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:: Exit Calm :: Deadbeat Echoes :: Dead Format ::
11 June 2010 / The Factory (Fac251) / Manchester
By Adam Wheeldon

Across town this evening there is a celebration of some of Manchester's fine musical talent with the legendary Ian Brown headlining a massive open air event in Platt Fields Park. Here, however, in a venue representing the legacy of some of the most influential and important acts that this wonderful city has ever produced, there is a very special band with a loyal following that has defied the appeal to swagger to some classic Manchester anthems by performing some of the finest if not THE finest in epic rock around that certainly demands our attention. The decision to witness Exit Calm at FAC251 was a very easy one indeed.

Despite only a handful of people around to catch the opening band, Dead Format are an interesting prospect and put on an infectious performance. A two-piece from Stoke-On-Trent via Stockport, the duo provide a fascinating mix of synth, guitar and drums that display raucous guitar driven moments coupled with a laidback feel that is reminiscent of Delphic at their most subtle. The sound is strong and the lack of bass certainly doesn't make it any less intense. Hopefully a few more people will soon notice their potential and are definitely ones to look out for.

Nothing too unconventional about Deadbeat Echoes, whose heady mix of garage punk and melodic indie is a much more traditional affair but with a modern feel. Having recently played with Twisted Wheel and with influences ranging from Joy Division to The Dead 60s, they certainly have a lot of great credentials from a variety of artists as layers of scuzzy guitar and thumping drums on the likes of 'Nothing To Prove' make them an exciting prospect on the live stage. With such an energetic feel to their performance, they are reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys during their early years as well as scouse ska-punk outfit The Rascals, this combination produces a raucous and upbeat set that is endearing throughout.

As the strains of seminal Doves epic 'The Cedar Room' swirl around the room as an appropriate intro for what is in store, the venue is impressively busy in anticipation for one of the most epic acts around today. Swaggering on stage to a fervent reaction from a buzzing audience, Exit Calm begin to create an intense and passionate display as Rob Marshall sends his guitar through a psychedelic haze on opener 'Don't Look Down' with the raw emotion of Nicky Smith's vocals echo around the venue and into people's hearts. While their self-titled debut album is an incredibly well-produced record, this band really do need to be witnessed in the live arena as they take their space-rock anthems into the stratosphere on stage. The sound in the venue is superb and captures all the intensity of 'You've Got It All Wrong' and 'Hearts and Minds' on a dramatic scale as the swirling guitar, sprawling drumming and rolling basslines complement each other superbly to create an epic backdrop for Nicky Smith's passionate vocals.

The frontman swaggers around the stage letting the music take hold of him and delivers an impressive stage presence that demands attention. He is fast becoming a true showman, especially when he starts to get annoyed with an audience member at the front of stage taking pictues on his phone as he retorts to him "You get enough pictures there?". The songs are covered with so much passion that they soar majestically around the room and capture the audience with the ability to move and impress ever so easily. Capturing a similar psychedelic feel to The Verve's debut album, the celestial tones of 'Forgiveness' build and build to a stunning crescendo of dreamy vocals and spaced out rhythms, along with the anthemic nature of 'Reference' that display a huge amount of beauty. The standout is the penultimate 'We're On Our Own' which is fast becoming their terrace anthem as its truly epic nature bring together much hugging and mini moshing between fully-grown men at the front of the stage. Arms aloft and shouting back the strains of "I Don't Need Anyone...", illustrate how the band are able to connect with their audience and how this outpouring of emotion can move so many personalities. While the past is being celebrated across the city, tonight is all about the future and how Exit Calm have taken everything that is great about guitar music to another glorious level. Cheers to the past, here's to the future.

photo (C) CA / MM 2010

Exit Calm - album out now!
Deadbeat Echoes
Dead Format

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