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:: The Kill Van Kulls :: Brown Brogues :: Ghost Outfit :: Feel Right :: Vieka :: Viv Albertine ::
01 May 2011 / Various Venues / Salford
By Ged Camera

As the sun bounces off the dust generated during the controversial road works on Chapel Street, there’s a healthy trail of people wearing fluorescent wristbands indicating their attendance to the SFTOC festival.

There’s strange goings on inside the New Oxford; the TV is showing the United game with the sound turned down as two people in the adjoining room are wearing grey long johns only. The one (of either Will or Rick) who announces that he is the sane one of the duo, is wearing a tea cosy on his head, whilst the lesser sane one draws a violin bow across a guitar fret board. The tea cosy will shortly be replaced by a bed sheet with holes cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth. It looks like that this year SFTOC is off to a winning start.

Obviously the bands are the focus of the day, but there are other artistic nuggets on display, especially at the hub of the event, Islington mill. The “100 Records” exhibition has been created by San Francisco based artist, musician and playwright, Sonny Smith. He has created 100 records (both A & B) sides for a multitude of fictional bands. With the help of his musical acquaintances, all the elements required, including the music, packaging, and publicity has been created and a musical jukebox built. With such titles as Prince Nedick & the Conks by Lara Allen it’s clear the tongue is clearly in the cheek and like all satires appears to be so close to the truth that occasionally you think “This song is all right”

More venues allowing more choice has allowed the cathedral-like church of St. Philips to included in the event for the first time. It could be an intimidating challenge to fill the walls with music, but the Kills van Kulls manage to do that successfully, but with a crowd of 30 or so, it’s difficult to generate any intimacy or atmosphere. Whereas a 30+ crowd for FEEL RIGHT at the Kings Arms makes it seem packed. Quite what the crowd made of the barking, guttural noises from the vocalist is unclear.

You can hear the vocalist of VIEKA well before you get into the Salford Arms, but this time, it’s both controlled and pure. When she recites what a former lover once enjoyed but has now lost, the performance is intense and intimidating.

The increase in the “campus” size of the event seems to mean that you find an area and stay there rather than traversing the distance from the Peel Hall to the Rovers Return. This means that a place with two stages, the Pint Pot, has obvious advantages and the personal welcome surprise of the occasion was stumbling across GHOST OUTFIT. The duo, using drums an guitar play a violent concoction of rock honed for the vein that spurned the White Stripes, or even their Mancunian counterparts, the Brown Brogues. The reaction of how that type of show went down on the No. 42 bus when they were doing a video event is eagerly anticipated

Meanwhile BROWN BROGUES played further down the road at the New Oxford. There is just about enough room for the Brogues to fit their kit in, never mind swinging the guitar around, almost decapitating the willing crowd.

Final Artist of the night for me was VIV ALBERTINE, who is forever associated with the Slits. Rather than wallow in nostalgia, she’s as uncompromising as ever, using the past as a history lesson to interpret for today. Tales of Johnny Thunders and the Pistols are lovingly passed across, but her songs that rejoice in her independence are both funny and incisive.


This person seems to be following MM around today - or is it the other way round?

Feel Right
Viv Albertine
Ghost Outfit
Brown Brogues

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