A Carefully Planned Festival #5 - Sunday - Manchester Northern Quarter - - Soundblab

A Carefully Planned Festival #5 - Sunday - Manchester Northern Quarter

by Steve Rhodes Rating:9 Release Date:

Day two and Mold's Mechanical Owl are up first at Soup Kitchen. Perhaps a 6 Music dream band, they produce nice guitar melodies but ultimately feel uninspiring, without the mystique that their name could suggest. The occasional shrills of electronica awaken the band out of a workmanlike slumber, but the end product seems to relate to Snowfight in the City Centre, without the exhilaration.

Over at Night & Day, Winsford three-piece Simmer concoct a sonically rewarding set with overdoses of Ride. It feels like a more direct transfer of Swervedriver than the media-friendly Cheatahs. While not exactly original, it is driving nonetheless with nice rolling drums on the quicker numbers and occasional vocal rasps that are reminiscent of Monsterland or Psyched Up Janis, only occasionally let down on the lumbering slower numbers which shows up rare shortcomings.

Getting to Gullivers early was recommended as Motherwell's A Sudden Burst Of Colour have snook on early and planted an extra song into their set. Hypnotic guitars lead the way on the forceful if a little aimless Maybeshewill/This Will Destroy You opener, before the set improves with the enlivening “The Fall”, which adds depth and oomph to the band. Sadly technical problems beset the guitarist and a blown amp leads to a long delay, so it's a good job the band started early. The wait though is worth it as the band continue to gain in confidence and strength and the audience swells in number and appreciation for a band very much on their way up.

A rush over to Soup Kitchen is required to see Wrexham's Mowbird, arriving just in time for the brilliant “Gordon Gargantuan”, a quirky, post-punk number that feels like a kooky Fall with the rolling melodies of Electricity In Our Homes. Skewed and abrasive, but with hooks aplenty especially in the wandering bass and organ, Mowbird are another plus in the increasing emergence of simply great underground bands and artists from Wales. Like fellow native H Hawkline, the band nods in the direction of early Magoo, especially on highlight “Happy Active Horse Organ”, and if John Peel was still around this lot would not be off the air.

A first appearance for Sunday of increasingly favourite new venue Texture is made for Manchester's Easy Kill. If Saturday was awkward, math-rock and singer-songwriter day, then Sunday is swirling, sonic pedal-enhancing guitar day, and Easy Kill are the leaders of this. Chiming guitars and resonanting drums and bass, back Theo Tobias' anguished and deeply emotional vocal, producing moody but stunning numbers that perfectly evoke the patron saint of Manchester Morrissey after he'd absorbed Interpol's and Echo And The Bunnymen's back catalogue. New track “If You Want To Know The Truth Silly Rabbit” hints more at the melodies of Kyte and Ravens and Chimes, led by an earthier Antony Hegarty or a torchlit Billy Mackenzie and shows the versality of Theo's vocal against a backdrop of beautiful noise.

Keeping the sonic flag flying at Gullivers are Nottingham's Eyre Llew, a twin guitar, 3 piece that reaches for the stratosphere in its shimmering acoustics. Packed full of delay and bowed guitars and reminiscent of Blueneck especially with the high-pitched vocals, the band literally sound like they're playing in a cathedral, however though the music is hypnotic, it feels occasionally thin, not helped by the lack of bass, to add much-needed drive that the band needs to propel their set forward and away from stagnation.

Over at The Castle and Manchester's ILL are producing nursey rhymes from the deepest, darkest psyche, like a dischordant Fuzzbox or CocoRosie soaked in the blood of Black Sabbath. A haunting, dirty organ and with a Gorky's Zygotic Mynci knack for changing pace, they are drawn to Krautrock from the Amon Duul end of the spectrum and with “Space Dick” they undertake a mental, frenetic pace with squelchy noises and an organ borrowed direct from the Munsters. They are anything but uninteresting though a little heavy going for the 16th band of the weekend.

Almost an antidote to the sonic and mind-bending proliferation of much of Sunday's line-up at Texture are Manchester 3-piece LIINES, playing straight-edged rock with power, soul and without an effects pedal in sight. An all-female 3-piece inevitably are compared to the Godmothers of alt-rock Sleater Kinney and though there is the occasional lilt in Zoe McVeigh's vocal to them, there is so much versatility and strength with Liines. Subjected to an almost-Spinal Tap moment with mad lighting and an overpowering smoke machine to begin with, the band battle through and produce a rawkous, lighting-speed set, packed full of energy, that feels more akin to The Gits than Bikini Kill or The Kinney and takes in nods to Sebadoh with 'Liar', post-punk in several of Steph Angel's marauding bass-lines and with their 'dance hit' “Cold” an element of disco, with drummer Leila O'Sullivan's incredibly powerful warp speed drumming propelling the song forward. An incredible end to a great weekend and one I'll be revisiting in the future. Bring on A Carefully Planned Festival #6 !

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