Why spend hours wandering Manchester’s In The City showcase? We’ve rounded up the best. NME Radar Party, Night & Day Cafe, Manchester, Sunday, October 18
May we present NME’s guide to optimising Manchester’s best new music showcase – In The City? Three simple steps: choose its – ahem – best-curated party, at Manchester’s best new music venue, with Manchester’s best new musicians opening proceedings. If it goes wrong after that, frankly, you’re on your own.
But fear not: as we side-step our way past the early-doors throng, it’s clear that our method is flawless. Almost as flawless as the nonchalant cool of the four 17-year-old matted-fringed urchins before us. A mere six months into their heel-scuffing existence, they’ve got damp-nylon-shirted A&R creatures crowing, ‘I’ve seen the future, and it’s Egyptian Hip Hop!’ Rumours scatter through the crowd about their recent run of sublimely careless live outings. They’re a dream-techno band, live, we’re told, nay, a noise-punk troupe, no way, a post-indie jam-band, for sure…
The truth tonight is that behind the haze of shuffling velour hoodies and bowed mops is they’re all and none of those things. EHH are the first prime example of the potentially genre-free brilliance of a new generation utterly spoilt for choice by new media’s relentless splurge. The lazy glow of anti-anthems like set-closer ‘Rad Pitt’ reluctantly tug a new creedless tribe’s flag to the summit of all that’s amazing. Murmuring melody bubbles to the surface of a rich stew of alternative-canon influences. Rather than being confused, though, their many-hued sound is instinctive. As to what their future might hold, they could end up artily almost-there coulda-been-contenders, or they could actually get off Spotify long enough to pen the first doss-pop Number One.
Who cares right now? Certainly not them.Max McElligott, aka dandy-pop maestro Wolf Gang, has distinctly more steadfast goals and not so many early laurels to rest on. He’s already feverishly composed his first three could-be smashes; joyous, whirling indie-pop concertos born from gene-pool puddles: two gloops David Byrne to one squirt Mozart. Tonight there’s no denying that the likes of ‘The King And All Of His Men’ display infinitely more widescreen rush than any of this year’s conveyor-belt of dejected cheekboned cred-pop solo chaps, but the live show currently throws up as many question marks as exclamation points. Is he the frontman of the next wave of crossover guitar pin-ups? Is he a solo pop sensation earning his stripes on the underground circuit? Neither awkwardly spotlighted Max nor his backing group, who’re kept shuffling in total darkness throughout, seem to have the answer just now.
Proving that the notorious Manc pride doesn’t need meat-and-potatoes guitar rock to puff its chest, the venue refills to bursting point for local intelli-punk heroes Everything Everything. And like quantum physics professors running an after-school sex cult strictly for the babes in the class, their set is baffling, bizarre, beautiful and bawdy. Spindly math structures erect themselves from vaults of syncopated three-part harmonies, fiddling Rubik’s cube choruses miraculously out of the ether. With Foals having proved that there’s a whetted appetite out there for groovy complexity, EE’s tactic of adding some actual tunes (ooh, controversial) and a bit of raunch to the mix makes them one heck of an exciting prospect.
Funny what a good old everyman rock’n’roll arena tour can do to you. Straight off the road with Franz Ferdinand, LA’s fantasy-disco freemasons Music Go Music have dropped members, props and progness for tonight’s finale of crap-cutting, bruisingly aloof divaism. Mark Ronson, arms aloft, is joined at either side by members of local Radar alumni Delphic and Hurts in the front row, all attempting that elusive beast, the manly shimmy. If you’re thinking ‘Dancing Queen’, stop it right now. Anyone who feared a feckless boho underbelly to MGMT’s glittering assault should take heed of tonight’s performance. As exultant calling card ‘Warm In The Shadows’ snakes its way through the venue, its grace is equalled by its venom. Jeez, 2009’s starting to feel so last year…