After a one-minute walk from the tram stop, I’m out of the cold, foggy night, down a flight of stairs and into the relative warmth of The Roadhouse. A hand stamp from the friendly door staff and the purchase of an Irish stout later, and I’m all set for the evening’s two bands.

Tonight is part of the acclaimed Underachievers Please Try Harder series of club/gig nights, and first up on stage is local youngsters BAD GRAMMAR. The band comprises Silent Radio’s very own Lucy Brown on drums and Benjamin Forrester on guitar/vocals. Ben explains that it’s totally unplanned that they are both wearing delightful festive jumpers. I love the contrast between their butter-wouldn’t-melt appearance/chat and an energy and aggression Hüsker Dü would’ve been proud of as they perform their songs. Popular music is littered with ungrammatical lyrics (a personal favourite being R.E.M.’s “don’t threaten me with angry”), but in Bad Grammar’s set I don’t notice any shocking lyrical manifestations of the band’s name, at least not from the words I can make out above the thrash of chords and squeals of feedback. Certainly an enjoyable set all in all, and I’ll be back to see this Manchester duo again, for sure.

By way of supplementary and unexpected entertainment, three particularly “enthusiastic” dancers at the front of the crowd are afforded extra room by other audience members. The dancers are appreciated by Bad Grammar, and the dancing girl has a certain grace to her movements… but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. A fellow gig-goer comments that she’s just a dick who thinks she’s Kate Bush. As for the other two dancers, for reasons of self-preservation, everyone around me is keeping one eye on them. An accidental foot stomp from one of those big lads bouncing around would inevitably result in multiple broken metatarsals.

“We’re THE LOVELY EGGS, from Lancaster, England,” announces guitarist/singer Holly Ross. The band is a two-piece usually, but during its current 14-date UK tour there’s an extra member because Holly is drinking (non-alcoholic Beck’s beer) for two. By now the floor is packed, dashing anyone’s hopes of further extravagant dancing, but the crowd is lively, and most folks present seem to know the band’s funny, often childlike words well enough to sing along. Holly gels superbly with other Egg, David Blackwell (drums/backing vocals), and on opening number tonight ‘Wildlife’, the title track of their brand-new album, they combine to produce a short burst of sound from their respective instruments every few seconds, as Holly delivers a rapid-fire, spoken-word vocal about flies, spiders, slugs, birds and other creatures in the yard.

‘People are Twats’, a little ditty imbued with a northern English whimsy thanks to Holly’s accent and schoolgirl delivery, is soon followed by latest single, the rocking ‘I Just Want Someone to Fall in Love With’. The merch table features football-style scarves adorning the name of the next song, ‘Fuck It’, and the tune brings one audience member to raise his scarf in both hands and sway side-to-side like he’s on the terraces. ‘Green Beans’, according to Holly, is an ironic song because David doesn’t like veg. Next up is my favourite song of the night, ‘Have You Ever Heard a Digital Accordion?’, which goes mental at the end in a frenzy of distorted vocals and guitar. Another song about food follows, and this is called ‘Food’.

David, usually busy on his drum kit, also comes in for occasional snippets of lead vocals, but he gets his true moment of glory as they perform ‘David’s Turn’, the first song they’ve done that David wrote. The joke is that it’s a very short song. The tunes race by and the band finishes its set with ‘I Like Birds but I Like Other Animals Too’, from their first album. Departing the stage to rapturous applause, it’s clear there’s a lot of affection for this band and its feel-good songs. These Eggs crack me up, and I reckon that anyone who shares their sense of humour will love them too.

Steve Jones

Apart from about five years in total, I've always lived in Manchester. Shame about the weather and lack of beach, but I do like it here. My all-time favourite gig would have to be The National at the Academy in about 2010, although I did get Matt Berninger's mic cable wrapped around my neck (that was a close one). My guilty pleasures include the music of Bruce Springsteen, and I also felt a bit bad for feeling such joy at seeing Counting Crows live in the early 2000s. I recommend Lifter Puller, a rather obnoxious and unpleasant-sounding band that I can't seem to get enough of, even though they are long disbanded. Amongst my Silent Radio gigs, I was blown away by John Murry. I'll let you know if anything tops that one.