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:: Saucerman :: The Base :: PTA (Psychotic Tree Ambush) :: Jawless :: Caleb Storkey :: Daylight Rule ::
13 March 2003 / The Palace, Levenshulme / Manchester
By Alex Ringsell

A secret document has passed to from a source inside the Palace nightclub, which reveals that when Oasis rose to prominence in this competition not so many moons ago, the canny brothers Gallagher got YGG to sign a binding contract. Said contract states that, like Oasis themselves, YGG must befoul the name and sound of Oasis (obtained itself by a pair of confidence tricksters targeting pensioners.Reports from the Lennon and Townsend estates report one surly Mancunian trying to sell a video at their front door while another crept in the bathroom window and made off with their entire back catalogues) to a larger extent with every passing year.

This year’s contractual obligation comes in the form of THE BASE, five Sale gents heavily steeped in the ghosts of Manchester’s indie rock past. ‘Sunshine’ pilfers the guitar sound of ‘Morning Glory’ and there is the prerequisite bass/drums middle eight so beloved of Stone Roses and The Charlatans. The Base are severely hampered by some sound problems, most noticeably a total absence of drums, but having never been a fan of either the ‘glory years’ of Mancunian indie or its coke-addled, pompous downward spiral, their MOR rock passes me by regardless.

Stockport’s SAUCERMAN are an entirely different prospect. Their hunger is palpable and the intro-tape, matching outfits and stage moves enhance their performance rather than masking any deficiencies in song writing. With only 20 minutes to play, it is truly a supremely confident outfit that change the lyrics to reference the venue, throw in a new song (‘Flux Capacitor’) and play an extended blues/funk/disco jam which involves a roaming drummer and some raucous tambourine shaking. Front man Tony Pinkham has a distinctive, unfettered wail of a voice and the band kick up a punky blues stink with only minor forays into Gomez territory. They also win extra points for Pinkham’s Springsteen-esque Telecaster. Ones to watch.

PSYCHOTIC TREE AMBUSH are up next, bludgeoning away with their take on stoner rock with a nod to 00’s grunge racketeers Puddle of Mudd. Although the sound owes a lot to originators Kyuss and Fu Manchu, PTA aren’t immersed in the hedonistic, narcotically induced lives of that desert lineage, but rather have been tuning in to the more mainstream rumblings of ancestors Queens of the Stone Age. They certainly have heart but need intensive drilling and focus (or to get heavily into drugs, which is not advocated by MM or any of its associated partners. Just say no).

Although they never recapture the pile-driving rock hooks of their two opening tunes (Backyard Babies covering early The Offspring and Samian being bullied by A respectively), JAWLESS remain a compulsive live spectacle due to their front man, a stick-thin, floppy haired star in the making. Although the remainder of their set lacks the sing-a-long potential of the opening volley and meanders at times, the self-aggrandising antics of the lead singer, which includes the shimmy of a more animated Dick Ashcroft or much less animated Cedric At the Drive-In, full-on 70s Rock God head bang and a climactic dive into the crowd, make for a high energy and entertaining show.

To the uninitiated it may appear that on stage the evil spirit of Robbie Williams has possessed Hundred Reason’s Colin Doran, but to those ‘in the know’ it is CALEB STORKEY, running through his set of atmospheric but dull Adult Orientated Pop. Although his songs are admirably positive and infused with an unashamed faith in humanity, the deployment of a spark-shooting angle grinder, banging her crotch to the beat of a song called ‘Screaming out loud’, which purports to voice Storkey’s frustration with the seemingly unstoppable war, is frankly ludicrous.

With the unenviable task of closing the show at around midnight, DAYLIGHT RULE do their best to bring the house down but their inoffensive guitar pop does little to hold flagging attentions. The female lead singer has a fine voice but the band, perhaps due to nerves, are far from tight.

A fairly inauspicious end to a largely inauspicious evening.

And the winners, as voted by judges (75%) and public (25%), were…
1. Psychotic Tree Ambush
2. Caleb Storkey/ Daylight Rule
Runners up: Saucerman and Jawless The Base

YGG / Rockfest Website

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