From The Kites of San Quentin

From The Kites of San Quentin


Being a city fattened on a diet of indie rock, Manchester isn’t famous for its incubation of electro-inclined sonic innovators. The scene that exists has been forced to become self-sufficient in order to survive. In some respects our nightlife is illustrious and unparalleled, but in terms of variety of genres, instruments and nationalities, what’s on offer at popular venues remains relatively homogenous.

It’s hardly surprising then that a band famed for living outside the box should generate curiosity and sell out their first headline gig of new material from a long-awaited debut album. As well as attracting interest on a national scale in the past, From The Kites of San Quentin have long been local favourites and their audience is clearly happy to see them re-focus.

Tonight’s set is a coup for the trio, who thrive as performers placing an emphasis on all of the human senses. From the vibrant lights and intimate surrounds to the politically charged montages and moving landscapes projected onstage, they appear to be out to conjure a complete sensory experience rather than a song or two.

Alison Carney is a charismatic frontwoman with her signature otherworldly falsetto tones and, despite admitting to nerves, proves a mesmerising performer onstage.

The new tracks showcased tonight feel like a progression from the band’s two EPs, with lengthier tracks and a smoother assimilation of elements. Degrees of prog and psych rock, ambient, electro and trip-hop are woven well to produce a better honed signature sound as the band works to carve a niche that sets them apart.

It would be too easy and a probable injustice to identify From the Kites of San Quentin’s sound with Pink Floyd and the Doors or to compare them to Massive Attack, Portishead or a mellowed KOAN Sound. There does seem to be an affiliation, however, with that Bristol underground aesthetic – working to evolving ideas and proudly facing the direction of the unexplored.

From the Kites of San Quentin are a shot of adrenalin into Manchester’s music scene and uphold a more innovative, diverse approach to live performance – highly recommended.

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