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Pacific @the Dry Bar Manchester 12/11/11

posted 12 Nov 2011, 15:32 by Jane Carter   [ updated 13 Nov 2011, 01:59 ]

Pacific played a tight, punchy, and very professional set tonight at the Dry bar ( which wasn't very Dry- in parts!). The sound quality was fantastic tonight- and a real testament to the Sound Engineers skills. It's not an easy space to balance the sound in as it is acoustically bright, with the bar area being almost parallel to the stage. One comment is that the sound improves the more people you have in there- interesting!
I almost didn't recognise Pacific as the band I'd first heard at the Lift Off Festival this Summer. Rehearsal time has paid off in handfuls, Drew has improved in confidence, and is able to bring his own strong  and full drumming style into the band, providing them with a steady backdrop. Anyone watching tonight would have seen a mature band, with improved stagecraft, slick moves,flair from Liam on lead guitar,dexterous playing on the bass guitar from Daniel, and accomplished keyboards and vocals from Anthony.
I have always felt they had a certain something, and they proved that tonight.
I felt they were the band of the night, and really stood out in terms of their musicality. Quick changeovers between songs, no lengthy tuneups, they did a great job. It is obvious that they have been gigging hard and learning from it. They will be headlining soon - have no doubts! 

Craig Ogden with special guest Tom Doughty@The Bridgewater Hall.

posted 28 Oct 2011, 07:35 by Jane Carter   [ updated 28 Oct 2011, 07:44 ]

Weaver Delta Blues player Tom Doughty was the extra-special guest of Australian classical guitarist Craig Ogden. Craig is based at the Royal Northern College of Music. Craig played pieces such as 'Memories of the Alhambra' by Albeniz, and, 'Ashokan Farewell' by Ungar.His unusual choice of songs illustrated the broad range of this fantastic guitarist.Classical spanish guitar is not mic-up of tea, but I could appreciate the sheer skill, beauty, and historical references of Craigs guitar playing. He showed me a refined and disciplined approach to this type of music.The gentle and emotive melodies, and incredible tremelo finger plucking gave me another insight into the guitar which I've not appreciated previously.
I really enjoyed his chats during the 'intervals' between pieces, including fascinating nail care tips on how to repair split and broken nails if you are a classical Spanish guitarist! these are based around the use of superglue/and wet and dry sandpaper and bits of ping pong balls!
Our lovely local Blues Maestro Tom Doughty took the stage with a selection of three guitars, and a fine line in gentle banter! He was playing to a crowd of 400 plus people, in the most beautiful setting with world class acoustics. He sounded the best I'd heard him so far. Tom opened with 'Running Free' his own composition, written for a friend about ten years ago. I watched the audience with this one, and there was a lot of appreciative foot-tapping going on!  Tom was using his beautiful steel and glass slide for his songs, which added to the melodic and gutsy sound. He played a folksy-blues mix, and what I really appreciate about Toms voice is that he doesn't sing in 'American'! He played a beautiful version of 'Every time we say goodbye' on a single string, never played before. I love this song, and I found it a very moving, thought provoking piece.Sometimes we all need a lesson in simplicity like this-just the pure sound reaching out whilst we all sang along in our heads.Beautiful! Tom also played an instrumental improvisation of The Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby'. I think if they'd have heard it, The Beatles would have loved it! He played it on a Hawaiian guitar-Aloha Liverpool!. This guitar in Toms hands gave the tune a very plaintive quality and a rich sound. Tom finished his solo slot using a vintage steel guitar from the 1920's. He played another of his own compositions 'Zimbabwe'. Tom wrote this in response to his emotional reaction to newsreel footage. The story and the feelings became clear as the song progressed its story. I loved the melody and the stregth of feelings expressed, but especially the gutsy big belly sound of this guitar.
Tom and Craig playing together at the end of the show was a sight to behold. This was the 'experimental' portion of the programme, where musically they admitted to coming from opposite ends of the musical spectrum. A fusion of Spanish guitar and blues slide guitar was really interesting, but I found it challenging! My ear kept flitting between one and the other, it seemd disciplined and unruly all at the same time! Its a hugely interesting mix, I wouldn't know where to place it-perhaps it just is what it is and doesn't need to be 'placed' into any context or genre. Perhaps that is going to be the strength of their musical mixings. It will be harmonising and challenging and interesting, and one of a kind! I will watch their progression with this with interest.
So, all in all, a fantastic night, breaking new musical ground, by a Northwich based musician. What could be better than that!

Too Late for Kate@Little Leigh Community Event

posted 22 Oct 2011, 15:51 by Jane Carter   [ updated 22 Oct 2011, 15:54 ]

How hardworking is this local band? They are really generating a solid local following by becoming part of the community in Northwich. Playing at the Village Hall tonight they produced a rock steady beat for over 40 people. I know this isn't a huge audience, but in a Village Hall it gave a comfortable atmosphere, and , as musicians say, 'a gig's a gig' . The band played a wide variety of covers including 'Walking on Sunshine'- which had people up and dancing and having fun, Songs by Cyndi Lauper, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Keane, and The Beatles followed and got the enthusiastic crowd asking for an encore- we were treated to a Spencer Davis number. They are what I would call a self-sufficient band, - they turn up, they bring all the kit including lights and P.A system, they get set up, and they go for it! I think this band sounded even better than last time I saw them.

Too Late for Kate @ The Leigh Arms

posted 13 Oct 2011, 14:30 by Jane Carter

Too Late for Kate are a fantastic 5 piece covers band.  They formed recently, and tonight was their first night playing at the Leigh Arms.They played for a packed house, , and the local audience really appreciated their music. Numbers by Adele, Sting, Tom Petty, and Winehouse, amongst others gave an eclectic sound,and meant that there was 'something for everyone'. They brought their own PA and had a professional looking set up, more importantly, they were able to show us their sense of humour with some gentle bantering amongst band members between numbers, which added sparkle! Kates voice has an interesting range, and she coped extremely well despite having the cough most of us have got this week! She should use the 'gravelly' soul singer voice more! Timing was good, and they were the kind of band you'd be very happy to see and hear on a night out I would recommend you have a listen to this band,they will just get better and better!  

the Dusk at Dry Bar-Manchester

posted 8 Oct 2011, 01:04 by Jane Carter

The Dusk headlined a great band night at Dry Bar last night. Other bands included Kill for Company, Apollo's Heir, the Gentrymen, and Kat Mullen.
It was clear just how polished and musically professional the Dusk are when you see them live. Playing at 10pm they had the top slot, and calmly took control of a very hot stage. The sound quality at Dry is sometimes not all that it could be, and I think this was a bit of an issue for all of the bands that night. Despite this, the Dusk gave us their best shot, as they always do, playing new and 'old' numbers with energy and a great attitude towards their audience. Lead singer James 'read' the audience really well, and soon had them dancing at the front - some were lucky enough to be given free Dusk cd's for their efforts! Tracks included 'Therapy', and finished with a fine version of 'It comes again'. Full- on guitars, strong vocals, steady rock drumming, the Dusk were able to showcase their abilities sucessfully at this gig.
Check out the photos.

The Dusk.......Falling........cd review

posted 23 Sept 2011, 05:21 by Jane Carter   [ updated 23 Sept 2011, 06:19 ]

If this band was a beer it would have a medal of excellence. If it was a wine it would be a full-bodied gutsy red!......Enough already- you get the picture? This album took me back to the 80's and at the same time brings me hurtling into the musical future in 6 tracks ( why only 6? I need more!). I don't take to bands easily and have very particular musical tastes from a lifetime of listening and going to gigs. So when I tell you these guys have something interesting, I know what I'm talking about.
Plaintive vocals but with an inner strength, energetic and stomping drums, musically clever hooks, the Dusk have energy. Their songs have an anthemic quality, whilst the songwriting shows a depth of feeling and experiences whilst not playing the 'poor me' game. These tracks have a real mature beauty about them. I would class the Dusk as intelligent musicians as opposed to people who play instruments- there's a huge difference.
Reminding me of the best of my Manchester Scene days, such as Joy Division, the Fall, Stone Roses....dancing at the Hacienda....and sometimes for some reason of echoes of U2, and yet resolutely very much being themselves, experiencing their music brought me sheer joy.
1. Falling-wins the prize for making me dance round the front room! Capable and thundering, great riffs and keyboards. I defy you not to tap your feet! Almost an overture, it took me on a journey.............
2. The Other Side - WOW! Listen to this intro really amazing keyboards, stonkingly good drums and keyboards. A fine blend of rawness and sensitivity. Acute vocals hitting the mark, it's been hard not to sing along...'the grass is greener.......'
3.It comes again - Don't get too near the amps for this one, gut wrenchingly strong for rocking your innards! Rises to a crescendo with beautiful keyboards. I would rate it as a class dance tune ( but then I may be wierd!)...it makes you want to move, it defies you to sit there motionless.............and thoughtless.....Poppy, electric, rocky how did you do that guys? Reminds me of what I love best about this band, hard to classify, and a refusal to be labelled!
4.Therapy - 'It comes again' tails off on a beautiful long note and melts into 'Therapy', which begins with soul-wrenching guitar riffs. A slightly more 'chanting' vocal sound, putting the singer through his paces and showing us what he's good at. Feels like a broodingly dark track...............
5. Broken Tide - Electric flashing guitars and keyboards with that reliably strong drum beat behind it all, winding round and holding it all together. Tells a great story, so a track for me which has authentic, soaring qualities.
6. Enough to tell - Great acoustic guitar intro, melancholic, sweeping, with sighing vocals. This track seems to really come from the heart. Listen to the lyrics- we've all been there- it's a plea, a desire..... a craving............
Usually you find a favourite track fairly soon on an album you've never heard before if you're lucky. Mine has to be 'The other side', but I think you can hear the musical merits in each track. Yes, the Dusk may resonate with bands you heard in the past, musically they may remind you of others- but they are very much an individual sound. My musical tastes are fairly eclectic, and so it's interesting to find a band that can keep me interested and listening, I never thought I'd find one...........grrrrrrr! 

house of cain @ witton albion 17/9/11

posted 19 Sept 2011, 08:56 by Jane Carter   [ updated 19 Sept 2011, 10:06 ]

Northwich band 'House of Cain' headlined a charity gig last night at Witton Albion in aid of the childrens' cancer charity CLIC Sargent. The event was organised by Corbyn Smith whose dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed. Unfortunately, two other bands had to pull out which left HoC holding the stage and making it a very special night.The band did two sets - just under an hour each set, and gave it everything they could, both musically and energetically. I really admired the guys for this, they did it in a relaxed way, looked like they were enjoying themselves, and gave us all some long-lasting memories of great music on a great night.,
The band specialise in writing and producing their own material, and covers ( which last night sounded as good as, if not better, than the originals). Covers included the Stevie Wonder classic 'Superstition', which was faithful to the original, whilst showing sparks of that gutsy soul/rock sound which House of Cain is gaining its reputation in.Their own work can be heard on their new album 'North Country Blues'.
See link below for all House of Cain Info-
See this slideshow for photos of the band and the gig

Picasa Web Slideshow

House of Cain playing at Witton Albion
Set List for 17/9/11

Little America
High Time Flyer
... You Ain't Nothin / The Chain
Come Together
Moby Dick / Poor Little Old Me
Oh Well
It's A Man's World
A Man Of All Seasons
Preacher Man

Black Night
Demon's Eye
Sunshine Of Your Love
Spoonful Of Sugar
North Country Blues
Hard To Handle
Growin' Older
Simple Man
Keep 'A Rollin'
I'm The Wolf

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