Last week, the new music & conference showcase Off The Record returned to Manchester, bringing with it a whole load of new music, as well as talks about the music industry from the likes of Cabbage, False Heads and countless industry experts. Tipped by names such as Clint Boon, Mark Lippman and Phil Taggart the evening saw some of the finest up and coming acts descend on Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
After a false start – despite the optimism, going in knowing absolutely nothing about a band doesn’t always work well – we found our feet and managed to see some pretty fantastic things…
Control Of The Going:
Mel (Editor) – Sometimes going in blind does work. Having heard Control Of The Going’s name buzzing around we ultimately expected good things, but were pleasantly surprised by just how good. Six-members strong, Control Of The Going have an undeniable presence. A psych-rock force to be reckoned with, the band were chosen for the showcase by none other than Clint Boon – so if you don’t take our word for it, take his.
Ella (Assistant Editor) – A sextet of colourful characters who take strong influence from New Order; Control Of The Going’s performance at Aatma was scintillating. The Manchester band merged elongated vocals and heavy guitar lines to get the crowd swooning at their feet. If Inspiral Carpets’ Clint Boon brands them as being “Cool as fuck” then we better too after their OTR performance.
Pat Dam Smyth:
Mel – A Gigslutz favourite already, but one we’ve failed to see live, our next stop was Pat Dam Smyth at Jimmy’s (tipped by Jimmy’s themselves). What surprised us most about Off The Record was, despite the sheer amount of good acts sprawled across Norther Quarter, all the venues seemed full; deservedly so, though perhaps just a result of us choosing wisely. No different for Pat Dam Smyth, he presented a perfect escape from the weather outside. With heart-warming vocal harmonies, and endless amounts of charm, Pat’s set was truly enchanting.
Bang Bang Romeo:
Mel – Tipped by David Borrie of Pirate Studios, and This Feeling, Bang Bang Romeo took over Night & Day next. Though made for far bigger venues, Bang Bang Romeo weren’t about to do things half-heartedly.
Triumphant, anthemic and goosebump raising, Bang Bang Romeo stormed through a set to adoring fans (I think it’s the only time I’ve seen a crowd scrambling to grab the hands of a band playing Night & Day) and proved why they’ve been the name on everyone’s lips (and endless festival line-ups) this summer.
Ella – Anastasia Walker is a haunting tidal wave which everybody admires, but few get the chance to drink in, in an intimate setting. The governing voice and figure of festival-favourites, Bang Bang Romeo packed out Night & Day Café with theatrical splendour and colossal tunes, such as ‘Natural Born Astronaut’ and power-ballad ‘Chemical’. Name us a new band more comfortable with their sound and image than Bang Bang Romeo, we dare you.
Mel – As the evening drew to a close we headed to Gullivers for a double whammy of The Snuts, followed by The Blinders. With a crowd of friends who’d followed them from Scotland positioned loyally at the front of the stage, and a bottle of Buckfast firmly in hand, The Snuts quickly won over the entire room. With a laddish charm, but vocals with a surprising softness that entranced the audience, The Snuts were another extremely pleasant surprise.
Ella – From Glasgow with love, The Snuts brought their howling pack of supporters on a road trip to the heart of Manchester to cause controlled-havoc at Gullivers. A modern-day Glasvagas with a solid gold artillery of indie bangers and an onstage personality to match – The Snuts put the cool in Squeeze’s second single and are a reinvention of the early 2000’s music scene.
Ella – OTR is a self-proclaimed “new music showcase”, which is why it is no shock The Blinders clinched the top spot of the festival at Gullivers. Arguably the crowning moment of OTR, the band spat the words to ‘Ramona Flowers’ out like poison; bounced around to an ode to Donald Trump (‘Brave New World’); saw various limbs being thrown obscurely to the ceiling during ‘Swine’ and fashioned their own aether of hope. The music industry’s worst-kept secret: The Blinders are the future.
Words: Ella Scott / Melissa Svensen
Photos: Jon Mo