Manchester is Cashier No.9‘s second port of call on their 13 stop tour of the UK. The Belfast band have received rave reviews for their debut album ‘To The Death of Fun’, from myself included (link), and it’s always a pleasure to see a band who’s on the verge of really ‘making it’ in the intimate and plush surrounding of The Deaf Institute. They will be under the watchful eye of a generous crowd tonight, lead here by locally lauded promoters, Now Wave.

The first support have already gigged with the likes of Crystal Stilts and Turin Brakes and so, appropriately, Fetch The Witches ooze confidence. The first couple of tunes seem accomplished but have no real distinguishing features, the 3rd tune ‘Reverie’, however, grabs my attention after a patient build up to a crashing crescendo. They’re like an English, less intimidating version of The Twilight Sad. ‘One Of Many Wolves’ completes the set, the bass is noticeable and the sound is crisp and precise. They appear to have successfully gained some new fans.

Fellow Northern Irish band Kowalski will be joining Cashier No.9 every step of the way on their UK tour, this month. They politely introduce themselves and successfully hush the crowd before their upbeat, indie electro set. With a name like that I was expecting something a little more soulful, taking influence from the film Vanishing Point, which contains the character of the same name… or maybe like Primal Scream’s own tribute to the same film. However, they remind me of Death Cab For Cutie, and at times when the beat is danceable and the synths are cranked up, Delphic. The bassist is in a world of his own and thoroughly enjoying himself, rapidly wobbling his head and stomping around the third of the stage that he’s claimed as his own. Their latest single ‘Get Back’ ends the set in euphoric fashion.

With a band name that derived from a band members memories of a mundane job, Cashier No.9 seem intent on enjoying themselves tonight, winning us over from the start by declaring their love for our city (as is accustomed at some point). A 6th member joins them onstage, providing percussive support with floor toms, shakers and a harmonica… and a waistcoat and trilby. They start as their album does, the bright chords of ‘Goldstar’ have an immediate impact and the late introduction of the harmonica make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. ‘Oh Pity’ has the same affect, the harmonising during the chorus floods the dark hall with sonic sunshine, before a deep bass brings us down for the next verse… and then slowly we rise up again.

Debut single ’42 West Avenue’, from 2008, shows us just how far they have come. The structure is simpler than the new material but they don’t seem to have deviated much from the foundations of this sound. Personal favourite ‘Lighthouse’ brings the house down, the groovy bassline gets you hooked from the start, the band take it in turns to ask their sound engineer to turn up their instruments and microphones, the crowd start to dance and the floor starts shaking. It’s an all-encompassing sound, perfectly formed, and it brings a rare smile to my face. “This ain’t the day” is repeated before a breakdown and a reprise follows a segment of strings. They remind me a little of The Charlatans, here, both in spirit and structure. Glorious, unashamed, alternative rock.

Another older tune ‘When Jackie Shone’ starts like ‘Summer Of ’69’ but progresses into the plodding style of Clinic, with added ZZ Top guitar riffs and solo’s. ‘Goodbye Friend’ is in no way allowed to be their last tune of the night, they return promptly. Bounding onstage, they request for the engineer to crank the volume up further and launch into a cover of ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’ by Them. It’s a stomping 60’s rhythm and blues monster of a tune, with an infectious hook and lyrics that can be shouted with total abandon. Lead singer Daniel Todd wields his axe in the same fashion as Them bassist Alan Henderson and throws back his young Van Morrison-esque haircut, smiling as he sings.

Cashier No.9 have an infectious energy about them, pushing themselves (and their amps) to the limit… and while doing so, having as much fun as possible in an intelligent, controlled and skilled kind of way. I’m generally a fan of the darker side of any kind of music, so the fact that I enjoy Cashier No.9 (and it actually cheers me up?!) comes somewhat as a surprise. They are the guilty pleasure of a moody git. The audiences on the rest of the tour are in for a real treat. Put your fur boots on.

Peter Rea

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