Puressence / Omerta - Manchester Academy 3 - 10.09.05

Manchester's Puressence have never really been fawned upon by the press in the same way other Manchester bands have, their label Island dropped them after poor sales....and yet here we witness a band who inspire devotion with every single song they play and a band that with the right backing still have the potential to deliver great things

First up though are hotly tipped new band on the block, Omerta. In their brief career they've already notched up support slots with the likes of Hard-Fi, received copious radio play on XFM and Radio 1 and sold out their debut EP in a matter of hours. What makes Omerta so special is the fact that they take from the same influences as the Killers and The Bravery and then infuse it with a gritty Northern realism with lyrics that can be as cutting as anything Morrissey ever put to paper. Vocalist Aaron Starkie shares some of his mannerisms with the bequiffed one, but he has his own signature move of the ski-bob down to a T. The singles "Everyone Is Frozen" and One Chance" are played to an enraptured audience as the machines turn against them as they deliver what they call an acoustic set. Definitely one's to look out for at this years In The City!!!

(Pic: Omerta)

Starting off with a beautiful rendition of "Standing In Your Shadow" Puressence prove why they are one of Manchester's best kept secrets. Stripped back to the bare essentials it's now a haunting Twin Peaks-esque production where a simply piano refrain is played over and Jimmy's vocals soar over it. Being resident Manc's we've seen the band countless times over the years, but never before have they just come on stage and disarmed the rabble rousers with a torch song so torching that the moshpit must wait for 5 minutes. Other classics such as "Sharpen Up The Knives" and "This Feeling" are bolstered up and given the epic delivery they truly deserve while the new songs have a lease of life that gets back what they lost on that difficult third album.

As I took a 5 minute break at the back of Academy 3, one of their fans suggested Jimmy should go on X-Factor to raise the bands profile...only to be rightfully derided seconds later by his mate. While it may be the wrong medium Puressence certainly need to do something to raise their exposure as musically they're at the top of their game. It took the patronage of Chris Martin to bring Embrace back from obscurity, and while Puressence are far from obscurity a support slot on the Coldplay or Ian Brown tour could take them to the next level and bring the band to the masses. Surely it can't be long before the rest of the world catches on to how world shatteringly important Puressence are!!!

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com


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