After a quiet few weeks for gig goers, the Manchester based live music promoters Carefully Planned helped wreck our New Years resolutions of a sober January by hosting the 15th CP All Dayer at Oldham Street institution, The Castle Hotel. I’m eager to see what the day has in stall as its events like this where you tend to come away with a bulging list of bands you need to see again.
Kicking things off at the dangerously early starting time of 3 o’clock is songstress Tekla Szerszynska. Tekla fills the already busy room with her sparse ditties and finger picked guitar. Tiny in stature, her voice and ear for a worldly tune makes her sound larger than she looks. You can tell she is a bit nervous, misplacing a chord here and there but with more gigging experience she’ll no doubt become a pleasant little act.
Next up is Rough Fields who play an impromptu set, one guy with a shit load of equipment. He manages to have a guitar strapped around his neck, one arm straddling the microphone while the other is flicking all sorts of switches creating scenic sounds which wouldn’t be out of place on a nature documentary. The set consists of one, twenty minute long song but time flies by. I would love to see Rough Fields backed by a full-blown lights/image show, which would make them quite surreal, perfect almost for a festival in the middle of nowhere.
Two-piece Suttree keep the show rolling with their Americana drenched tunes. The violin and twelve string guitar combo continues to swap melodies, however it’s a shame the singer doesn’t sing more, as he has a cracking voice. I’m just waiting for him to tug at my heartstrings like a young Ryan Adams, however every time he seems to go for it, they back off and the violin would swoop in to take all the glory.
I’m satisfied with the day’s proceedings so far, however something is missing. It’s a Saturday night and I want to put my party pants on and get this bad boy on the road. When the next band walk on stage, it seems like my prayers have been answered…thank you Sootytern. A four-piece indie guitar band who don’t have any guitars seem like a novelty at first sight, but once you hear that rocking banjo/mandolin combo, I’m soon won over. Within seconds of the opening track, feet are tapping along while there are even a few Yeoowwss thrown in for good measure. It seems that the audience have awoken from their slumber, or maybe the effect of the three or four beers inside everyone’s stretching bellies has started to take a hold. I just love British bands like this, maybe its because I’m not from these isles but it all seems exotic and fun whereas I get the impression British crowds have seen and heard it all before. I think I have found my new favourite band and I will keep an eye out, as they are the kind of act who will be shortly supporting a whole host of bands around the country.
Warm Widow kick off the after dinner slot with a whole heap of noise, playing songs off their ‘Widower’ album which was released by local label White Box Recordings back in 2010. The Manchester based three piece are extremely tight and have a brilliant drummer in Lianne.
At the end of one of their songs a drunken member of the audience starts heckling lead singer Martin, accusing the Widows of stealing a Kraftwerk song. I get the impression that this threw them off a little however it’s still a pretty decent showing and they manage to lift the temperature in the room with people starting to stomp about.
The night has reached that stage where some crazy antics are needed to help push us into our second wind…luckily Super Luxury are here to rock their way into everyone’s nightmares. The music? Well it’s good ol’ heavy rock n roll. The highlight is not the rollicking guitar riffs but the antics of the band from Leeds, who seem intent on trashing the place and getting their kit off. Within minutes of their set starting, drummer Hamish Samsonite is down to his tights while the guitarist continues to harass lead singer Nodwell, knocking him off stage where he proceeds to stalker stare everyone around him. Towards the end of the last song Mr Samsonite has his drum kit heaved onto the dance floor where overly excited audience members bang away with him. The floor around us is bouncing pretty bloody hard. Well played boys, well played.
Following that lot is the Rubber Duck Orchestra who manage to keep everyone in high spirits with their brand of Eastern European folk. It’s like a massive party on stage with the seven members bopping along to the arrangement of instruments on show. They are the kind of band you’d secretly love to have at your wedding if the Mrs wasn’t in charge of organising the big day. The room is packed and chants of “we want more” continue to ring out long after they’ve finished.
With the planned running order smashed to pieces, last band on stage the Cosmic Junk Band only have twenty minutes or so to work the near empty room. The nine-piece (could be more, people seemed to pop up everywhere) are good, jamming their way through their set. The sax player even manages to get a crowd surf in, however I feel the CP guys should have let Rubber Duck Orchestra finish the night off as most of the audience have left after their rollicking performance.
Satisfied and ready for a late night kebab, I leave happy knowing that there is plenty of life left in the local music scene. The best thing about days like today is that there is an act for everyone, and more often than not you discover a new local band that you’d like to see again. Kudos must go out to Carefully Planned’s Matthew Boycott-Garnett for putting on a solid day of tunes.
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