Algiers-12-611x408– FALLOW CAFE, MANCHESTER –

Fallow Cafe is the venue for this evening’s gig headlined by Sheffield duo Algiers. This is my first visit to the venue, opened after the people behind the The Ruby Lounge took over and rebranded what was the original Trof site in Fallowfield. I arrived to learn technical difficulties would delay the start of the show, but an hour later when doors open, proceedings get underway so quickly that as I queue up the stairs to get in, the first band of the night, Bad Grammar, are already on stage.

It was a good choice to have Bad Grammar open, they set the tone for the evening well. I’m not sure how frontman and guitarist Ben Forrester makes as much noise as he does. The band’s first single ‘Tie Or Die’ seems to have too much guitar to be played by one man, but he manages. Slomo are second up and despite only being a three-piece they seem very crowded in the venue’s tiny stage area. Maybe the stage has been shrunken for the evening, since only one band actually has a third member, but I’m not sure a five or six piece band would even fit into this place. Slomo treat us to their own brand of rock ‘n’ roll, and despite suggesting mid-way through their performance they are about to play some quieter songs, the two tracks that follow still aren’t especially quiet, though they are my favourite two of their set.

By the time Algiers make it to the stage the room is packed, opening song ‘Northern Brute’ demonstrates why so many people are here to see them. It gets loud but always remains extremely well controlled and the melody is never lost behind the guitar and drums. Algiers released their debut album You’re The Captain earlier this week and its opening track and their new single ‘Mother’ is the second song of the set. It starts to look as though we’re going to get the whole album in order when the album’s second track ‘Miles And Miles Of Rosary Beads’ follows that. In the end we didn’t quite hear the whole album tonight, but we came close.

There’s not a lot of chatter between songs, the band point this out themselves exclaiming “Now we’ve got an album there’ll be less talking” they do however have time to name check an embarrassed looking Kevin Foy for his help in getting the band’s album made. My favourite two songs from the record are ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Flowers’ and I was looking forward to seeing them both live for the first time. I was not disappointed, played back-to-back they were my favourite songs of this live performance too.

This was a sold out gig and in such a small venue there was a noticeable air of excitement. My only criticism of the album when I reviewed it a few days ago was that some of the songs feel like they are missing bass. This is not a problem that I can allege at the live performance. The extra energy of the songs when played live more than covers for there only being two band members on stage.

After closing the show with their album’s title track, people began to filter out and there were smiles aplenty from a crowd that witnessed a performance that more than lived up to expectations. I’m left with no doubt that the best way to enjoy the music of Algiers is live.

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Adam Smith

Silent Radio Editor-in-chief. Watching excellently crafted live music is one of the great pleasures I get to enjoy. Having too often seen excellent bands fail to garner the attention I believe they deserve, I'm here to spread the good word of the under-appreciated musical performer. I encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same. Get in touch if you'd like to do that here.