I was having a conversation the other day with a friend about why the Church of England has lost favour. My argument was that the C of E blows in the wind too much, adapting itself too readily to modern trends thus debasing its integrity as a moral authority. It should be setting the standards not following them. So after I’ve torn myself into the drizzly summer night and made my way reluctantly to St Philips Church in Salford what do I find? A leaflet offering, “Today’s Service: Bombay Bicycle Club and Friends”, a bar, and a prayer hall full of drunk parishioners supping Satan’s drink. Point proven! But, simultaneously you have to hand it to them. Without this show St Philips would be just another empty church struggling to fix the leaking roof. The bar takings will help turn the tide. Plus the acoustics are excellent, and the oddly Ancient Greek settings are pretty imbuing in the congregation a placid sense of civility that might otherwise be lacking.

I come in and watch Lucy Rose finishing the last two songs of her set. She impresses. Like Laura Marling she combines a melancholy vulnerability with a noticeable underlying toughness that gives her voice a captivating edge. I like her and wish I’d come a bit earlier to catch the rest of her set.

I’m on my own so I hit the bar (pretty softly as it’s a church), buy a drink, and talk to a stranger about the implications of a stage invasion up to and onto the altar. It would have to be civilised with a few pleases and thank yous, and sitting instead of jumping and clapping. The last time I say Melodica, Melody and Me was at Mad Ferret a year or two back. It was the musical highlight of an excellent festival, and MMM were the beneficiaries of a much more raucous stage invasion. Where the sunshine of Platt Fields provided an airy, carefree flex, this rainy evening and the sombre surroundings add a serious gravitas to proceedings. The band looks older and slightly nervous – now they know how a vicar/priest feels.

It’s a lovely if cagey set by a band with a sound that’s hard to pinpoint. A bit reggae, but not really, the singer enunciates like Johnny Flynn, but the rest of the band are more West African than plumb English (in style if not in ancestry). The Kora, a 21 string harp-flute that sounds like raindrops in a rainforest (you might have seen a toothy guy playing one in Piccadilly Gardens), is brought in halfway through to accentuate this point. Occasionally MMM sounds like the soundtrack to a Malibu advert, but mainly they throw bouncy acoustic pop and melancholy with equal measures that thoroughly charms. The instrumentation is unremittingly phenomenal. When the singer isn’t supplying tales of heart ache, the rest of them are playing notes that are far more than just filler. They are a band in name and essence. Essentially, these guys are fucking awesome and on the ascent. Look the other way at your peril…not that they’re dangerous…I hope!

Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...