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:: No Tokyo :: Lowline ::
28 May 2011 / Sound Control / Manchester
By Adam Wheeldon

On an evening where a certain Football match was occupying the minds of the red half of the city, the opportunity to take in the atmosphere of the biggest game of the season and follow it up with another fine showcase of local talent would make Lowline's album launch gig a special occasion, whatever the result. Unfortunately, the idea to show the Champions League Final on a 'big screen', as advertised before the gig, didn't turn out to be as attractive as first billed. Filtering the game through a projector made the picture very fuzzy, and with delayed radio commentary running in the background, this resulted in many people deciding to watch the magic of Messi on the smaller, yet clearer screens in the downstairs bar. Despite the initial disappointment of the result, being beaten by the overall brilliance of Barcelona and the style of their play made defeat a little easier for this United fan to take, and with No Tokyo about to take to the stage after the final whistle, this became a very welcome distraction.

Following on from the success of their e.p. launch at 42's a few weeks back, No Tokyo are on a high at the moment and tonight's performance was an explosive display of confidence even by their continually high standards. The sound mix was raucous throughout, so much so that it was unfortunate that Daz Whittaker's vocals were inaudible for part of the set as the swirling guitar played a prominent part as did the fierce nature of the bass which increased the intensity on the likes of 'Flickering Lights' and 'Ego Healer' and made their unique brand of space-rock sound even more powerful. With an impressive lighting display adding to the fervour of the performance, the band are typically energetic throughout with frontman Daz prowling the stage and spending most of his time at the barrier as 'More Than You'll Ever Know' has the crowd in dancing mode. Despite the vocals being low in the mix, traditional set closer '40 Skies' provide yet another welcome reminder of how No Tokyo are making all the right noises in the city right now with their epic, skyscraping sound that is being so well received wherever they play. Long may it continue.

For Lowline, tonight is the culmination of many years' hard work and soul searching which has seen the band emerge from various setbacks with a self-financed album that showcases their impassioned, anthemic sound to maximum effect. On stage they take their album to an extra level with the gritty nature of their dark yet uplifting sound sprawling across the venue with added emotion and vibrancy. It is an impressive turn out as the venue is virtually full which showcases the loyalty that Lowline have after such a long absence away honing their craft. They respond to this dedication in kind as the likes of 'Monitors' and 'Blinded' are powerful slabs of brooding psychadelic-rock with emotive choruses that get the venue moving to their passionate sound. It is a pattern that is echoed throughout the set as it is a performance full of energy and angst with 'Outside' and 'Lost Touch' reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at their most raucous . An infectious display that has seen Lowline return to the live stage in dramatic fashion, and with an album full of anthemic beauty finally surfacing, the future is looking a lot brighter with the band becoming a welcome addition to the many exciting guitar bands that this City has to offer right now. Now what was the score again?

No Tokyo

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