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:: Rotary Ten :: iDresden :: Amida :: The Musa House Band ::
13 November 2006 / Star and Garter / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

Into The Black. An appropriate name for a new night at The Star and Garter; as we walk up the black stairs into the black upstairs room there's a fascinatingly eclectic sound coming from the stage. A closer look reveals the perpetrators to be very young indeed; possibly too young to be in a pub and definitely too young to have soaked up the multitude of influences that scream out at us. The basic foundation is jerky math-rock that sounds like Forward Russia played backwards, with excursions into abstract jazz and post-hardcore, sometimes at the same time, and disparate blasts of tune that sound like they've flicked through a radio dial and tried to cover the results. This is definitely a good thing. Towards the end they thank their GCSE music teacher; music lessons have clearly got a bit more interesting since we were at school.

Amida exist on their own little planet, far away from the fashionable and where sprightly little pop tunes that sound like early indie Housemartins crossed with the entire contents of C86 are the order of the day. This is also a good thing, especially when the big proper keyboard at the front is abandoned in favour of something that looks and sounds like it came from the cheap end of Argos 20 years ago. They are also not afraid to sound nice and happy and upbeat, which is no mean feat in a dark pub down the rough end of the city centre on a piss-cold Monday night in front of about 20 people. One song may have exceeded the two minute mark, but only just.

iDresden on the other hand sound like they live in a dark room where it's permanently a cold night in November; don't let the bassist's frighteningly yellow T-shirt fool you. Not that you would, when he's churning out great big heavy slabs of churning Fugazi evil. This is alt-rock at its best; full of discordant Albini-flavoured guitars and hard-edged post-rock with a generous helping of urban decay. They may have songs called things like "Kill Yourself" but you won't find any emo posturing here. Frontman Callum's vocals slip from brooding disaffection to turbulent rage and as well as having serious potential they make one hell of a noise for three people.

Rotary Ten are Lincoln born and Sheffield based but with one musical foot very much our side of the Pennines, with the sounds of the Smiths and the Chameleons pulsing through their energetic, abrasive indie-rock and precisely no songs about snogging in bus stops. Yeah, we know there's more to Sheffield than that, but it must be one hell of a shadow over the city for outsiders such as these, and besides it's them who jokingly introduce themselves as the Arctic Monkeys; as friends of the earlier bands depart they're faced with a rather empty space ahead of them; if anything, it only makes them play harder. There are some promising tunes in the set, not least the almost Cure-like wayward pop of excellently titled single "Idols Of Our Own Design".

So a well put together line-up, no frills and no bells and whistles, and all for three quid - this looks like a night worth keeping an eye on. The next fixture is 13th December.

pix-(c)- CA

Into The Black Promotions
The Musa House Band
Rotary Ten

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