– THE NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER –

Nine Black Alps have lined up two support acts to accompany them for their gig at Night and Day, Former Bullies and The Witches, both of whom have a similar grungey/rocky style to their own.

Former Bullies are first up, and they don’t do a lot wrong. Their set is, to excuse the cliché, tight or some might say uptight, as they never really relax into a rhythm and the odd moments when they do are their best. Unfortunately, nobody is keeping score on their technical ability, in fact, not many people seem to be paying attention at all. One guy even takes it upon himself to do a spot of tidying up and clears an entire table of glasses and bottles.

Next are The Witches, a band Manchester can be proud of, and a welcome energiser for the crowd. They’re a lot less eager to please and operate within their own world, getting on with the job of making music and their songs are multilayered, atmospheric and above all interesting. Towards the end, sweaty and disorientated singer, Gib Lyn, looks out at the crowd and asks “Do you like us?”, as though it has only just occurred to him, but there are a few encouraging whoops from the crowd, confirming that The Witches have cast their spell.

By time Nine Black Alps take to the stage there is a definite drift towards the front. Three plainly dressed men take to the stage, which seems a bit of an anti-climax after the hectic messiness of The Witches, but their set begins at a similar pace and their style is upbeat with a pop/rock edge to it. Their songs are punchy and direct and have a lot less angst in the lyrics than a typical grunge song, with frontman Sam Forrest himself seeming in a singularly good mood, taking a short break to tell the crowd “God, I feel good” before continuing his journey.

Former single, ‘Unsatisfied’, has been used in an episode of One Tree Hill, and they have spent a lot of time touring in America including playing at SXSW. Given their style it is clear to see why they would go down well in the States, but, they seem to be recycling a tried and tested formula. One main criticism of the Manchester music scene is its failure to shake off the past and produce something new, and while Nine Black Alps are not reminiscent of any ‘Madchester’ sound, they’re still essentially replicating what has gone before.

They would benefit from fusing their musical influences and producing something new. Forget post-grunge, what about nu-grunge?

When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of different music from House to Heavy Metal depending on how old I was, what I was doing at the time and the kind of people I was hanging out with. So I can safely say I am open to most things as long as it’s good but obviously that is entirely subjective and open to interpretation, which I guess is what Silent Radio is all about. However, I would say that overall my alliances lie with Electronic Music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having just returned from Sonar I felt a warm glow being surrounded by so many people who appreciate Electronic Music but there were times when I became a little jaded and questioned its integrity especially after seeing Katy B perform for the 3RD TIME! Will Katy B still be remembered in six years? I doubt it. But I guess that is the nature of Pop Music in particular; some stand the test of time, some don't. I think having grown up and lived in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by the club scene post- hacienda and the music at nights like Electric Chair which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. Basically anything with a groove, I like. But this is not confined to Dance Music I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook such as Wild Beasts, music that captures an emotion and has a heart. While at University I was also listening to music that didn’t really have much of a heart but more of a pacemaker in terms of the emotion it conveyed and that was Electro-Clash, a completely non- sensical and at times ridiculous genre that borrowed elements from House, Italio Disco and Techno and re- formed them in to one fun, but ridiculous package. While at University, I had my own radio Show where I tried to convey some of my musical tastes acquired from up north and had guest DJ's from a night in New Cross called Zombie Disco, with Jamie from Zombie Disco now working with Lindstrom. We also borrowed the services of Rina from Ladytron who had a guest DJ slot. Anyhow, I think it is safe to say I like a wide range of music apart from Katy B, sorry Katy.