Gang Colours (Will Ozanne) falls under my personal classification of dark, underground, glitchy beat, mood music. The shoegazing electronic Southampton lad was brought to the attention of Gilles Peterson and his Brownswood label by Ghostpoet, resulting in the February release of his debut album ‘The Keychain Collection’. Heavyweight endorsements and high profile remixers have led to the selling of all tickets for the LP launch gig at London’s Vortex (March 8th) with another date swiftly added to appease demand, in April.

Music in Beta generously continue to offer Manchester’s spoilt-for-choice gigging citizens with free live music, their first come first served policy may soon mean you’ll need to arrive early, so as not to miss out… great news for the support acts.

Veí (Jonn Dean) returns to Beta’s roster after supporting Nedry at this same venue on bonfire night. His style is a perfect compliment to the headliner and many developments have been made since that November performance. The suitcase full of components has been replaced with a neat guitar case full of more advanced components, and a laptop. He appears to have more control now, adding extra depth and complexity to his organic, cinematic compositions. He expertly flips a dizzying array of switches, clinically toying with the various loops using a colourful Kaos pad, while controlling the intensity and volume of the synch pads by hovering his fingerless gloved hand, Jedi-like, over a sensor. ‘Faceplant’ is a highlight that’s guaranteed to get your head nodding. A blissful groove is created with layered guitar parts, over tinny drum raps and hi-hats.

Gang Colours make a point of thanking Veí, Will appears to be very comfortable when talking to the crowd on the microphone… a rare attribute for a British musician. To his left, Ryan stands behind a control desk, triggering the samples, while Will largely plays keys and sings. His vocal and piano segments can’t help but draw comparisons with James Blake, combined with cityscape atmospherics from the likes of Burial and maybe even some MJ Cole-esque UK Garage, revived from the beginning of the century.

We’re treated to an amusing story as an introduction for each tune. ‘Heavy Petting’ was named after a sign in a swimming pool, ‘Botley In Bloom’ is about his hometowns annual gardening competition exploits and ‘On Compton Bay’ was written about a trip to The Isle of Wight. I lived in Southampton for 3 years and have been to the Isle of Wight, his take on the vibe in these locations stray from my memories of these places, his music generally reminds me more of serene, summer evening urban sprawls. Massive Attack/Craig Armstrong’s ‘Weather Storm’ springs to mind when the keyboard is at the forefront… panning electrical fuzz sounds mimic gentle waves lapping on the shore in the background. This would be a good time for some rain.

Each tune seems to end abruptly, Will’s speaking voice and the crowds enthusiastic applause snap you from the chilled trance that you’re slowly lulled into. The story that introduces ‘To Repel Ghosts’ exposes his love for the artist Basquiat, the tune being named after a painting that was made for Andy Warhol.  He relates his writing style to that of the artist, presumably meaning that he channels a stream of consciousness and records moments of clarity and inspiration, however and whenever the mood take him.

‘Fancy Restaurant’ was the first single. “I know you don’t care that much about money, but I’m gonna make some and take you out”. The lyric perfectly sums us his confident, smooth persona. The attentive crowd are loud and appreciative, tonight has served as a perfect warmup for Gang Colours before the album launch in London, and more than likely, a measured rise to greater fame.

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.