Corporation Pop #2

18 February
Fuel Cafe

The latest in a line of bands that have seized upon a phrase that was once omnipotent, the female duo who form Whatevers are out to enjoy themselves and invite you to partake in their exuberant, ramshackle romp.

Their enjoyable banter between songs can be longer than some of the songs themselves, which flew along at a fair old speed. A combination of drums and guitar will always create a noisy racket and these two don't do ‘shy and retiring’. Expending that much energy means songs rarely last more than 90 seconds, with the emphasis on trying to survive as long as the flavour of cheap bubblegum on the tongue.

A place like Fuel only needs about 30 people to attend a gig in order to make the place seem full, thus creating a warm atmosphere for performers. So The Potentials are all smiles and good humour, factors reflected in their musical output.

“We make it up as we go along,” they sang. Their obsessive love of Buffy The Vampire Slayer has morphed into a spiky set based around the characters from the TV show. Holly and Shanaz regularly swapped or shared vocals, whilst Zak chipped in with drums and the occasional verbal contribution. The appearance of a bass guitar allowed The Potentials to generate a grittier, harder edge to the evening that the appreciative crowd seemed to enjoy.

Ged Camera

All photos by Ged Camera.
Above left: Whatevers
Above right: Bobbie Peru
Background: The Potentials

Bobbie Peru

4 March
Fuel Cafe

Oxyuranus microlepidotus. My love of Latin is on a par with having my eyes pierced with needles, but more of that later.

Bobbie (not Bobby) Peru are acquainted with members of the Pixies and are hoping to get a support slot with them, so don't be bemused by the fact that they are appearing at Fuel in Withington, a venue with an ever-growing reputation for providing a stage for uncut diamonds to perform without costing the earth in tickets.

Bobbie Peru’s Facebook page might indicate that they are a Manchester-based band, but with such an American lilt in the accent of guitarist and main vocals of Robert Genovese, the band clearly have roots that are more widely branched than most. They lined up as a duo, with Genovese on guitars and Ben Nield on drums - a recent change from the normal trio and one that may only be a temporary arrangement - but their power was not diminished.

The bedroom-like venue that is the upstairs performance area at Fuel shook to the fury and intensity of a cauldron mix of blues, punk and aggression. Starting fast, the momentum increased in a fashion akin to a runaway juggernaut. As Genovese discussed afterwards, they had to stop when they did as their energy levels had emptied. While not always musically subtle, perhaps more so in their lyrics, you sometimes can’t beat a sonic blast to clear away the cobwebs.

After the storm came a more nuanced approach. With a deliberate twist in their tail, Inland Taipan moved through an audience comprising a bunch of mates, friends and the very occasional unattached observers. Aisling Davis has been playing solo or with a percussionist for a while under the name of the world’s most venomous snake, hence the Latin at the start of this review, but recently decided to bring on board Bryony Dawson and T River Walmsley, on bass and drums respectively, to take a more 'settled' approach. It’s a decision that seems to be working, as her songs have been fleshed out in a positive manner. Davis has a voice that can swirl from a Rickie Lee Jones seductive drawl to a more intense PJ Harvey affair in the space of a three-minute number. Each song seems like three sections melding together naturally, full of intricacies and samples from the previous few seconds.

Just as nimbly, they walked back to the comfort of their mates.

Ged Camera