In The City 2010: Rated!
Daniel Pratley tackles Manchester's In The City festival trying to scout out the next big thing.
Overall - 7/10
Can’t afford flights to Austin and fancy three days hob-nobbing with the filthy end of the music industry, thumbing through endless reams of unrecognisable chaff for the next big thing? Manchester’s In The City might just be right up your sadistic alley.
Educational by day, enlightening by night, ITC has come a long way since its inception. With seminars now based in Piccadilly and gigs in the northern quarter the event benefits from a new lease of life and ease of orientation. If you’re a keen loafer, stay clear; with nimble feet, ample planning and a fat stick of luck you’ll get the best from an eclectic mix of industry hopefuls. Aside from the frequent verbal and musical lobotomies ITC also plays witness to some iconic seminars including talks by members of Pink Floyd and rather surprisingly managers of cyclists.
Getting there and back - 9/10
Manchester Piccadilly, a train station synonymous with luxury is a stones throw from both the seminars at the City Hotel and the gigs in the northern quarter. But don’t just take our word for it - an independent poll carried out in 2007 voted Piccadilly Station as having a 92% satisfaction rate. Wow.
The Site - 8/10
Double thumbs to the team for swapping the stuffy and ostentatious Midland for the efficient and practical City Inn, and the sprawl of Oxford Road for the dense mawl of the Northern Quarter. More importantly most of the NQ venues are designed for music, the legendary Night and Day and Roadhouse venues, and the ear splitting Ruby Lounge wipe the proverbial rear of previous venues. Having said that, cramming 100 industry shysters into the anal passage at the back end of The Castle is not something we wish to repeat.
Atmosphere - 8/10
Disjointed, desperate and disparate. From the exuberant and hysterically received performances from Dutch Uncles and No Age to the muted and indifference met by bands like Honour Before Glory and Ed Drewett. It’s a learned crowd that don’t suffer fools gladly.
An eclectic mix of unsigned, newly signed and industry showcases make ITC a musical haberdashers delight. From the euphoric saunter of Chad Valley through the throbbing death grip of White Ring, to the pop-hop of Chiddy Bang, ITC saddles all. Pause for a pint and you’re likely to miss something special, apply the scatter gun approach and you’re likely to be left the wrong side of the window pane. It’s a difficult balancing act that could land you unexpectedly catching a pioneering act, or equally you could be caught in a dark room watching the Rough Diamondz.
Brown Brogues – 7/10
The music ain’t great, a bar-room brawl of distortion and yelps, but what sets this duo apart is their off-hand performance. Two lads, in love with the fun of just banging drums, yelping into copper mics and wiggling their hips. Perma-grins were never so easy.
High Voltage – 9/10
High Voltage – Not a singular band, but Manchester promoter/record label/fanzine, High Voltage opened up Wednesday night with two top bands. Dog Is Dead, surprisingly not from Eel Island but Nottingham have some lush arrangements backed by great slapping chorus’s, just check out glockenspiel song or new single ‘Youth’ – tight stuff. The Kill Van Kulls could be giant. We don’t think they’re riddled with gigantism, although the singer does display some attributes, but with each track firmly fixing itself to the front of your cerebellum, there’s little doubt this four piece are about to blow up, giant style!
Dutch Uncles – 9/10
Nonchalantly launching into ‘Face In’, Manchester’s Dutch Uncles are a brutish force in the most unassuming guise. Dynamic, angular and beautifully quirky The Dutch Uncles ignite The Ruby Lounge with little more than a tip of the toe from their flowery leader.
No Age – 4/10
Nothing makes us feel older or more out of touch than these guys. A two-piece American indie outfit that are a noisy mess akin to the chumpy sensibilities of Sum 41 butchered by some hardcore DIY ethics. Judging by the turn out at Thursday’s gig we’re almost alone on this one.
With the re-location of the main site to Piccadilly and the Northern Quarter musical delights including Hey Bulldog and the endless reams of bands put on by fringe promoters including Designer Magazine and Dusty Pop are nearly inaccessible.
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