I noted the Stone Roses (Mani), Oasis (Bonehead) and New Order (Stephen Morris) among the bands with representatives at Tim Burgess‘s solo gig at Band on the Wall – all supporting an old mate in an intimate setting, with a generous card of young bands (not sure I can remember the last time I went to a gig where there were three supports on the bill). There was a real generosity of spirit to the whole occasion, making the evening feel like a genuine celebration of new music.
The Gramotones kicked the proceedings off with a sharp slice of Mod style, with nods to The Kinks and Manfred Mann. Some kick-ass close harmonies added polish to their set, and the harmonica-playing guitarist had a cracking blues voice. They’re supporting Steve Cradock on his upcoming Autumn tour – definitely worth checking out.
Hot Vestry were up next showcasing a darkly brooding, no-nonsense sound, with an undercurrent of electro. Joy Division and The Cure spring to mind, but with a contemporary sound – and the lead singer has a proper front-man edge about him. One to watch.
Signed to Tim’s O Genesis label, London-based Hatcham Social have a chilled psychedelic vibe to them, well-written songs and a touch of class.
Each of the three supports offered something a bit different (and each band seemed to look about five years older than the previous one), but complimented each other well, and whetted the appetite for the main event.
Tim Burgess set his stall out early, by reading the lyrics to A Case For Vinyl as a stand-alone piece of poetry. It was a disarmingly subtle start to his set, but was appreciated as a bold way to deliver a lovely bit of writing. Subtlety was the watchword here. Charlatans fans expecting a hit-heavy set had to settle for just a stripped-back version of The Only One I Know, Impossible, and the rousing encore of North Country Boy but there was more than enough good stuff here to keep them happy. Members of Hatcham Social joined Mark Collins in Tim’s backing band, giving a sweet rockabilly feel to the proceedings. Tobacco Fields had echoes of Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks style, with some gorgeous slide guitar, all suspended chords and hanging notes, Burgess’s unusually low vocals grounding it all.
And this pretty much summed up the whole evening. It was a night for mutual respect, for supporting a mate, and for celebrating music past, present and future.
Review and photography by Chris Payne
Where: Band on the Wall, Manchester
When: September 2013 and touring