The Parrots

The Parrots


Promoters Strange Days are known for bringing a wide variety of international guitar musicians to Manchester, ranging from solo acoustic folk, to manic garage rock. Tonight, our headliners are Spanish fun-loving surf garage 3-piece, The Parrots. They’ve recently released a split 7″ of covers on Burger Records with Hinds, who chose The Headcoats ‘Davey Crockett’. Soup Kitchen’s basement is an ideal choice for such a gig; many a pint may be spilled in what promises to be a chaotic drunken fiesta.

There’s a lot of leather onstage. Support comes from ex-Brown Brogue and Husband of PINS singer Faith Holgate, Mark Vernon. It’ll take me a while to remember the name of his new band in full, but after just a few bars of their set I realise that it’ll be well worth the effort. Peace and Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali (PALBMA), for reasons yet to be discovered, appear to be named after a business located on Princess Street in Manchester. They’re a four-piece; guitarist/singer, bassist, synthesisisist and drummer, who are as likely to play moody pounding dark psych rhythms as they are frantic garage guitar – they’re not dissimilar to Thee Oh Sees.

They have a couple of tunes on Soundcloud, through Stolen Bones Records – the second tonight ‘Hollow Bones’ is up on there, as well as ‘Gave My Heart Away (hey!)’, but the live performance far exceeds the recordings. Mark is well at ease onstage, working the crowd while gyrating and flinging his guitar about. Together, they look and sound like a band ready for great things. They’ll be back here on Thursday as guests of  Sham Bodie, and are supporting The Black Tambourines at The Fallow Cafe later this month. I’m very much hoping to go to that one.

Spaniards The Parrots don’t mess about; their first frenetic fun-loving tune is over in around 60 seconds. All three of them are very good at shouting,  which can only come from experience. They’re practically playing a gig each night this month, and are obviously having the time of their lives. Diego, Larry and Alex blast their way through a set compromising 3-minute catchy sun-drenched garage tunes, similar to The Black Lips or Night Beats.

4 songs in, it’s the slower ‘To The People Who Showed Me Their Love While I Was Here’ that I marked as a highlight. The aforementioned cover of The Almighty Defender’s ‘All My Loving’, and ‘Will You Be My Girl’ also stand out as the atmosphere starts to become looser. Some Spanish girls near the front have been enjoying themselves throughout, but most others had been typically British.

They tell us the next song will be their last, and finish abruptly, to silence… and then start again. This successfully ignites the crowd, who realise their night may be over too soon. The singer lends his guitar to the bassist, leaving him free to explore the venue with his microphone. A drunken punter comically replaces him under the lights and starts playfully removing his shirt, while the wandering band member mingles with the audience, singing “need somebody to love”. Delight almost turns to disaster as he rather painfully smacks his head on the beam in the middle of the room. He continues while lying on the floor… possibly with concussion. He seems ok. I couldn’t see any blood, thank god.

Congratulations to the band for eventually goading the crowd to cut loose and enjoy themselves. It was a great set, and who knows, eventually maybe they’ll release an album after a series of singles and EP’s. Or maybe their not bothered with all that? Whatever their mentality, it’s working just fine for them. Tomorrow is another city and another gig.

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Peter Rea

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