First up on this disparate and contrasting line up are Appliance. Defined by a pounding incessant bass rhythm that
runs through all their songs this band rarely look as though they are enjoying themselves. It is as if they almost want
to beat you into submission with wave after wave of almost sub aural sounds. Textures are missing, subtleties to
differentiate between different numbers are missing, noises merely merge one into another. The pace is deliberately
slow. Spaceman 3 blended with early Joy Division but nothing to stir the emotions.
Whether it be that all 3 members are applying loop/synths etc. or bass, guitars &
drums, its unrelenting. The audience stand back almost unsure of what to do. One
lass valiantly makes the effort to get moving, but its not the type of beat to let yourself
Then with the last number the shackles are seemingly released and their and the
pace quickens and yeah, this is better. Should have been half an hour ago but that’s
Snow Patrol return to Manchester. From the off they want both themselves and the
audience to enjoy themselves `What does it take to get you nearer the stage?’
vocalist Gary*** inquires, and almost timidly they shuffle forward.
`Now you’re here, don’t just stand their either!’ he announces. If he can put the
effort in, make sure you respond is the meaning as they speed into another frenetic
Torso contorted, face screwed up, vocals chewed out. Total energy from Gary & Mack
Combining scratching and pared down punk makes for an intriguing combination, proving hypnotically binding when
`This is Not New York - This is the Bronx’ is mixed in-between power chords, the resultant vibrant mix echoing
around the bare walls of Planet K
But Gary is having problems with his guitar/amp. It packs in half way through a number. No sound. No problem.
Sling it to the ground. Put the energy into the vocals. Arms flailing, legs akimbo the momentum is maintained.
Crash - he’s on the floor, mic in hand, but the show goes on from the floor.
Service is temporarily resumed, but them the bass goes. So what. It’s the last number. Grab a spare set of
drumstick and hit the skins. So what if there are now 4 people around the drums and 3 are playing them.
The set is over. Pure entertainment.
A chair? What, on stage? Is there another act on before Alfie? Has someone broken
a leg? Three chairs? Shambling onto the stage, the 6 members who will from Alfie
tonight take their places, yes 3 of them on chairs. Well it’s said the Bernard Sumner
couldn’t play guitar and sing at the same time, so there’s hope yet.
Lee Gorton, face beaming innocently takes his place on the high stool. Surveying the
scene around him, like a referee counting to make sure that all are present and
correct, he turns to the band and utters
`We’ll just start then’
and they’re off. The guitar chords sparkle into life. It may be rainy June but in here
the sun shines, and the tensions fade away. This is promising. The trumpet kicks in,
not as though someone has to find room in the song because he’s a friend of the
band, but because it suits the song; that’s where it should be.
Then the technical problems kick in again. The feedback jerks everyone back to the present. disrupting the flow.
They build again, the enthusiastic crowd hoping to get back into the groove.
And they do for a short while before the sharp shrill sound of the feedback emerges
from the speakers again. The band refuse to let this get in the way. Nothing is going
to put them off their stride, and with the ever constant grin on his face, Lee leads Alfie
on a road to heaven knows where