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The Vibe / The Articles / Minutes To Recover / Tainted Memories / Morphine Ghost
Designer Magazine Pop Punk Special - 30.6.12

Designer Magazine bring June to a raucous close with a showcase of the latest offerings from the north-west pop-punk scene. Morphine Ghost and Minutes To Recover of Manchester are joined on the bill by Warrington’s Tainted Memories, The Vibe of Westhoughton, and The Articles of Wigan.

First to shake up Dry Bar is Morphine Ghost – a band that has gone from strength to strength since its first gigs with Designer Magazine. This is a slick performance; led by red-haired frontwoman Laura, the music is dark and breakdowns aplenty complement the fast, duelling guitars. As they themselves point out, though, they do have the odd bouncy tune beneath the metal-coated punk-rock; their cool riffs and rousing gang vocals are never more impressive than on the set’s closing track. A fine way to end a fine set.

Tainted Memories take up the darkness baton and run with it, but the lads wrap melodies around their core of rumbling basslines, crunching guitars and yearning vocals to give an enjoyable upbeat contrast. Although the crowd gets a cover of You Me At Six’s ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, these youngsters have a bit more attitude than any comparison with that band might suggest. In a set made memorable by a good measure of confidence onstage, the Warrington boys definitely set their stall out as ones to keep an eye on.

Minutes To Recover come packing "whoah-ohs" from minute one, and the crowd reacts well to the mood upswing. It’s much more than just good-times pop-rock, though – these guys have the speed and intensity of an early New Found Glory, and that frontman has some serious bounce in him. The band clearly demonstrate their pop-punk credentials with a rousing Blink 182 cover before soaring through an epic, crashing finale. Great stuff all-round.

The Articles are next to give us what they’ve got, and what they’ve got is the ability to the crowd involved. The boys find the punters responsive, but perhaps that’s more to do with the intriguingly diverse set being played out before them. There’s a grandeur to the sound that hints at The Killers, but The Articles have much more edge – their breakdowns pack one hell of a punch, for a start. Jesse J’s ‘Pricetag’ gets a good reworking, but then the melodies and guitar licks occasionally beckon more towards All-American Rejects territory. Pleasingly difficult to place, this is a tight set from a promising band.

The Vibe are the final act to hit the stage and do so in a much more rock’n’roll fashion. There’s attitude underpinning the sound – a grittier punk feeling that is loud, distorted and happy about it. Thumping rhythms yield to high-speed frenzies, though the set is not without its more heartfelt, reflective moments. A canny Arctic Monkeys cover keeps the attitude but shows the band’s musical flexibility, and the night ends on a top note. Start to finish, and via a whole heap of genres and tributes, the show kept up a fantastic tempo. The future of pop-punk could well be in safe hands if it’s left to the north-west.

Sean Gibson

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