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:: The Satellite Towns :: Sista Ray And The Jerkin Tears ::
26 August 2008 / Tiger Lounge / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

10pm at FictionNonFiction and it's almost full. What? Despite several years now as Manchester's original truly punk rock'n'roll (in spirit, and often musically) night out it's not unusual to see 20 people in at this time. Co-host and promoter Max is equally surprised, given that it's the night after a Bank Holiday and all.

Satellite Towns. Two words that say so much; images of concrete shopping precincts, forgotten estates, the endless wait for the bus into the city. Why has nobody ever called a band this before? The Satellite Towns are from somewhere out down the end of one of those bus routes and their eponymous first song simmers with all that pent-up frustration; the hungry spirit and rousing vocals you remember from the glorious early days of Oasis. Another song's called "Mancunian Dreams"; and musically there's something of the young Burnage boys in there too, along with a harder, garage-blues edge. This isn't the music of the trendy club nights. "Newall Green!" shouts someone in the crowd, apropos of not much. Unfortunately it all starts to go a bit belly-up from there, instruments take it in turns not to work and everything collapses into a bit of a shambolic mess. There's something there but it needs a bit of knocking into shape.

"Woodhouse Park!" shouts another voice from the mass. Ah, it's all becoming (a bit) clearer. Tonight sees the live debut of a new band involving Nathan McIlroy from Frazer King (no, they're still together; this is a side project), and as ever he's brought half of Wythenshawe along for the ride... Sista Ray, formidable frontwoman of Sista Ray And The Jerkin Tears, sashays onstage in a miniskirt, fishnets, a sparkly boa and drop earrings. And a week's stubble and a hairy stomach. It has to be said she bears a striking resemblance to Nathan. Backing singers Tracy Chapstick and Hurricane Katrina's dresses are slightly more modest and their stubble slightly shorter, whilst drummer Drew Peacock's (drawn on) moustache can't hide the fact that "he"'s got quite small hands. And breasts. Sista Ray introduces them all, to a man and woman, over a loose funk jam. This is Manchester's newest psychedelic funk soul ensemble and they have been together about, ooh, a week. They're a wonderfully chaotic, sprawling monster of low-rider rhythms, multi-way vocals and slithers of sax, like George Clinton and Black Grape having a Can-style jam with a Motown girl-group and a shedload of incredibly strong hallucinogens. Familiar tunes coalesce here and there out of this full-on technicolour riot, with the Sista showcasing an amazing fucked up soul falsetto on the old standard "I'd Rather Go Blind", and the final "All About Da Pussy" just sounds like the best party ever. You just get the feeling (especially if you're familiar with his regular band) that Nathan must have spent pretty much every minute of his 20-odd years on this earth mainlining all the music ever made straight into his brain so he can rearrange it into his own eclectic and beautifully deranged shapes. A true maverick potential legend in the making, this one - and a damn fine pair of legs for fishnets too.

Sista Ray And The Jerkin Tears
The Satellite Towns

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