Soundcontrol has a rich cultural heritage – if those walls could talk they’d say ‘hey, we’ve seen shit loads of guitars come and go’, or something more articulate. And its transformation into destination venue for some of the country’s best new music has worked a treat. Last Saturday Alt-J and Ghostpoet added themselves to the alumni.
Ever since Sean Maguire preluded for Boyzone many, many, MANY moons ago, I’ve been a bit down on support acts. But last Saturday I had my mind changed. After forgiving the Leeds born quartet for their uber cool symbol-based (∆) band name, it’s clear that these guys offer a really unique sound, and play live beautifully well. Bore off I hear you cry – Wu-Lyf and Yacht have saturated this shit-for-brains prentension aaaages ago and it’s getting dull now. You’re right of course, but their ever so sensible first choice band name Films, was thrust away from them in their infancy, so we’re going to allow them to mourn through the use of triangles.
The set was sombre in parts, but their catalogue is varied in tempo and singer Joe Newman pitched every note perfectly. They’re obviously really happy to be sharing their music and playing live as well, so news that the band will support Wild Beasts in the coming months is of the good variety. Sean Maguire, incase anybody is worried, put a lid on his musical career long before most people were even familiar with shortcuts to Apple Mac symbols, let alone dedicating their music to them.
Given their excellent grasp of folky harmonies and Radiohead-esque beats, the term ‘warm-up’ act couldn’t exactly be applied here, but having seen Ghostpoet’s live offerings before, I was unsurprised by the headliner’s ability to rile and enchant the audience instantly.
Having listened to the debut album a lot, and sadly being over-familiar with my CD player’s repeat function (worst case scenario leading to hatred of a once-loved song), I was pleasantly surprised with a fresh sounding rendition from start to finish. Each song played out by rising star Obaro Ejimiwe and ensemble was a separate reminder of why I loved the album to start with. We were also treated to a taste of things to come, with a few choice tracks from his next release. There was an infectious jungle-esque beat to it that roused an eager anticipation amongst the audience, and hinted at a departure from the melancholy drawl that he is now so fondly associated with.So with no hints as to when the release of the next album will be, it’s just as well that debut record Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam proves its longevity and not only that, is performed with such a freshness that makes you listen to the album in a completely different way. So inspired was I, by Mr Poet’s ability to redesign his well-known set list, that the finale of Cash and Carry Me Home even inspired in me a bit of that jumpy-bouncy-moshy motioning that proves popular down the front. Proper lost in music me. Yet again Ghostpoet, for me, can do no wrong.
∆ return to Manchester on May 18th, performing as part of ‘New Sounds of the North’ as presented by Now Wave and Future Everything. The gig will take place in an abandoned office space in Spinningfields’ Quay House Building. More details on the Now Wave Blog.
Soundcontrol continues to house some eclectic gigs during the coming months, full line up can be found on their website.