In The City - Day 2 - Manchester - various venues - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

In The City - Day 2 - Manchester - various venues

by Steve Rhodes Rating: Release Date:

Day two and a trek is made first to Noho for The Car is On Fire. With the band dressed in matching red and white football shorts and socks and spouting fake moustaches, this Polish group rather than following many of their East European counterparts in towards Balkan folk, focus their attention West. New York City nights in lounge bars in the late 70s are more of the spirit. They produce a lovely varied performance mixed with flutters of post punk, the Rapture, a noisier Haircut 100 and elements of XTC, particularly in the occasional melancholy.

The award for the most enjoyable performance at In The City must go to Mont Blanc. The Japanese two-piece are excitable as they bounce and glide to their programmed electronic beats and melody. With vocals and a sound that resemble MGMT, Empire of the Sun or Animal Collective, Mont Blanc clearly enjoy their enthusiastic amateurism, engaging brilliantly with the crowd, who are treated to a memorable show.

After failing to get into the Castle the previous day an early visit is made to see Icelandic instrumental post-rockers For A Minor Reflection, and they just simply blow the audience away. Displaying a strong awareness of their landscape like many Icelandic groups, the band produce beautiful soundscapes that veer from a frenetically driven and melodic Isis or Mew to a more introspective Explosions in the Sky or The Workhouse. The band play passionately with both guitarists flailing about on the tiny stage, particularly during the epic highlight 'Sjaumst I Virginiu'. A wonderful and powerful performance.

Diagram of the Heart at The Mint Lounge are next and have an excitable audience awaiting them, sadly though it's all style over substance. Tragically bad lyrics, with the style copybook of Mick Hucknall at the forefront and a fake X-Factoresque wail over the top of the backing singer, Diagram of the Heart are fairly painful to watch and listen to, yet are lapped up by the audience. Thankfully the antidote for this is provided by Pulled Apart By Horses at Night and Day. The sizeable crowd are treated to a squall of sludgy guitar, with fast riffing from the bowels of hell. Think AC/DC, Led Zepp, Mudhoney, with styles of surf, garage and rockabilly. Singer Tom yelps through the songs like Mark Arm or Rob Halford, with guitarist James adding humour announcing a Wet Wet Wet cover and theatrics in hanging from the ceiling and stage-diving during the middle eight of High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive, while the rest of the band play on. PABH are the hardest gigging band at the moment and worthy of the attention they are receiving.

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