gig diary is Secrets which has been developed over the past few months and has gone from potential to polished, full of energy with frantic drums and an insanely catchy We Are Scientists style guitar riff whilst the breakdown had the crowd clapping along.
A Velocets show wouldn’t be complete without drummer Dom taking his shirt off, the only surprise was it took so long in the sauna of a room! The set drew to a close with Tell It To Your Kids, a high energy, in your face track that utilises the loud and quiet song structure to great effect, followed by Naked building gloriously from a dark, brooding verse to an anthemic chorus which rocks out at the end to triumphantly bring the gig to a rowdy conclusion. This gig could well have been the coming of age for Velocets from young upstarts to serious contenders.
Sophie, Push Me In, Down On Your Luck, I Got This, All Night, Secrets, Tell It To Your Kids, Naked.
Live music brings people together, and that’s exactly what this night was about, where the bands, the audience and the organisers came together to put on an event where the winner was the music itself. There is a sense of something about to happen on the Manchester music scene and those that were in attendance will certainly testify to that.