Monthly Archives: August 2010

Bank Holiday special: Hey! Manchester at The Dulcimer

Bank Holiday Sunday and the sun’s out finally…perfect for a bit of good live music and beer. But then again, what weather isn’t? I’m making excuses.

Anyway, tonight sees The Dulcimer in Chorlton taken over by the chaps at Hey! Manchester for an evening of full on entertainment and top tunes. Its only a fistful of nickels on the door and the beer selection is nothing short of immense. Oh yeah, and the bands are pretty good. Our pick of the night is Walton Hesse, a great good-time country twanged bourbon soaked rock n’ roll band from Manchester (fans of Wilco, Whiskeytown and Lucero will really dig these lot). That isn’t to forget that FR favourite James Kelly, one of Manchester’s great emerging guitarists and folk talents will be celebrating the release of his brand new EP (reviewed previously on this site) with not one but two shows (the other being at Abode, just round the corner) tonight. Lovely.

Anyway, as always, don’t take my word for it, what the hell do I know. Here’s a couple of tracks to keep your ears happy.

James Kelly – Bang

Walton Hesse – The Only Son

Hey! Manchester Bank Holiday Special. The Dulcimer, Chorlton, The Organic Quarter. 6pm – late. £ Not a lot.

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Gig of the day – The Travelling Band

Yes, its the end of the summer, and as I type I’m staring out of the window of my apartment looking at the pissing down rain nursing a nice little hangover. Well, why should that come in the way of great music? Manchester’s favourite Americana tinged folksmiths and all round nice lads The Travelling Band are to play a rather special intimate little gig at the Nexus Art Cafe this afternoon at 5pm. With a selection of teas, cakes and nice sarnies on offer as well, its pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered.

Here’s a taster of what The Travelling Band sound like, should you be unfamiliar (and shame on you!). A great cover of the Stone Roses’ classic Waterfall, and proof that they really are Manchester lads at heart. See you down the front with a scone.

The Travelling Band – Nexus Art Cafe, Dale St, Northern Qtr. Today, 5pm. Free.

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Gideon Conn – ‘New Bop Sounds’ album launch

Anyone who knows the Manchester indie circuit knows Gideon Conn. A real favourite and one of the true gentlemen of the music scene, Gideon has been gigging around Manchester and the surrounding areas for years now, and has developed quite the cult following. A mix of  hip hop, folk, brought together with a unique poetic charm that only Gideon can pull off.

Now with a full band and debut album New Bop Sounds released on Skinny Dog Records (I Am Kloot, Peter & The Wolf), Gideon Conn is going from strength to strength. His charming stage presence and heartwarming style of songwriting has paid dividends, with last night’s official launch of New Bop Sounds knocking the socks off a packed out Band on the Wall.

I have had the privilege to have seen Gideon’s music evolve over the last few years; what started out as a solo acoustic effort has grown, organically, into a full band setup that perfectly compliments his music. One of the signs of a truly great performer is their ability to captivate an audience. Gideon Conn oozes charisma and charm in spades, and it is this, coupled with his music that makes him one of the most likeable rising stars working today, and someone that never fails to put a smile on the face of everyone he meets.

If there is anyone on the Manchester indie scene deserving of continued success and recognition, then it is Gideon Conn.

New Bop Sounds is out now, priced £10.99

Photo by Jo Lowes.


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Weekend download: Spring Offensive

The rather splendid Oxford math-poppers Spring Offensive have got a bit of a present for you to brighten up those end-of-Summer blues. Their new mega single (14 mins long) is available as a free download from today! Check it out below, and if you likey likey, you can grab it here for nowt.

Coming up next….free lunch.

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Gigtastic roundup: Our two gigs of the week

As you’ll have gathered from the previous couple of posts, we’ve been very excited about a certain two gigs this week – the Manchester Scenewipe party and the mighty Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six. We were looking forward to these shows like a kid at Christmas. Here’s what we thought.

Manchester Scenewipe 100th Video party – The Deaf Institute – 12th August 2010


The Deaf Institute was comfortably full for this one – a really good crowd and a great mix of people. Warming up the night were Brown Brogues and the intense math-punk-pop outfit and Manchester indie favourites Cats In Paris. Nothing, however, could prepare anyone for what they were to experience next. Now, I’ve seen Denis Jones more than too many times, but tonight was a little bit special. His new direction has been focussing toward experimental electronica for quite a while now, but he really turned it up a notch here. A mountain of feedback, explosive beats, vocal distortion and looping made the floors of the the venue literally vibrate – I was seriously expecting the light fixtures to come crumbing to the ground. Always good to see someone put the sound system to, and beyond, its limits.

Much love goes out to Toby at Scenewipe for handing out the cracking sampler CD as well – here’s a cheeky taster of Cats In Paris:


Photo by Jo Lowes.

Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six – Night & Day – 14th August 2010

Signed to the Withington based co-operative anti-label Debt Records, Louis Barabbas is a character I haven’t witnessed before. With a collection of costume changes, a beautiful and soulful lady on backing vocals and a trombone player who looked set to explode at numerous points in the show, this was definitely a concert that wasn’t ever going to get boring.

Night & Day was transformed into a seedy New Orleans drinking den/cabaret theatre for the evening. With the band running through an inspired set of bluesey jazz influenced songs, performed straight from the darkest corner of the imagination, it won’t be an evening I shall forget in a hurry.

Louis himself is the perfect front for the band – performing part of the show from the audience, launching into possessed tap dance moves and quite frankly acting like a looney, this went perfectly well with music that could quite possibly have been conceived by someone within the confines of a mental asylum. Absolutely brilliant.

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Tonight’s gig recommendation: Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six

If you’re looking for something to do in Manchester tonight and have a taste of slightly odd, Vaudeville inspired circus-nightmare-freak blues, then get yourself down to Night & Day from 8pm for Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six. Fans of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, The Mighty Boosh and Thomas Truax will be sure to love this lot. Signed to the rather splendid and exciting Manchester collective ‘anti label’ Debt Records, Louis Barabbas is a real up and coming talent who, along with the various sideshows, freaks, musicians and collaborators that constitute his unique band of cabaret swing, should go far.

For a taste of what to expect (though it seems that with this band, anything goes), here’s a live recording to whet your appetite.

Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six, tonight, Night & Day, 8pm-late.

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Hot gig tomorrow! Manchester Scenewipe 100th video party

Manchester Scenewipe is a lovely website curated by a small team of Manchester music fans. They go to shows, pick great artists and get them to do special unplugged performances in odd places, all recorded in lovely high quality video for the world to see.

They’ve been creating quite a stir over the last year or so, and are celebrating their 100th recording tomorrow night at the Deaf Institute, with live music from Manchester’s favourite bleep ‘n strum experimentalist Denis Jones, backed up by math-rock poppers Cats in Paris, as well as With That Knife and Brown Brogues. Bringing the night to close will see Manchester indie-pop-rock deejays Underachievers Please Try Harder spinning some tunes. For more information on the gig, click here.

For a look at what MCR Scenewipe are all about, check out this marvellous recording of The Miserable Rich playing on the roof of Band on the Wall.

If a video party isn’t enough to swing it, then here’s a sample of what to expect from the beautiful music of Denis Jones.

12th August, The Deaf Institute Manchester. 8pm-late. £6 adv/£8otd.

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