:: The Twilight Sad
:: Milk Maid
:: Viv Albertine :: Drunk In Hell :: Girl's Names :: Rainbow Arabia ::
01 May 2011 / Various Venues / Salford
By Dave Himmelfield
This year my Sounds From The Other City (SFTOC) starts disappointingly late at 7.30pm for reasons which I can't be bothered to go into. We arrive first at THE ANGEL to the beginning of MILK MAID's set. There's something of a buzz surrounding this four-piece featuring Nine Black Alps bassist Martin Cohen on lead vocals and guitar. Their sounds isn't a million miles from Cohen's other band, only cleaner and sunnier. The songs are simple with strong melodies and shiny but muscular guitars. Rumour has it, Milk Maid are about to ink a deal with a well known label so expect to see them again soon.
Our time at The Angel is cut short when a group of friends persuade me trek half a mile to the ROVERS RETURN. The band, DRUNK IN HELL, are I'm told joyously unadulterated thuggery. That's true. The five-piece churn out a riff that's savage in its simplicity while someone bawls over the top. It's ok for about one minute until you realise that is the song. Each 'tune' is a yobbish riff looped ad nausea with loose shouting over the top. Imagine McLusky without the dynamics and you've got the migraine inducing picture.
We move to THE KING'S ARMS for a decent pint and a bit a fey indie courtesy of GIRLS' NAMES. The singer has a quiff and not surprisingly a fixation for Morrissey and The Housemartins. Some tunes are agreeable, some a little plodding.
You'd think ex-Slits guitarist VIV ALBERTINE would be a big draw but the small back room of THE NEW OXFORD is nicely full rather than stiflingly stuffed. She's suffering with love – or the lack of it – and most of her tunes seem to be about men's inadequacies, often between the sheets. Albertine is a witty lyricist as well as a magnetic entertainer who delivers each song in punk rock tradition made wiser by age.
We slip out and round the corner to ST PHILLIP'S CHURCH for the end of THE TWILIGHT SAD's set. The church's cavernous hall is the perfect setting for the band's echo-laden, epic sound. It takes a powerful act to fill such a large venue but this quintet manage it with apparent ease.
Finally we head to the basement of THE PINT POT for RAINBOW ARABIA. This Californian husband and wife duo may have amused M.I.A. but I'm just bemused. Their lack of presence and apparent tunes seem to bypass the large but seemingly indifferent audience. Tiffany intermittently thumps her drums with ham fists while Danny makes 80s noises from a keyboard.
Still it's impressive to see that after six years SFTOC is pulling in some pretty big names.