5th February 2011 – FAC251
Braving the monsoon like central Manchester was worthwhile for two excellent sets by The Blimp and Factory Star at FAC251. The venue is growing on me as a place for live performances and it certainly showcases bands well.
First up The Blimp who are a must see live band. Watching Mike Leigh with this band was a revelation – he is relaxed and in the groove and back to his best. Ken is a stunning bass player anchoring the songs as The General performs feats of prestidigitation with his hands, chin, nose and the neck of his guitar. They played all of the songs from the new ep “3”, the marvellous “Art Job”, and a stunning version of the excellent “Rifleman” from the “Curse Curse Bang Bang” album. They saved the best for last with a song they had written in rehearsal the night before which was breathtakingly brilliant – a piece of juddering psychedelic funk with the band improvising their way to a scintillating climax. They are great fun to watch and I need to see them again soon!
Martin Bramah was in the zone tonight. Starting off with “Angel Steps” the Factory Star band set the agenda for an intense, focused and memorable performance. This is a band that has practiced hard and in consequence delivers a tight set with no frills and plenty of passion. Bramah classic tunes “When sleep won’t come”, “Cheetham Bill” and “The Fall of GB” were interspersed with newer (to my ears anyway) material. I’d seen the previous line-up of the band on a couple of occasions and was impressed but this latest iteration of the band has moved up a division. The crowd was quickly drawn to the bands performance and by the end was dancing along to their infectious music. The closing version of the Blue Orchids classic “The Flood” was exceptionally good. It was extremely pleasing to see Martin so into his performance and delivering it with such intensity. Marvellous!
Proof, if any were needed, that good music is still out there being played by excellent musicians.