Monday, August 19, 2013

Live Review :: Velocets :: Castle Hotel, Manchester :: Aug 16 2013

Live Review

Velocets + Puppet Rebellion + The Rise Of General Mezmar

Castle Hotel, Manchester

August 16 2013

Words: Dave Beech

Photos: Trust A Fox Photography

Being from Manchester, I'm lucky enough to have a rich and vibrant music scene right on my metaphorical doorstep. Every night the city plays host to a plethora of club nights and gigs in a variety of genres and venues to suit tastes of every persuasion. Being the city that it is, steeped with indie heritage, it goes without saying that within the burgeoning flock of bands vying for the spotlight competition is fierce, yet within this competition, friendships and relationships are formed which allow gigs such as tonight's to take place. Featuring two of Manchester hottest unsigned bands, Puppet Rebellion and Velocets, and the Wirral-based psych outfit, The Rise of General Mezmar who kick off the proceedings.

Anyone familiar with Manchester's Northern Quarter will know that it's home to some of the most eclectic and ramshackle pubs the city has to offer and the Castle is no exception. However, given its nature as a dive bar, it's particularly suited to tonight's overall post-punk aesthetic and the tiny sweatbox of a room that the stage is in provides the perfect surrounding in which to create an atmosphere that bubbles and swells with anticipation even before the first band take to the stage.

Beginning with 'Lucid Dream', The Rise Of General Mezmar provide a suitably sleazy and sixties-soaked edge to the night and serve to heighten the expectancy that could have only been brought about by a line-up such as this. Warming the crowd up brilliantly, the band rattle through their songs in a set which seems over all too soon. Closing with 'Romeo et Juliet' is a wise decision from the band; this pseudo-blues track goes down a treat providing the crowd with enough guttural romance and sleaze to make one forget the extortionate prices at the bar.

Next up are Puppet Rebellion, a band who having only been formed this year, are rapidly garnering fans both in their home-town and further afield. Their blend of no-nonsense guitar work and post-punk is a welcome addition to tonight's proceedings, one which I've been looking forward to catching live for quite some time and they don't disappoint. Beginning with the titular track from the 'Chemical Friends' EP, Puppet Rebellion breeze through their 35 minute set with a raw energy that is quintessentially Manchester. Tracks such as 'Loner In Disguise' and 'Green Eyed Monster' are particular highlights and the band close with the excellent 'Greatest Lie Ever Told'; a memorable end to a memorable set. Expect big things soon from Puppet Rebellion. They deserve them.

Headlining tonight's bill are Stockport-based Velocets, similar to Puppet Rebellion, the band are bridging the gap between indie-pop and post-punk excellently. Having followed this band from their inception in early 2012, it's great to see the strides they have taken over the last 18 months to become the fully realised and matured presence that they are. Newer tracks such as 'I Got This' are dropped in between fan-favourites as if they've been part of the set since the beginning and are solid proof that the band have come on leaps and bounds since releasing 'Sophie' all those months ago. Closing with 'Tell It To Your Kids' quickly followed by 'Naked' is an expected but welcome conclusion to a night populated by good, solid indie bands.

We're so lucky in Manchester to have a scene which supports nights like this, and it couldn't have taken place if it wasn't for the people supporting unsigned music. A whole host of bloggers, photographers and promoters made the journey to Manchester tonight and it's devotion like that that allows DIY scenes to flourish without the impact from major labels and corporate influences.

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