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Sam Smith & Company / Events Untold / The Room / Heseltine / Ryan Jarvis
Dry Bar Manchester - 3.2.12

Friday night saw a selection of Waterloo Road stars grace the distinctly unglamorous and not so red carpets of Dry Live on Friday night. But as this is Designer Magazine and not Heat Magazine, it’s only right that we get onto the serious business of the musical offerings.

First to play was Ryan Jarvis. With vocals sounding a little like Liam Fray from The Courteeners, he impressed with beautifully simple acoustic songs that began to thaw the icy hearts of the audience seeking shelter from the sub-zero temperatures outside. Ryan avoided treading into twee singer/songwriter territory with deadpan lyrics and blunt northernisms, and topped off his set with a crowd pleasing cover of Sally Cinnamon and an impromptu encore.

Next up were Heseltine (perhaps named after the English cricketer, or the Tory politician that ousted Thatcher. Neither makes any more sense than the other). The Bury/Bolton four pieces appeared to have bussed in the fans, and were the night’s only justification for needing a stage barrier. This was made all the more apt during the cover of Mile’s Kane’s ‘Come Closer’. Their set featured some slick funk-tinged songs, plenty of adrenaline fuelled indie rock and a cover of Pete & The Pirate’s ‘Mr. Understanding’.

The Room returned to Dry Live, taking a detour from the general loud rock proceedings of the night to play a little more soulful music. The anti-fairytale of ‘Magic Man’ provided comic relief in the style and accent of parody band ‘The Lancashire Hotpots’. Though when all seriousness was resumed, The Room impressed with melodic simplicity.

Events Untold were the penultimate band to play. They were like musical spam reconstituted of members of the recently defunct The Sticks and actor Will Rush, resulting in an interesting and unexpected result. The set generally consisted of rock, heavily flavoured with metal influences which were ever present in the song and ‘Big Brother’. This could have been about an Orwellian dystopia, or equally it could have been an ode to Davina McCall, it was difficult to tell. The trio produced an impressive volume considering their small number, and showed signs of noisy, head-banging and exciting things to come.

Finally, headliners Sam Smith and Company took to the stage, not before their friend/roadie/chief band whip had hounded every member of the audience personally, preaching the gospel according to Sam Smith. I was promised “Alex Turner plus songs plus looks” a mathematically flawed and somewhat contradictory sales pitch. In reality, this comparison was miles off, and my own expectation - based on the band’s name - of a Mumfordy tweed and flat capped outfit, was also wildly misguided. Sam Smith and Co. were rowdy rock and rollers that completed the night in a raucous fashion.

At a time when everyone from NME to your grandma are making predictions on who will be the musical successes of 2012, Designer Magazine bypassed the hype and rhetoric, and hosted a brilliant night of music.

Lucy Holt

 



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