False Advertising

15 June
Gullivers NQ

What is it with a hopefully small number of the promoters in Manchester? A week before, I’d paid my £7 for what should have been three bands, but the event ran so horrendously late that I missed the performers I wished to see.

For this event, I tried, unsuccessfully, to find out band times, so turned up at what is the normal start time of 8:30pm, only to find Greg Dixon, vocalist with the Psyblings, crouched in front of a drum kit screaming into his mic as his band finished their set. I can understand why I was one of the few paying customers in the venue at that time.

If you try to guess where a band is from based solely on their sound, then you would at least reckon that Pinact were from the USA, as they bathed the audience in sounds that resonated with the grunge of Pixies and Sugar. Slowly but surely, as they delivered songs with a passion and intensity, the trio from Glasgow gained a few more listeners.

Then it’s the saving grace of the evening. Their opening begins with a ditty titled, appropriately enough, ‘Intro’, and featured a whelp from Jen Hingley as she cleared her throat, loud enough for one punter to shout back, “What the fuck?”

That was the signal for the start of a frenetic set from False Advertising that added significantly to the heat on an already warm night. By now the venue had filled up to witness a homecoming gig from a band gaining critical acclaim from impressed viewers.

Befitting a group that has been together for over two years with a high gig count to their name, they know their way around the stage. Hingley moved seamlessly between drums and guitar, as did Chris Warr, occasionally swapping vocal duties between themselves. Every now and then Hingley displayed a biting sense of fun as she taunted bassist Josh Sellars, asking whether or not he knows the bassline to Seinfeld. Not to Hingley's standards, he didn’t. Where Pinact were relatively stationary, this three-piece became a blur of flailing limbs, striding across the stage, filling the space.

Recent single, ‘Scars’, arrived early in the set and parts were sung back to the band. Sweat rolled down faces, both of those on the stage and those dancing along.

If you think her surname rings familiar, then you are correct, it is very familiar. No doubt when they inevitably play larger events, it will become clear why.

Ged Camera

All photos by Ged Camera. Inset right: False Advertising. Inset left: Tamsin A. Background: False Advertising.
Videos of all the performances are available at Live Music in Pictures.


8 June
Fred's Ale House

"Where is the sound man?" asked one member of Poppycock, who were all on stage, plugged in and ready to go.

I don't think he was placing his election vote, which judging by the crowd present could only have been for Labour. In fact, he was at that lovely place called a bar, trying to get served. That excuse was not the only reason why an event featuring only three acts could overrun by 40 minutes after only two sets.

It had all started so positively and promptly with the evening’s host, Ian ‘Moet’ Moss, providing the audience with a rendition of one of his repertoire of poems and songs, before introducing that 'potty mouthed' person Tamsin A, aka Tamsin Middleton. She delivered a raw, lyrically and musically intense performance. She thought about relaying a nice, warm number for the lovely crowd present, but realised that she doesn't have any.

Away from regular appearances with the Salfordian/Mancunian trio Mr Heart, Tamsin created a pulsating guitar rhythm that was looped, mixed with her vocals and delivered with an ever-increasing intensity. The theme of "This body is mine" opened and closed the set, before she took a seat amongst the audience to watch another of her former bands.

Having witnessed and captured on film their formal debut at the Hulme Hippodrome, which displayed the spirit of community that Poppycock thrive on, I can vouch that, as musicians, they have developed immensely. Tonight, they were limited to six members in a compact space that’s officially advertised as Fred's Ale House, but lies above neighbouring M19 bar after a series of winding steps. As far as M19 goes, it reflects both the venue’s postcode and the age group catered for at the weekends.

Once the soundman had put down his pint - and who can blame him for £2 a pint of decent ale? - Poppycock attacked with choruses of "like Iggy Pop", a sentiment we could all agree with.

With the amount of gigs they have played, practice makes pretty good. Heather Greenbank, tucked away behind a speaker, delivered lovely (the word of the night) rhythms that sometimes verged on the time Neil Young was unveiling Harvest Moon. The rhythm section was as tight as a duck’s backside.

“I can't see a future in your fantasies,” sang Julie, as Una tinkled the ivories and Lucy switched between guitar and flute.

The only danger was being blinded by drummer Steve's shirt, which, on a rainy day, was brighter than the sun. When they finished their set at 10pm that was the time the final performers were due on stage. I really would like to report how John Donaldson, aka JD Meathead, and the two other band members sounded, but the late start meant missing out on watching someone who has featured in several acclaimed bands, such as Calvin Party, garnering the respect of hardcore gig goers, including the late John Peel.

So I barely caught one song before departing for a bus. It would have been nice if the driver was a fan and could have hung around for the final section, but that curse of the drinking classes - work - had other designs.

It would have really helped if the organisers had kept to the schedule that was advertised in the venue. A week earlier at Lancashire CCC, Ariana Grande and her team attracted a megastar-laden line-up whose egos were choreographed to run to time, so it felt like being back in the bad old days of overrunning schedules at M19.

Ged Camera