Third time I've seen them, but the first time I've caught a complete Monro Stahr set & I liked it. Previous snippets of their energy & ability were pleasantly rewarded. From the opening "Atlas" it's a sort of
stop-start arrangement with rhythms being established then changing part way through, as if they are stepping up a gear. With one on the most animated bassists around and a drummer seemingly putting
out reggae tinged beats " Sweet Smell", "Your First Time" "Iron Will" are dispatched before a storming finale is reached with " Bravura". The sight of a guitarist trying to use a second guitar as a giant
plectrum is a vision to behold
There was a fair old contingent of local Mancs lads & birds out in force, seemingly in support of Belle Vue & this seemed to initially make Fonda 500
nervous, to the extent that they were thanking the audience before a note had been struck. If you've have seen them before, "Quirky" can be used to
describe the blend of Casio keyboards & fuzzy guitars.
This extends to front man, Simon, making himself an obvious target for potential abuse from a group of fashion conscious locals by donning a purple
balaclava replete with two white bobbles.
But twice and the novelty can wear off. Hearing the refrain "One two, three, four, five" being repeated twenty times to make
up the bulk of a song quickly gets irritating. "Super Chimpanse" is a similar affair, with songs being liberally sprayed with
lyrics snatched from eighties Duran Duran. Yet once, they move away from the kitsch they really kicked in, delivering an
inkling of what they really can do
Belle Vue. A band with a cross section of the young & not so young, matching perfectly their audience. They started by announcing that this was the last leg of their world
tour including Levenshulme, Heaton Chapel etc., so they have a tongue firmly in their cheek
Then without prompting, they raised a cheer of thanks to both supporting bands. Their heart is in the right place. With so many kagouls etc,. abounding, fears were of yet
another Roses/Oasis imitation band but.. when the singer opens his gob on "Soul Thief" it reminds me more of Jim Morrison than Liam.
All of a sudden, the space at the stage was gone, pints & Bacardi Breezers were put to one side, as if Canute was trying to entice the
waves. They wanted to put on a display because people had turned up for them and the band appreciated it. So shades were worn,
an outrageous gold jacket displayed and a mic stand was wielded, wrapped around, and sometimes used to crutch for the vocalist to
project a strong, distinctive voice.
They are not going to break down barriers & create new genres, but the crowd loved them, joining in not just the choruses, but from the
first verse through "Sad Bad, Mad", "Polythene" to "Set the Wolves Free". Hands were in the air, people were rocking & the vocalist
strikes a great rapport with the punters with his between song banter. They give their all on stage.
Musically its 2 guitars, bass & drums, nothing radical, but similar in vain to an upbeat James when they start a greatest hits bit. Like I said, the audience loved it.