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The Gentrymen + The Royals - Club Academy Manchester - 27.11.11

Despite the comas that are usually induced in most normal humans around that time on a Sunday night, Club Academy was packed out for The Gentrymen and company. It may have had something to do with Downton Abbey being off the air, but was more likely down to the musical offerings.

Fully fledged members of the flourishing Macclesfield music scene and Designer Magazine regulars, The Royals, were showcasing a shiny new line up and sound. With a recently recruited new drummer and a repertoire of majorly new material, The Royals opened with the unseasonably sunny ‘Summer’, an intoxicatingly perky ode to young love. New addition to the set ‘Cropfield’ proved to be truly danceable indie-pop anthem. Crowd favourite ‘Alive in the 80’s’, the only evidence of the band’s ska beginnings, with its unignorable bass line and indisputable lyrics about why “Morrissey and going crazy” was far better than current pop culture, but that’s an argument for a whole other article…

The Royals once again failed to disappoint; with hooky melodies that engrain themselves in the memory of anyone within hearing distance, lyrics instantly relatable to anyone that’s ever watched an indie rom-com, and of course, the quite brilliant on-stage dancing.

Headlining was the Lancastrian four piece The Gentrymen; a band that it is literally impossible to write about without mentioning the M word, so perhaps it’s best to get it out of the way in the first paragraph. They were quite like Mumford & Sons. Right, that’s sorted, now moving on.

In a blur of tweed blazers and argyle knits, with ubiquitous banjo and DIY percussion, The Gentrymen played perfectly folky camp-fire anthems. The snowballing ‘Eye of The Storm’ started with Charlie Fink-esque vocals and a lovelorn quality that could be from Noah and the Whale’s heartbroken second album, which then erupted into a frenzy of acoustic passion. Perhaps to take a breather, the brilliant ‘An Interlude In D’, an mesmerizingly stunning instrumental with trumpeting crescendos and intricate piano, with the sort of sound that provokes day long debates on how best to describe it. (Perhaps The Gentrymen were missing Downton Abbey too, or is it more like the Antiques Roadshow theme tune? The jury’s still out). It seems The Gentrymen have a sense of humour though, as they played that would never cross the strings of Marcus and his straight-laced companions; a folkified medley of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi and Tinie Tempah’s Pass Out (here’s hoping that it would be called Passarazzi if it was ever released as a single).

Title track of their debut EP ‘Days of Old’ was a whistle-scattered beauty with roaring vocals similar to those of Frank Turner. The £4 price tag for said EP initially seemed a little steep, but at 20p per member per song, it worked out at brilliant value for a brilliant band.

Eagle eyed readers may have noticed that this review didn’t mention 50% of the bands playing (if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of reader). To you, I apologise profusely. To the glass-half-full kind of reader; two great bands and more excitement than the usual Sunday night ITV drama.

Words: Lucy Holt


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