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OLDHAM UP!
:: Gabrielle's Wish :: Butcher & Bolt :: Dirty Avenues ::
13 March 2010 / Ruby Lounge / Manchester
By Stephanie Grimshaw

I was a bit excited for this gig. Not least because I’ve been trying to champion the splintering raw young talent of Butcher & Bolt, but also because I’ve never seen Gabrielle’s Wish live. Ever. Almost everybody I know has. I even know the keyboard player, but have never ever seen them. Strange really… Also, I nearly missed it, being poorly, but I take my antibiotics and carry on regardless. I’m sorry to say I missed Cosmic Daisy’s acoustic set (public transport and I had a wee skirmish en route), but managed to catch the DIRTY AVENUES in full flow, producing an onslaught of jangly indie rock/pop towards a modest audience. The singer has a ‘Chris Martin’ - esque etiquette about him, he looks well mannered and like he’s probably from a ‘nice part of town’ whilst swinging around on his mic stand in his waistcoat, romanticising about being ‘Eighteen’ in an easy on the ear falsetto vocal. Their whole sound is not too far removed from the atmospheric sounds of Manchester bands of old, such as Puressence and Monaco et al. Perhaps perfectly befitting of the Joy Division tribute night they are playing at Moho in May. DJ Jeff Grainger (Dermo was originally listed) provides the inter-band entertainment with a good mix of classic indie and visceral punk tracks to provide the bridge between the huge difference in sound between the last band and the next.

BUTCHER & BOLT take to the stage, ironically, looking quite frightened. They have only been going for a year and as yet haven’t done many Manchester gigs. Hailing from Oldham is something that we later find out they are quite proud of, and why not? This band are giving us something that currently a lot (but not all) of Manchester bands are not… something different. New. Exciting. A bit scary even, in places. If you wanted to look for them in a record shop you’d find them under Punk/Garage/Pyschobilly and if I’m honest, I can’t remember seeing a ‘genre label’ like that since the Dead Kennedys and 80s Matchbox B Line Disaster. ‘Monster’ is one of their first songs (of the night and also of their catalogue), delivering the first of many rockabilly bass riffs by bassist Becky, alongside Adam’s barked instructions to ‘take your clothes off, young Sally’! It’s worth pointing out that this is also Jordan, the drummer’s first ‘official’ gig with the band and he doesn’t disappoint. He’s learnt the ‘old’ ones quickly and is fluid between the transition between those ‘old’ ones and the newer ones. ‘Chainsaw’ is debuted tonight and goes down well with the crowd, hammering them down into submission by making them start to move about and look like they’re enjoying themselves. Midway through the set people from Oldham are invited up onto the stage to dance while they play their next song. I respectfully decline and choose to watch as random strangers and members from other bands get up to mosh around with the bass heavy trio. A triumphant gig for Butcher & Bolt. The more people will see them, the more people will like them. The Myspace recordings aren’t much to go off (too poor for studio time as yet), but these guys HAVE to be seen live to appreciate. Go! Go see them. NOW! Jello Biafra would approve….


Butcher, Bolt, and the People of Oldham

GABRIELLE'S WISH are somewhat of a mystery to me. They are like a secret no one wants to share or something, swathed in cloaks and darkness I had no idea of what to expect. Using visuals and pre-recorded amblings to provide a kind of film with a narrative between their songs, dark and brooding, the only thing I can compare them to is a cross between The Bad Seeds and The Fall which is certainly no bad thing. Audience members begin to appear from the bar and shaded areas of the venue soon the venue is pretty full, although not as full as I might’ve expected for a band with such depth and history (they’ve been going for 16 years). They’ve also been reviewed many times on MM and have, what I understand to be many loyal fans. Are they happy to hang in the shadows I wonder? Cultivating their brooding sounds along with a cult like following? It suits them immensely. I feel like in a scene from the Lost Boys and Fear and Loathing. I’m transfixed!


Gabrielle's Wish


Resources:
Gabrielles' Wish
Butcher & Bolt
Dirty Avenues

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