The Versions plus guests - Dry Bar Manchester - 2.9.11
As summer winds down and a return to school, work and more rain looms ominously on the greying horizon, Designer Magazine hosted a gig at Dry Bar on the 2nd September, upping the ante for the new term and new season, with a mention in CityLife magazine, candles, and even the possibility of the school disco favourites - dry ice and lasers.
First up was the thoroughly loud Robot House, who, despite moments of undistinguishable screaming, came into their own when they decelerated a little. Heavy rock with a distinctly’ Brian Molko from Placebo’ vocal attracted a reasonable crowd and kicked off proceedings in a riotous fashion.
Next to play was The Vu, a band whose sound was as varied as the ages of their members. From the ethereal and Foals-like to the ska tinged rock and pretty much everything in between, there was barely a genre they didn’t touch upon in their set, and the variety certainly made for interesting listening.
Acoustic outfit Rescue The Eskimo took to the stage next. Singer Lizzie stole the show, with her soulful vocals and brilliant lyrics, such as the hilariously witty, quasi-feminist ‘Flat Chest’, like a Kate Nash/Laura Marling hybrid. The set featured some innovative percussion, Noah and the Whale style folk-pop joviality and the increasingly popular A-Team Ed Sheeran cover, which they got away with due to the aforementioned vocals. Hopefully these guys will feature at the top of a Designer Magazine bill sometime in the near future.
Reigning Magpie were the penultimate band of the night, with and warm vocals and jangly, feel-good intros, opening in to something with a bit more rock ‘n’ roll bite. They struck the balance between nostalgia and having an original sound perfectly; quintessentially Mancunian, but thankfully avoiding most of the stereotypes that come with it. Aesthetically, Reigning Magpie looked like a slightly scruffy, young Elbow, and had some modestly uplifting tunes to match.
Finally, headliners The Versions returned to Dry Bar, bringing with them an enthusiastic team of stage raiders, shirt removers and dance negotiators. The Brit Rock four piece quite literally wore their inspiration on their sleeves, from the likes of the obligatory cover of Oasis’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and the very Libertines-style jacket. Unusually for a headline act, they added another cover to their set, their version of Kaiser Chiefs’ ‘Ruby’ which fitted aptly with the no-frills, chantable rock.
The gig was a truly mixed bag, featuring some interesting prospects to brighten up the horizon and ease you into autumn, one band at a time.
Words: Lucy Holt
Catch the Versions on Nov 4th at Dry Bar where there's rumours of a cover of this Manchester classic Girl Next Door by themandigans