Dave Graney has been written about, at some length, on this blog over the years, so regular readers will know of my admiration for his work. Indeed, I do see it as a bit of a crusade on my part to get his extensive back catalogue known about, and shared with other like minded music loving souls out there. In light of my ramblings, and regular features on podcasts and radio broadcasts, there has been contact between he and I over recent years. So, when he advised me he was coming over to the UK to play at All Tomorrows Parties and asked could there be the chance of a gig in the Manchester area I was, of course, keen to do something. The chance to actually see Dave play live in this part of the world is rare, so a few messages were interchanged and the wonderful Una Baines made it happen.
Another by-product of the trip was the chance of a session on Radio 6 with Marc Riley and through the sterling work of Ian “Moet” Moss this was also put in place. Dave had played two nights in Scotland the preceding week and arrived in Manchester, and at Salford Quays more accurately,with the ever present Clare Moore and Stu Thomas, and, special guest, Malcolm Ross, to play three songs in session with Marc. A nice aperitif for what was to follow on the Thursday night in Salford.
The Eagle Inn nestles just of the Inner Relief Route between Manchester and Salford, in an industrial area. The pubs’ proximity to the Blueprint Recording Studios makes it a haven for post recording session musicians wanting to whet their whistle with a beer before heading home. It is a relatively recent edition to the selection of well run music venues (alongside Gullivers and The Castle) and it is one of the best small venues on the fringes of the city centre area. It seemed to be the perfect place for an intimate gig with Dave Graney and the mistLY. The unique concert room ,which is essentially is a hollowed out Victorian terraced house, adding to the experience.
With regular band member Stu Perrera back in Australia old sparring partner Malcolm Ross (Josef K, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera) was brought into the band to create the essential second guitar sound which makes the mistLY band so vital. Malcolm’s history with The Moodists and the early line-up of the Coral Snakes allowed for a set-list which covered most of Dave’s career.
But i’m getting ahead of myself. The evening kicked off with a solo set from Franco Bandini. On acoustic guitar and piano Franco worked through his recent EP release on German Shepherd Records, a cover, and a couple of newer songs. Franco’s intense delivery and passionate tunes were received well by the crowd. He is working on parallel material at the moment and news of his forthcoming ventures will be shared in due course.
Having seen Poppycock the Saturday before at Dulcimer in Chorlton I knew what to expect. Once again they did not disappoint. The eight strong line-up worked its way through recent material, the latest single, tracks from The Fates album, and an excellent cover of Lou Reeds “There Is No Time”(from the New York album). The collective gets increasingly stronger with, notably, excellent vocal performances, and memorable tunes. The beauty of the band is their mix of stripped back VU style rock with a traditional music edge running alongside. If you are in the Greater Manchester area and you have not seen them live yet I suggest you ought to go out of your way to catch them.
On stage promptly at 10pm the incredibly dapper Dave Graney lead us through an hour and fifteen minutes of his best material. His assured and witty delivery, and a rhythm section with a clear telepathic understanding was wonderful to witness live, the added bonus was the unique opportunity to see Malcolm Ross working with the band. With two Moodists songs “Chad’s Car” and “Frankies Negative”, a number of Coral Snakes tunes, including a personal favourite “I Got Myself A Beautiful Nightmare” and a spine tingling “Night of the Wolverine”, plus a good selection of Dave’s “solo” material including a sultry “Body Snatcher Blues”, “Death By A Thousand Sucks”, the excellent “Everything Was Legendary With Robert” from the “Fearful Wiggings” album, and recent single “I’m A Good Hater”, Graney fans were treated to a special evening. Closing song “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Where I Hide” and encore “You’re Just Too Hip, Baby”, a special request for Una, brought out the best in the band with two classic Graney compositions closing a very special evening.
Those fortunate enough to be attending ATP in Prestatyn are in for a treat. After that Dave and the band are off to France for a run of gigs, then Amsterdam, and then back to the UK a couple of nights at the Betsey Trotwood in London, before heading home to Melbourne. If you get the chance to catch any of these gigs I suggest you make the effort.
Thanks to Dave, Clare, Stu, Malcolm, Una, Sam and Moet for making this happen.