Bonebox - Night & Day Manchester - 26.7.06

We're always looking for something new and sometimes we don't notice the great things around us. Those things that are in front of us so much that you become passé, never venturing in that direction. Rather embarrassingly this is the first time Designer Magazine has witnessed the Mancunian institution that is Bonebox and rather than get the blues soaked punkery we've always previously imagined the band would sound like, what we get is alcohol soaked dark noir as seen through the eyes of Jay Taylor as he looks back through the back catalogue of Nick Cave and Tom Waits.

The last time we saw Taylor up on stage was way back in the day with Goldblade ripping up the annual D Percussion festivals each year and more recently we've known him as the man who brings the latest unsigned bands through Night & Day. Bonebox is a family affair with younger brother Ben on the tubthumper and an extended family of musicians that seem to be ever expanding with keyboard player, slide guitarist and a brass section at the back providing mournful refrains.

Troubadour Liam Frost looks on from the sidelines watching the bands first show since they supported Frost and the Slowdown Family at a sold out Academy 2 show a month earlier and with each song they prove time and time again why Bonebox are one of this cities most underrated talents. With songs that are more suited for late night comedowns as your girls left you, your house has been repossessed and you've lost you job through too much whisky fuelled nights, Taylor somehow manages to turn what should be a fairly sobering affair by being the consummate performer. A light hearted self-deprecation brings to mind Alabama 3 while the lyrics are pure Nick Cave with the acoustic bliss of Tom Waits.

With the clock just about to hit midnight Designer Magazine bids farewell to Bonebox and learnt a very important lesson. Never ever make preconceptions because as tonight proved Bonebox weren't the blues punk merchants we expected and in fact offered something much more interesting and developed.

Alex McCann

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