Ceramic Hobs/ Kill Yourself/ Ages of Elvis/ Horowitz @ Thompson Arms, Manchester
(21st October 2004)

Your aged reviewer was tempted into Manchester to witness the first show put on by the resourceful Mel, who hopefully won't be discouraged from doing more of this kind of thing after the late change of location saw the gig moved to a gay club. It's an unusual venue for gigs like this with mirror balls suspended from the ceiling, an expansive dance-floor, large bar (with courteous staff), and clean toilets.

Open-mouthed wonderment was universal amongst the assembled souls. Then the bands got started.

First up, Horowitz - you could only tell this was only their second gig by the shy awkwardness between songs even though the music was warm, gentle and tuneful with a slight jangle occasionally evident. Yes, one to see again. Next were the Ages of Elvis who rocked from the start in very tight manner then displayed their range with pleasing departures into rarer territories - a wonderfully atmospheric bluesness, a touch of the Who even, and a whistled chorus. The set climax had a damp squib quality when the bass absented itself from the PA, but nevertheless much appreciation was duly expressed by the discerning throng. The technical gremlins similarly affected Kill Yourself but not before they'd made their mark - the singer/guitarist wearing a gas mask and much energy being expended. Their sound? A bit like being submerged in a tidal wave of black concrete I thought, which is the sort of thing that the young crowd seemed to enjoy greatly. I was just beginning to grudgingly admit that they were rather good at the kind of thing they do when a blown bass cabinet (or something) brought a premature end and widespread disappointment.

The Ceramic Hobs were last on, and I have to report they're really quite mental - well, completely mental actually. There's a mind blowing fifteen minute set in this band, which gets a bit diluted over half an hour. Unconstrained by the limits of such mere things as a stage, or good taste for that matter, they do invest plenty of effort in their performance. Some difficulty is encountered, however, in any attempt to decipher the lyrical content of the vocalist's ranting growl. Ears buzzing, and long past bedtime; I returned to the sheltered accommodation noting that the two best bands had been on the bottom half of the bill. Life's like that sometimes. (Laurence)

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