Manchester Big Hands

Pleasure Records then, do yourselves a big favour: shut it, and pay attention.

[a]Jane Weaver[/a] is exasperated. “Will you shut up, you’re doin’ my head in!” She stares at a couple in the front row. Her songs may be sensitive, but she won’t take no shit. And, finally, the chattering rabble crammed into Big Hands for this Pleasure Records showcase fall silent. Ish.

Coming and going with barely a word, Valve – the first band on tonight – put up with the hubbub. Better suited, perhaps, to a Greenwich Village cafi, circa 1967, they deal in yearning, autumnal country rock. Their delivery may be a little sheepish, but their plaintive, eddying songs exist in a warm place between [a]Radiohead[/a] and Buffalo Tom.

In an alternative electronic incarnation tonight, Gabrielle’s Wish are startling. Clicky, surgical beats are the foundations for elliptic bleeps, scabrous guitars, great grey drones, slashes of noise and sweetly, elegiac wafts of melody. It’s early Factory, based in Detroit, a little middle-Europe experimentation in Manchester, hard, urban electronica and dead smart too.

There are several sides to [a]Jane Weaver[/a] too. New single ‘Starglow’, is a delicious sliver of Gitane-stained heartbreak, set around swinging Bontempi bass, and there’s a singsong missive from the band she plays in, Misty Dixon (Twisted Nerve), in tonight’s set too. But, for the most part, relying upon just voice and guitar, Jane makes like a fiery, forthright Sundays, her bruised, melancholic songs aching and angry – and hung on some sterling pop hooks – before they fall away into a wrecked, choked-up quiet.

Pleasure Records then, do yourselves a big favour: shut it, and pay attention.