(Pic: Exist)
Designer Magazine 7th Birthday Party - Night & Day Manchester - 6.6.06
Exist / Ryna / Waiger / Powell Morgan

It was the night the world was said to end, the date of the devil, but rather then live some age old prophecy Designer Magazine partied hard and celebrated 7 years of Designer Magazine in which we've tipped some of the biggest bands around in the UK. Along to celebrate were friends of Designer Magazine RYNA who'd played their first ever gig back in March for Designer Magazine along with new talent like Exist, Waiger and Powell Morgan who graced a Designer Magazine gig for the first time.

(Pic: Powell Morgan)

To say that Powell Morgan were highly anticipated was something of an understatement with crowds stretching round the corner of the venue 20 minutes before doors opened. Powell Morgan, the bands name as well as the birth name of their singer, originally hail from Wales and spent years trying to escape the predictable sounds of Welsh metal in search of his own sound that was as much about ELO as it was Iron Maiden. Since moving to Manchester several years ago Powell Morgan has always been very much a studio project and this stepping out into the limelight is clearly a daunting affair with the band walking around nervously before they hit the stage, but once they launch into the first song they have nothing to worry about. Sound like Muse as played by the Beach Boys they mix lush harmonies and threaten to go into prog overload at any minute but Powell Morgan are fans of the pop song and always manage to reign it in for the 4 minute mark cramming in as many arrangements as Radiohead's "Paranoid Android". If Powell Morgan are this good after one gig, how good will they be when they've done a full tour?

(Pic: Waiger)

Somethings gone wiry in Waiger and the ghosts have got in the system as the laptop plays up with half their backing tracks and the vocalist James struggle to keep a grip as the live band and backing jar with each other. It's perhaps unfair to judge them on the basis of one gig as over the years Waiger have been on the edge of one of those bands that could break through at any point (it's a list which includes the likes of The Pioneers, Baeur and The Cardinals so they're in good company) but tonight it's not to be. Amongst the storm you can still hear the Doves-esque ambience on tracks such as "No TIme At All" and "All Tte Mistakes", but when a band can tower or fall on the basis of a laptop perhaps they need to find a way they can still work it live if the laptop fails.

(Pic: Ryna)

Last time RYNA played a gig they barely had enough material to last 20 minutes. It wasn't that they had writers block or lack of material, it was just the fact they strip out anything unneccessary in the writing process. 1 minute long intros - out. Extended guitar solos - out. Essentially RYNA are a punk band who have a instintive love of Motown which creates tight melodies and tort abrasive guitars. New track "Bootgrip" is a perfect example of this and a complement to their first fruits "Plastic Hands" and "Ghosts". With those initial nerves gone the band have a confidence, Caroline flails along like a female Morrissey, Alf's a mad f*ck with bright red hair and Beards bought a new jacket just for the occassion and hides behind a mop of floppy hair. With many looking to Beards past with the Marion reformation dates perhaps those in the know are more interested in the future with RYNA and what a promising future it is.

Exist are managed by the team behing Dogs Die In Hot Cars and in the space of the past couple of years they've built up a large following of supporters amongst them Steve Lamacq who proclaimed them the "Best new Band In Britain". With Kasabian taking a few months out to finish off their 2nd album they could just find themselves with major competition in the form of Exist who not only manage to bring the hedonism to the party on songs such as "The Fear" but also a sensitive side on "Be My Enemy". Being on tour with Rick Witter & The Dukes for just over a month and a half the band are tight as f*ck whipping the crowd into a frenzy and while they hail from Brum, Manchester is their natural home with the Stone Roses an obvious influece. At the time of going to press rumours are abound of name changes and deals on the table but whether it happens in the next 2 months of 12 months it's dead cert they'll win over the public once they go out to the masses.

After 7 long years of Designer Magazine we'll do as we've always done and look forward to the next 7 years of new bands and new gigs

Alex McCann
Photos: Andy Stubbs www.shoot-first.com

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