Shanty Town / Seaside Riot / Fake Kings / Bashphelt - Manchester Roadhouse - 26.7.08

The claustrophobic night was kicked off by the clean-vocal, Red Hot Chilis-style basslines of Bashphelt, providing a steady bounce for the audience to settle into the heavier bands to come. Smart lyrics accompanied by intricacy from the four-piece's strings section in songs like 'Silly Boy' and 'Not For The First Time' gave the band a dynamic edge that was well received by the packed club on this hot July night.

Next up was fresh-faced Swindon band Fake Kings, whom amongst their microphone mumblings before their set, you could not help but think - 'oh no, not another knock-off Arctic Monkeys'. But if you were foolish enough to think this, then you were pleasantly surprised by what was to come. Emphasis on fluent basslines complemented aggressive colloquial lyrics, prompting crowd surfers who on more than one occasion caused the ceiling-speakers to rock menacingly. Although inaudible for the first tune, the lyrics expressed by this band showed that they had more to offer than the usual bore-stories about drinking and not being able to get in clubs, which are all too often associated with young indie bands these days. Fast-paced, melodic riffs in songs like 'Russian Dance-off', which the band finished on, resulted in chucked beer and a bouncing crowd, which is always a good thing.

Seaside Riot took to the stage after the actual near-riot surrounding the previous band, in what appeared to be a definite attempt at creating an 'image'; the singer donning a pair of shades in the already-dark venue, and the lead guitarist with a haircut that was obviously a tribute to Morrissey. That said, they did not disappointment musically, prompting one female fan joining them on stage almost immediately they started their set, singing along with precision that can only be earned by a devoted fan. The Smiths-connection did not end at the follicles of the guitarist: the singer produced a voice similar to the legends' frontman had he wondered into a helium factory, yet remaining tasteful at the same time.

Last but certainly not least was the brilliant Shanty Town, strolling in from the streets of Salford, ready to let their songs loose on the ever-grateful crowd in front of them, with their many influences and styles, which varied for each song. Bassist Rob claimed that the band drew its inspiration and spirit from punk bands such as The Clash and The Buzzcocks, as well as other bands from the Manchester scene, which explains the gritty bassline that sounds like a triumphant ode to Joy Division in the song 'Fake Blonde', which began their set. Treble-stricken guitar harked at influences from the Roses, and the sometimes-steady, sometimes-quirky drumming style of Si hinted at influences from Ian Curtis and friends, whereas Eddie's vocals resulted in the pleasant sound of a Manc Joe Strummer. Melodic songs like 'Taking Over', 'Shotgun' and 'Waiting For' left the crowd smiling, and pop triumph 'Quaker Days' played midway through the set went down well amongst the merry yet attentive audience. I would recommend you watch this band in the near future, or even later on, because they are here to stay, which can only be a good thing.

Tom Southworth

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