It’s a five minute walk from here to The White Horse. A five minute walk from here to rock and roll paradise. Could have been a line from song really couldn’t it…..? Well maybe not. Monton isn’t really that rock and roll.
In celebration of the fourth year of the Salford Music Festival a Xmas Party is happening on this damp December evening – although according to Meghan from Chaos of Birds it’s colder in Oakland, California where she and her band hail from.
The White Horse sits on Gilda Brook Road on the edge of Eccles Town Centre and has since this year become the unofficial HQ – for partying anyway – of the SMF. The gangs all here, Joe from The Things, the obligatory minimum three ex-Fall members (Blaney, Watts and Leigh on this occasion) and Eden from Trojan Horse, amongst many others.
In typical SMF fashion a roster packed to the gills with eclectic musical offerings
First up Benefit State offer punchy power punk in a rock style – it warms up the room nicely for what is to follow. MCing split between our host Ed Blaney and Tony Thornborough, who is also DJing. Some acts have pulled out so there’s a swift alteration to the running order – not aided by Chris Dutton of Kill Pretty having car problems on the motorway. So next up is KIT B who deliver four great songs kicking off with a muscular reading of the excellent “Faded Photograph” – the band sound tighter and a little more abrasive since I saw them last and Tony Ashworth’s drumming is exemplary. I think they might have squeezed another number in but mixed communication signals cut the set down – their next gig is at the Kings Arms in February – something to look forward to. Pending the arrival of 3/4’s of Kill Pretty JB Barrington takes the stage and delivers some rapid word play in his inimitable style. If you haven’t caught him yet, or indeed read his book, I suggest you check him out.
Next up, car repairs sorted, are Kill Pretty. The band have not played together live since a gig in Iceland several weeks back but you wouldn’t know it. A trio of songs from the forthcoming album, followed by “Clever Men” and the single “Rob A Bank” are delivered with a serious amount of energy and ferocity. You can catch them next at Ducie Bridge, Manchester on 27th December.
Amps are brought in, snare drums are sorted and we get the “special guests” for the evening, the aforementioned Chaos of Birds who are excellent. Having heard their “Innocent/Guilty” EP recently I sort of know what to expect but they are altogether better in a live situation – focused , delivered, tight and something special indeed. Meghan Adkins is the perfect focal point for the band – a strong lead in the spirit of Patti Smith or Kristin Hersch – delivering a blues swagger with intensity. The stand-out song is the title track from the EP – brutal and very memorable. And, something I never thought i’d ever say in a review before – they play Skelmersdale tonight – before heading home. They promise they will be back – don’t miss them next time.
Next up the host’s band Red Stars. Stripped down to an acoustic line-up for this show with guest violinist this is a different take for a band rapidly growing in momentum. Kicking off with favourite “Rude (All The Time)” the band are in fine form and the addition of the violin brings something special to the mix. Ed is in good spirits telling us how the songs were written and delivering his tunes with heartfelt emotion.
Next up an acoustic set from the charming Char Ní Chaoimh as we wait, for a change to the planned schedule, with a full electric set from Death to the Strange. DJ Mezza entertains us with some tunes and people scurry round looking for guitar straps, leads, amps and other necessary bits and pieces. Daniel Clarke gets up and does a selection of popular tunes in his own inimitable style and just before DTTS kick-off Zac Peach presents Tony Thornborough and Steve Nicholson with an award for their Be Reet Radio Show. DTTS are their usual wonderful selves kicking off with “Openshaw Blues” and packing a powerful punch through a pot-pourri of perfect pop picks. Try saying that after three pints of Strongbow. You can catch DTTS with The Girobabies and The Joint at the Crescent on December 19th.
Great venue – great crowd – great atmosphere – great bands – just great.
Roll on 2014……and more of the same please! I like local gigs……it saves on bus/tram fare.