Snapped Ankles


Charlotte Cannon

Deciding early on to remain seated in the school gymnasium-type ‘bench zone’ gives me a chance to observe the rather theatrical lightning setup, in conjunction with the gaudy, oversized disco ball looming over the growing audience (imagine the impact). It actually provides a rather fitting backdrop for the opening act; a singular performer equipped with but a synthesiser, vocals and/or a piano backing track.

Her style is something reminiscent of cocktail jazz (brass instruments = 0); her intriguing vocal phrasing (mimicry of trumpet?) and off-beat lyricism (Ordering pink drinks/I’m 62 years young/Pissing under her door) certainly invoke positive bewilderment from my imagination. Regarding the keyed instrumentation, it essentially provides the backbone of the performance in a black and white noir film set in a dilapidated mansion sort of way, the tone progressively becoming darker as its end approaches.

Critically speaking, I feel the lack of any sort of beat (even just a drum machine or any percussive commodity?) and the limitations of a one-person show feel to me that the full potential of this act isn’t quite realised; though that isn’t to say I wasn’t impressed as she certainly earns the respect of the audience in persevering in spite of the odd technical difficulty and is a perfect fit for the idiosyncratic theatrics the next act would only amplify further.

Snapped Ankles

And out from the shadows of whatever forested dwelling they absconded from seeps out 4 individuals dressed more appropriately for a poorly financed Ed Wood homage (I try to avoid commenting on appearance but necessity dictates). The vocalist/’hits objects that make odd sounds but isn’t quite large enough to be the drum kit’ guy frequently remarks on Manchester’s burgeoning construction industry (or “crane industry” to quote), as if implying that the tools afforded to modern civilisation are in fact the arch-nemesis of the serene woodland they claim to be from.

Noting the delay (30 mins?) in their set, I attempt to take inventory of their equipment; a particularly unsubtle bassist that on occasion switches to what looks like the bigger synthesiser’s son (an organ? a dwarf synth? I couldn’t say), a drummer whose ability to cope with the speed and intensity demanded of them (while wearing that rug thing) certainly deserves some kind of medal (perhaps Greenpeace will oblige), a Rick Wakeman-type (without the prog over-indulgence) synthesiser player that in conjunction with the modulator set-up and a theremin presumably geared towards inducing as much of an electronic maelstrom as possible (white noise origin=unknown) and the almost Gary Numan-worship of the vocals add the finishing touch to a concoction that the burgeoning crowd would be helpless to evade.

Thinking myself safe from what is unfolding, I soon realise I presumed too much; a ghillie-clad humanoid startled me as I fixated on my note taking (the work of devoted fans or invaders from the greenery?), it descended from the benches into the mob (alongside other collaborators situated around the venue). As I observe the well orchestrated climax that more or less entangles the audience into the vegetative grasp of the Snapped Ankles, a lyric mentioned earlier comes to mind… “I’m not a businessman”. That may be true for now, but the success that should be afforded to you will likely turn that aforementioned quote into a contradiction.

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Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.