Friday, March 07, 2014

Live Review :: Skaters :: Deaf Institute, Manc. - Mar 4 2014

Live Review

Skaters + Drowners

Deaf Institute, Manchester

March 4  2014

Words: Dave Beech

Tonight sees one of Manchester's most eclectic venues play host to one of New York's current 'buzz' bands, Skaters - two, if you include Drowners in support; both of whom have released their full-length debuts this year.

The indie masses are out in their droves, the venue's upstairs area packed wall-to-wall with shabby-chic twenty-somethings anticipating an evening of old fashioned indie-pop, followed by snotty garage rock. Drowners oddly enough for a support band, manage to rattle through their entire eponymous album, almost chronologically. Released in January to generally favourable responses, 'Drowners' was 12 tracks on unadulterated indie-pop, that swings to and fro, bouncing between Strokes-esque vocals and Smiths-esque guitars. Thankfully, live, the band seem to encapsulate the same energy that the album exhibits, with tracks such as 'Ways to Phase a Rejection' and 'A Button On Your Blouse' spawning early sing-alongs from these in the know. It's always a worry when you see a band for the first time as to whether or not the same spark that caused you to buy the ticket in first place would be present in a live environment:  thankfully with Drowners it most definitely is.

Skaters' demeanour drips with the same anti-swagger that the characters of any given Larry Clarke film do. They are the embodiment of those kids from Kids; they're not part of the New York sophisticate, they're part of the city's rough and ready underbelly, and it shows through in their set. Depending on your outlook though, this is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand their laid-back, effortless cool is completely in keeping with both their sound, and attitude; on the other, it could on occasion almost be mistaken for apathy. As it happens though, their set is peppered with excellent moments, with tracks such as The Clash-inspired 'Band Breaker' getting the whole floor moving, and early inclusion of 'I Wanna Dance (But I Don't Know How)' providing the crowd with a perfect opportunity to do just that, (whether they know how or not). They end the night with 'Schemers',  giving fans one final chance to go all out.

To their credit, their album (incidentally titled 'Manhattan', just in case you forgot where they were from) has only been available for about a week before tonight, and even on those tracks which lack a full-blown sing-along, the crowd seem very much in to it. Both Skaters and Drowners may be relative newcomers to the scene, but both have the potential to go far.

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