IN THE CITY 2005
The Designer Magazine Review
EXORSISTERS - Satan's Hollow - Friday
Last years opening ITC band providing a sprinkling of Sound Of
Music inspired hip hop pop. This year the Exorsisters brought
f**ked up sleazy rock n roll to a world of fey indie boys. Part
New York Dolls, part The Murderdolls these sisters clamber up
the walls of Satan's Hollow shouting "You Slag" as they
rampage through the likes of "Kill Barbie" and "Mannikin".
Its electrifying rock n roll, but they need to find a world that
is suited to them. With the right support slots this band could
SUPERSONIC WINDS OF NEPTUNE - Chips @ Charlies - Friday
Supersonic Winds Of Neptune pimped their way onto the Chips At
ITC night at the last minute, but you wouldn't know it for the
amount of people out in force for this raggle taggle crew of gangsters
and gypsies. While the Scissor Sisters plunder 70s Elton and cabaret
acts, SWON look to 80s hair metal. Team America style army fatigues,
flesh pipes and dragged up queens come together as a glorious
celebration of freaks and outsiders. The fact that their tunes
are huge radio friendly hits such as "Crazy For Love"
and "Into Your Hole" go to show this band are going
to be either a massive international success or one glorious mess
of mascara and blusher
REPEATER - Late Room - Saturday
The Free Repeater we meet in the flesh are a very different proposition
than the band we hear on record. Their recorded demos are polished
into an inch of their life's, but there's something human about
the band which sets them apart from the current zeitgeist for
the 80s revival of the Bravery and the Killers. The live shows
see them as musical alchemists doing as they like, but building
glorious pop tunes out of random keyboard squelches and f**ked
up rhythms. It's pop music, but not as we know it
SHAPES - 14 Lloyd Street - Saturday
Once in a while you witness a band so perfect that it's impossible
not to fall in love with them immediately. New Shapes have tunes
so undeniably catchy that they render the entire careers of Kaiser
Chiefs and Razorlight redundant. It's dumb pop music about girls
and going out, but all the best rock n roll tunes have always
been dumb pop from the Beatles to Oasis and Blur. "You've
Got Me Running Round" and "A Song About A Girl"
are life-affirming songs that speak out to a whole generation.
Give it a year - the public will love em, NME will have built
em up to knock em down and their ridiculously young bassist will
more than likely have won Popjustice's Most Inappropriately Fanciable
- 14 Lloyd Street - Saturday
If the Blue Peter team made a sonic time capsule for Ant &
Dec's b*stard offspring to dig up in 60 years time, they'd discover
a band like Dartz. Somehow managing to blend together screamo
shouting, punk funk beats, loose jazzy bass lines and terrorist
saxophone players they shout out situationist slogans such as
"It's not a crime to have an opinion
it's time to teach
me to dance". The fact that their drummer Phillip Dartz is
the real star of the show goes to underline that they do it differently
in Teeside. Dartz are proof that you can chuck everything into
the pot and it still comes out sounding magnificently.
PEOPLE - Late Room - Saturday
If you just look at it on paper everything's mapped out for Neat
People. Radio play by the likes of Zane Lowe and Lamacq and the
sound of Blur and XTC = Kaiser Chiefs style success story of 2006.
While their success it assured there's something a little too
pleasant and twee to really take it to our hearts. The tunes are
nigh on perfect, in fact that's the bands problem - it's all a
little too perfect!!!
FORWARD RUSSIA - 14 Lloyd Street - Saturday
Designer Magazine first witnessed Forward Russia supporting the
Bravery this time last year on their debut British Tour. Not dissimilar
to where Dartz are coming from musically they take the hardcore
vocals of bands such as Million Dead and Hundred Reasons and then
spin the disco records for one of the most energetic bands of
the weekend so far. Choosing to eschew the tradition of songtitles
they simply give their song numbers in the order they were written,
which makes it nigh on impossible to review. I'm sure this was
their intentions so next time your at one of their gigs shout
random numbers and watch each band member go off an tangent with
the problem is this band are so messed up
it would probably sound right as well!!
BIG ADVENTURE - Dry Bar - Saturday
Either it's too late, I've had too many drugs or Misty's Big Adventure
really are what you get when you splice the Zutons with the Mighty
Boosh!!! There really is no excuse for a band that has a multicoloured
freakoid with 100 hands stitched to him and it really shouldn't
work, but this band are right for exactly the same reason the
Magic Roundabout was right. The kids just think it's an amusing
romp in the vein of Teletubbies and the adults are in on the drugged
up acid vision. As they sing "You need two brains to take
it all in" over nursery rhyme pop you realise that Grandmaster
Gareth's world is how we all should be living
. and props
up to Erotic Volvo!!!
REAL ONES - Life Café - Sunday
In The City has been partly responsible for the success of many
bands - Oasis, Darkness, Coldplay to name a few - but I never
thought we'd see the day when they uncovered a band with a potential
Xmas Number 1 single. Real Ones hail from Norway and write modern
day folk songs ala the Pogues and the Levellers, without any of
the worthiness of the later. "Ballad Of An Old Man"
is the aforementioned Xmas Number 1 record and should you find
your parents singing a long to this in a couple of months remember
where you heard it first. The sounds of Bob Dylan fronting an
unwritten follow up to Lennon's "Imagine" with a full
on choir bolstering up the chorus. The album is full of classic
songs like "She's Got Me Good" and "The Long Sentence"
which will spread through by word of mouth and go on shock the
media who will largely ignore them because they don't have the
BOY - Dry Bar - Sunday
Spitting out lyrics about "loud mouth A&R" and "made
to fit the MTV Parade" bands in their first song "The
Great British Sitcom", Orphan Boy set themselves apart from
the rest of bands playing ITC ready to get on their knees in front
of an A&R man to bag themselves them all that important deal.
If Orphan Boy take a major label deal it will be on their own
terms following in the tradition of Strummer and the Clash. They
talk about growing up in the small provinces of Cleethorpes and
the characters that inhabit them
. it's the gritty reality
mixed with a large dose of Northern humour. Their calling card
"Orphan Boy" sets them up for "Got Plenty"
and the closing blast of "Chav Disco". Doherty it's
time to move over and give up Babyshambles as a bad mistake -
the new boys are in town!!!
DEAR ESKIIMO - Islington Mill - Sunday
It was last years ITC slot that saw Dear Eskiimo sign a 5 album
deal with Mercury Records, but since them you'd be forgiven for
thinking they'd quietly crept away while no-one was looking. A
low-key release on label My Dad Records has set them up for a
plethora of positive reviews that have taken the label aback for
what is essentially an indie release at this stage.
sets essentially the same one we saw last year. The Outkast pilfering
"Don't Wanna Feel", the moody atmospherics of "Patience"
and what now seems to be a Ziggy-fied version of "Jack And
Jill". What's different now if the performance has been taken
to a new level where it's not just a group of people playing at
being popstars, it's now 3 people who were born to be on stage.
Katie looks iconic, Jules has gone on a fitness regime and taken
off about 10 years and Simon has grown in confidence rocking his
heading to the beat.
welcome break from skinny boys with guitars and prove that Britain
can still make great quirky pop music.
SHOES - Late Room - Sunday
Good Shoes. Strictly average music. Despite seemingly being tipped
by every fashionista on the block the fact that Good Shoes sound
like every single band played by Steve Lamacq circa 1993 goes
to show just how needed the Britpop explosion was back in the
mid 90s. Angular riffs, flaky vocals that when done well can sound
like the most essential band ever, but when they don't have any
memorable tunes in a 30 minute set it's time to give them up as
a bad mistake
VANLUSTBADER - Walkabout - Sunday
A couple of years ago Designer Magazine tipped an unknown Aussie
band called Spencer Tracy. They had it all - the looks, the tunes,
the attitude - and went back to Australia and promptly did f**k
all. Sadly after tonight's performance the same fate may be met
by Vanbustlader who throw it all away by not bothering to play
the best songs they have. "Scorcher" is the bands best
song by a mile, but it's absent from the set, and while "Communique"
and "Here We Go Again" tick every box, the band are
selling themselves short by relying on too many fillers. Like
Ryan Adams they seem to be of the train of thought that if they
release more records some of it will stick, but they need to start
thinking less is more. They've got a great EP ready; 6 months
down the line they've got a great album in them if a label will
give them that chance.
MYSTERY JETS - M2 - Sunday
It's a venue that normally turns people away on a Friday and Saturday
night for wearing all black and charges ridiculous prices for
bottles of beer, but these niggles aside the venue works as an
indie venue, I'm surprised gigs aren't booked here more regularly.
Mystery Jets are a curious proposition fronted by 2 stunning guys
(another publication dubbed them the Future Jet's it's ok to fancy
or in retrospect was that Maximo Park) and their dad who looks
like an old school children's TV presenter that probably smoked
spliffs with Tony Hart and Sandy Tozfig. It's this mix that sometimes
gets in the way of the music and although "You Can't Fool
Me Dennis" is a classic lost single you wonder whether the
chaotic mix of sound is too much for some. Car bells, pan lids
and just about every instrument you can't think of are played
alongside the usual mix of guitars and keys and it's misses the
mark as much as it hit's it.
the time being the jury's out on the Mystery Jets.
THE GHEARS - Bar 38 - Monday
The award for the most misleading demo of ITC goes to The Ghears.
Like Brigade, who they played gigs with previously, the band come
across as a lightweight indie guitar band on CD - assimilating
their influences from the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Velvet
Underground and writing catchy 3 minute pop songs. The live shows
feature neither pop songs or influences from the aforementioned
bands, but instead deliver and altogether different beast. Intense
stares, guitars wrung into an inch of their life and vocals that
are commanding and demand attention from the outset. One for fans
of bands like Strangelove and dark gothic bands we wouldn't dare
to mention at Designer Magazine
SOUL - Squares - Monday
All the best bands follow their own route and it's why Lucky Soul
will make it regardless of whether they sign to an indie or major
label following ITC. They are not at the name temptingly suggests
influenced by Richard Ashcroft and the Verve, but instead they
riffle through every great Motown and Phil Spector record ever
made and re-write them for the noughties.
like they've stepped off the set of Ready Steady Go they play
the staples of their set "One Kiss Don't Make A Summer"
and "Give Me Love". Impossible to dislike; impossible
to ignore and damn near perfect. It's hard not to imagine this
band walking away and unleashing one of the albums of 2006.
PEDESTRIANS - M2 - Monday
The Pedestrians have racked up an impressive lineage of support
slots including the Cribs, The Others and half the bands peddling
their wares on the London scene. It doesn't come higher than the
prestigious slot they played a few days ago with Babyshambles
at a packed out Academy 1. The fact that they're Manchester born
and bred makes this even more impressive.
about 6 months playing the circuit they still lack that killer
song to break them through to the next level, but what they have
is an amazing potential that's yet to be delivered on. A mix between
the Jam and The Stones with a rough and ready approach to songwriting,
that's based around a groove and a feeling as much as the hook.
Liam Manton used to front the much-touted Manchester band 50Leaves
and the Pedestrians are proof that he's well on his way to becoming
a cult figure or rock n roll star.
the Pedestrians are to truly succeed what they need to do is build
on the opportunities that have been thrown their way. With the
support slots they've played the band should be playing to four
times as many people, but you feel the band are too out of it
to take care of business
ORSON - 14 Lloyd Street - Monday
Orson are prove that when the American's do something they do
it bigger and better. Described as "the missing link between
the Rolling Stones and Scissor Sisters" by Mojo they manage
to pack out the venue with assorted fans and A&R who've found
out about this band through word of mouth alone. Despite the fact
ITC is touted as an unsigned showcase you get the feeling this
band already have a deal waiting in the wings - it's just too
stylised and perfect to suggest anything else. Like fellow Yanks
Scissor Sisters and The Bravery it would be easy to deride them
as all style and no substance if it wasn't for the fact the tunes
were so damn catchy. It's AOR radio friendly rock, their singers
got to be the coolest bald guy in music since the Edge. Welcome
to the world of the bald and the beautiful!!!
CAZALS - Walkabout - Monday
The Cazals seem to be boomeranging back to the Aussie's at every
occasion they can. A few months ago they played a gig with Karl
Kennedy from Neighbours and now they're playing an Aussie Theme
Pub in Manchester. Strewth, they might as well just chuck some
sangers on the Barbie and be done with it.
the Pedestrians, the band also supported Babyshambles on Friday
night at the Academy. In frontman Phil Cazal they have a man who
shuffles across the stage like Bruce Forsythe doing the Cha Cha
Slide and has the sort of moustache you'd associate with a Victorian
Dandy. Their guitarist Daniel Gallagher is the nephew of Irish
legend Rory Gallagher and the mysteriously names Luca C is a one-man
f**k machine set out to deflower your daughters.
Innocent Boys" is an ironic statement as they're completely
the opposite and "Beat Me To The Bone", their debut
single is a classic. Bands such as the Rakes and The Cazal's may
be lumped in with the London-centric Doherty scene, but they're
both a league above the tabloid fodder of Babyshambles!!!
- 14 Lloyd Street - Monday
Ivory was one of the highlights of last years ITC where he played
a fringe gig at Po Na Na's and an ITC Urban gig at M2. This year
he's been invited back to the main event with new management,
a new sound and the image of sonic terrorists. Starting off as
a duo at school, Ebony and Ivory, he went solo as he reached his
late teens and set off on a ragga / rock / rap mash-up. Infectious,
poppy and about 12 months ahead of what Lady Sovereign is releasing
now. Nowadays he's darker, has dropped the guitars and is more
focused about where he's going. British through and through he's
avoided rhyming about chip shops and going out for a pint of stella
and takes on darker paths, one liners and dark electro punk not
dissimilar to "Fat Of The Land" era Prodigy. Whether
the UK will catch up with just yet remains to be seen, but in
America alongside Lil' Jon and Crunk the yanks are gonna love
this guy. Expect him to blow soon!!!
THE OTTERS - Bedlam - Monday
The Otters more than any band that played ITC all weekend sum
up the real spirit of the event. Coming out of nowhere (well Welwyn
Garden City to be exact) they used to headline over The Subways
when the Subways were a Nirvana covers band and feature Mark Astronaut,
frontman of the anarcho punk band that John Peel used to play
regularly. So we're in Bedlam, a venue normally home to fire dancing
strippers, at an Attitude is Everything gig to campaign for better
access to gigs for people with disabilities watching a band of
17 / 18 years olds fronted by a 52 year old punk.
noisy, uncompromising and a real reason to get excited about the
future of the music industry. The Otters are the anti-thesis to
everything around at the moment - the corporate bollocks of the
emo rock / punk pop filling Kerrang each week. If more bands got
into music because it excited them rather than thinking about
sales and celebrity bullshit then the world would be a better
place. Thank f**k for The Otters!!!
Photos: Karen McBride (except SWON by Alex McCann) - www.karenmcbride.com
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THE REST OF OUR ITC 2005 COVERAGE
THE KAREN MCBRIDE PHOTO GALLERY
Karen's photo's have been featured in the ITC Delegates directory
for the past few years. Here she delivers an exclusive gallery
of the panels and the bands on and off stage for Designer Magazine.
Click Here for the full
THE SHIRLAINE FORREST PHOTO GALLERY
Shirlaine has been working for Designer Magazine for the past
year and works for Manilla PR and Inaudible Magazine amongst other
publications. Her work has been recently published in Heat and
Total Guitar Magazine. Click here
for the gallery
THE GED CAMERA REVIEWS
Ged Camera is a regular fixture on the Manchester Unsigned scene.
If theres's an unsigned band you can guarantee he's photographed
and reviewed them. Click below for Ged's reviews and photos for
each day of ITC