The first day of February.
The venue – the recently theatre style outfitted concert room of the Kings Arms, Salford. Which makes for an interesting arrangement for watching rockin’ (teen) combos.
The occasion the second visit by the multi-faceted performer currently known as Cryin’ Queerwolf to Salford. This time a more relaxed, organised and altogether cohesive arrangement than the previous visit, which resulted in some, shall we say, interesting events and reactions from locals. Those of you who regulary listen to either The Be Reet Radio Show, The Monty Show SD’s Sonic Diary on Salford City Radio – or indeed my podcasts – will be aware of an affiliation of artists around a loosely gathered thrust of what one might call alternative or independent (not indie) music. The bill of fayre for the evening reflects that collective with a well constructed evening of music set before us.
The gangs all here – Tony and Steve are on the door, Moff and Mrs Moff have come over from Leeds, Matt and Susan from Factory Acts, the pair formerly known as Tingle in the Netherlands, the still drummer-less Ascension, Joey Mutant, Shaun Maxwell, Johann Kloos, Ding, Jeff Black, SD and many more. Due to necessary organisational arrangements within the Kill Pretty Empire I am somewhat busy and only have chance for quick hellos to some and no chance to speak to others. I’m also taking snaps tonight so I try to position myself in the most advantageous spot.
The Cryin’ Queerwolf starts the proceedings with the first of three numbers for the evening – elegantly attired with a set of heels that probably need planning permission, the ‘Wolf warms up the audience with Brechtian bravura and bonhomie.
First up are Southend on Sea four piece The Get whose effortless charm, via ever smiling front man Bruce Gordon, wins over the audience. We get “Feral Beryl”, “You’ve Made Your Bed” and “Hit” as well as a number of their other inventive and memorable songs. Gordon, as I have said elsewhere, has a passing vocal resemblance to Jello Biafra and their brand of proto pop punk is passionately delivered. At one point in the set the Queerwolf and the shy and retiring Luis Drayton join the band for a performance of “You’ve Got To Wear A Dress”. All in all a great set and well received.
In between the sets DJ Monty bring back his “New Order Disco” and pumps out some classic dance floor hits before grabbing his bass and joining Kit B on the main stage,
After a breathless performance of the Queerwolf classic “More Camp Than Kirk” from the ‘Wolf incarnate, Kit B take the stage and deliver a fantastic set. The highlight for some audience members is the inclusion of the Hidden Gem classic “Loudest Silence In The World”. This is my third time of seeing the band and they improve each time and I remain convinced that Tony Ashworth is one of the best drummers I have seen in recent years. The band needs to do more gigs and get some exposure because they deserve some attention. Danny Cusick’s song craft continues to amaze and now he has a band that can deliver the material live.
The Queerwolf returns with his “wife” Tamsin for a delightfully camp delivery of the rascally “She’s My Beard” with some serious dance steps and twerking being delivered by both participants. Tamsin then peforms a short but memorable solo set. There’s a couple of songs I don’t recognise, but an emotional reading of “The Hide” and her use of live looping to create a virtual choir of Tamsin’s is very effective.
Topping bill are Kill Pretty. For this appearance the band have decided to shake things up a bit and Josh plays guitar and Chris bass – a reversal of roles. The fascinating and somewhat impressive thing is that not only does this work as an experiment but it creates a whole new dynamic for the performance. We get a lot of the new album – “Super Soaraway Sun”, “Wild At Heart”, “Swastika Girls” and the first performance of “Burnley” as well as the staples of “13 Moons” and “Rob A Bank”. The band generates a ferocious energy and creates a memorable live experience. Discussions within the band at the moment reveal a desire to keep the performances fresh and challenging and they certainly managed that on this occasion.
So all in all an excellent evenings entertainment – congratulations to Fast Lane Steve for all the organisation behind the scenes. Let’s do it again soon!