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FESTIVAL OF BRITON (TUES)
:: Crestfallen :: Bryan Glancy :: Indigo Jones ::
07 October 2003 / 42nd Street / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

Indigo Jones / Bryan Glancy / Crestfallen
"Festival Of Briton", Retro Bar 7th October 2003

Crestfallen are a three piece: singer with acoustic guitar, bassist and drummer. They play inoffensive folky pop-rock with strong, soaring hearftelt vocals. Unfortunately this is going to mean there's a rather obvious comparison for the lazy reviewer so I'm taking copyright on the line "I Am Not Kloot" right now. The singer, in check shirt, baseball cap and vaguely baggy jeans looks more like an IT support tech than an acoustic troubadour; in fact only the bassist really looks like he's in a band. Songs don't stray too far lyrically from the traditions of the territory - lines about "losing control" and "why does the world turn its back on me" - but I kind of like them anyway.

I like them because they're not trying to be anything they aren't. They play it tight and professional, with not a hint of frayed-jumper singer-songwriter amateurishness. The lyrics may not be hugely profound but they seem real and honest. No gimmicks, no frills, no bullshit. If you bought the first David Gray album when it was out and still secretly like it but keep it hidden in case your friends see it and think you like his recent sludge too, go and see Crestfallen.

Now, Bryan Glancy. Was there ever a time when Bryan Glancy wasn't plying his trade around town? Those who only know of him through his past collaborations with John Bramwell (The Mouth) and Mark Burgess (Sons Of God) may be missing the fact that he's a talent to match either of them, he just never got round to doing a lot with it. Tonight he looks like he's just woken up. It's a short set, accompanied capably by a violinist.

Glancy's is a world of afternoon drinking in the smoky pubs in the less done-up bits of the Northern Quarter; of cheap drugs and of not-quite-there relationships. Sex ("Five O'Clock") and drugs ("Morphine") are depicted as just something to do, and his sublime voice draws you inside. Finally he takes on the city itself. "This is a new one, it's called Manchester, and it's about... um, Manchester". A tale of people and places, drifting between Night & Day and the Roadhouse, seeing Elbow in Big Hands, it's a bittersweet anthem to a world that's his and mine and probably yours too, and captures the spirit of our city more than a million glossy Commonwealth games pamphlets or Student Guides ever could. I'd have liked a few more songs, but I think the bar was calling him.

If Glancy's the sound of a misspent afternoon then Indigo Jones are what happens a whole lot later on. So laid-back they have to sit down, their stoner country blues isn't normally the kind of thing I'd touch with a long stick but actually it’s quite enjoyable. There’s a vague hint of REM before they got stadium-itis, and singer Scott produces a small harmonica for a cover of the Lemonheads’ “Big Gay Heart”. They’re certainly doing something not many people in Manchester are doing, and it’s rather refreshing. All in all a great evening’s music – and in my local, too!


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