As events unfold, for me, this night comes to embody all the reasons that I love small gigs so much. Music In Beta kindly grant free entry for anyone with a Facebook account and the ability to click a button that says ‘Like’. Though, in wanting to repay them somehow, I decide to buy plenty of “the best stout that I’ve ever tasted”.

The Castle Hotel is a small, yet perfectly formed venue in the heart of Manchester’s trendy northern quarter. The capacity may be low but the vibe and decor of this recently refurbished 200+ year old grade 2 listed building make it a perfect place to just hang out, or indeed, take in some cutting edge contemporary music.

I sound like I’m working on commission, don’t I… although I think I’d better mention that I’m friends with both of the support acts and so will refrain from offering a gushing and rather biased opinion of them, should you later discover a link and smell a rat. Having already signed myself up to review Nedry, I was glad to hear Veí and Cyril Snear were also playing, and equally pleased that plenty of other people had arrived early.

Veí, aka Jonn Dean, has a suitcase bulging with electronic gizmos and gadgets. His set builds spontaneously and slowly, using various delicate sounds that he has crafted for, amongst others, his recent EP ‘Thank You For Talking’. It’s an improvised and never to be repeated set of extended tunes, with glitchy break beats at around 120bpm (I can see the counter) that are triggered to build a sereen, music box-esque soundscape. Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and Adem’s early work together as members of Fridge, spring to mind. People at the front pay the ideal compliment during this mellow set by closing their eyes and allowing themselves to be immersed.

Cyril Snear are a completely different kettle of fish, being a loud, raw, in-your-face rock band. The 4 piece Manchester residents have been described as “aggressively chilled” due to a complex ebb and flow of styles. Their collective influences include bands such as Tonnica, Arficeden, Oceansize, Four Tet, Mars Volta, Pavement, Tera Melos and Bjork. A majority of their set comes from their forthcoming second album The Riot Of Colour. ‘Presidential’ stood out in particular, they impressed Nedry enough for them to tweet: “Wow, Cyril Snear are amazing!!!”… so yes, after gathering evidence from credible sources, I can safely say, both supports acts were brilliant.

Nedry, contradictorily, prompt a perfusion of possible influences, sounding like a dubstep remix of The Knife with Bjork on vocals and added post-rock guitar. The fresh-faced London trio invite the crowd to come closer after the intro, before launching into ‘A42’, during which lead singer Ayu Okakita screams high pitched over the sweaty and already dancing crowd. She loops and layers her vocals over the moody pulsing bass lines, sharp beat and cooling chords, created by Matt Parker and Chris Amblin who rock back and forth as they study their workstations.

I’m surprised to see how young they look. While listening at home I recognised a mid 90’s vibe, largely stemming from the early Bjork homage vocals, but also there is something a bit Massive Attack or Tricky about them.

They take it in turns to share guitar duties and adopt a rock stance, the material tonight appears generally louder than their debut album ‘Condors’ would suggest, with 5 new tunes being showcased. Favourites like ‘Apples & Pears’ add a refreshing respite from this frenetic and exhilarating set, before the bar is raised when ‘Scattered’ and ‘Havana Nights’ draw things to a close. A hot, sticky and happy crowd fight over the setlists on the stage and chat with the exhausted and spent band, who look to have enjoyed themselves as much as everyone else in the room.

Unless well hidden from my interweb search engine, the new material was fresh to everyone’s ears tonight and, impressively, drew an immediate reaction. The forthcoming album ‘In A Dim Light’ is hotly anticipated and due to arrive early in the new year.

Peter Rea

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