Tucked away on the Salford side of the Irwell you’ll find a typically northern back-street boozer, complete with vault, snug and surly locals. What you wouldn’t expect to find is a back room showcasing the best in up and coming new music, well that’s exactly what took place on a Saturday night at the Eagle Inn.
With more bands than you can shake an Eccles cake at on the bill I’m just going to focus on 3 that really stood out for me and first up we have Velocets, it’s been interesting watching the Stockport 3 piece grow from young up-starts at the beginning of the year with an un-hinged performance at the Kraak Gallery to tonight’s assured gig-wise show.
Kicking things off with the punky Sophie and the Cribs inspired Push Me In the trio were into their stride from the off. The pace is kept high, the on-stage banter comes easily and in Dom Allen they poses a power-house of a drummer who drives the whole thing along. Down On Your Luck and I Got This had the set in full swing but to the surprise of both the crowd and band the signal came for just one more song. Rather than deter this seemed to inspire and the final track was brimming full of angst and energy that took Secrets to a whole new level and saw Elliot play the final solo from on top of the bass drum bringing the set to a premature conclusion in a hail of feedback, flailing guitars and applause.
With a set list that is now tighter than a hipsters jeans it was a real shame that we didn’t get to hear Tell It To Your Kids and Naked, the usual Velocets show closers, but we did get to hear the exuberance of youth and a marker laid down for a successful 2014.
Sophie, Push Me In, Down On Your Luck, I Got This, Secrets.
A successful 2013 has seen Salford boys The Nankeens position themselves at the front of a buoyant Manchester music scene, culminating in a recent sold out single launch to 250+ fans at The Deaf Institute . Back in more intimate surroundings Adam Darby and co put on no less of a show, the big sounding tracks from the Autonomy EP and the more direct sound of newer tracks like Scenster sounding equally at home in the close confines of the Eagle.
The Nankeens are evolving their sound with the older more melodic tracks now interspersed with the heavier sound of more recent material, case in point being the epic sounding Breaking Bad transitioning straight into the no-holds barred latest single Scenester, the old and the new working in perfect harmony. A sure sign that a band are on the up is when the crowd are singing back the words and in Whispers Down The Phone the masses appeared to know every word, this track being my stand out of the night.
The infectious beat of Reaper had the room bouncing along by this point which was quickly followed by an as yet un-named track that fitted very nicely and incorporated a big melodic hook that went down well and with that the familiar terrority of I’m Not Playing that then brought the set to a close on a real high. Having seen these guys on numerous occasions over the past few months you can’t help but feel something is about to happen for them, with a new EP in the pipeline I suspect 2014 will be a big year for The Nankeens.
Rules, Shunt, Breaking Bad, Scenester, Whispers Down The Phone, Reaper, **New Song, I’m Not Playing.
Headliners of the night were The Clocktower, a new band to ALBL, so a little research was required to find out more. Hailing from Wolverhampton the 5 piece have been around since 2009 and have a debut album Days Of Rosey already under their belts and a whole host of gigs up and down the country. New to me but by no means new to the scene then!
The rock star image, haircuts and attitude are all there in abundance but of course this needs to be backed up with the music, fortunately there was no disappointment on this note. Opening track Skip It Up Fandango set the scene with it’s great pop harmonies and upbeat guitar sound that became a theme throughout the whole set. The Britpop influences are clear and that’s not a bad thing, a genre that was often mocked in its latter days, certainly had it’s high points and of course took influence from the guitar sounds of the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks all of which can be heard in The Clocktower sound.
The strong vocals of Ryan Evans are impressive live, particularly on Feel The Highs Feed The Lows and wouldn’t sound out of place on mainstream radio. Closing track of the night Kiss Ya Glass was, in my opinion, their strongest track, with a powerful mod sounding guitar riff and rousing vocals creating an anthem of a track. A band currently making big waves with a similar sound are Catfish and the Bottlemen and there’s no reason to say The Clocktower couldn’t do the same. Their hook-laden tracks that harness pop melodies with rock rhythm and indie cool have all the elements of a winning formula.
Skip It Up Fandango, Your So Wonderful, The Loving Tree, Trouble In Ya Eyes, Feel The Highs Feed The Lows, Take A Chill Pill, Naughty Little Head, Kiss Ya Glass.