Shepherds Pi , The Tigerpicks, Dear Eskimo & The Spoons, Night & Day Café, Live Review

Shepherds Pi

There is no better way to commence a preview to Manchester's celebration of music and launch pad for small bands that is the annual In The City Event, than by giving a band their first gig.

The mixed gender quartet of The Tigerpicks use a thrusting electro base to set up the stage for the glam/trash dolls vocal pairing of Ches Ross and Emma Leatherbarrow, whose vibrancy and passion make up for the lack of any real vocal cohesion. Early on, the frivolity of Domebadthings is mixed with the provocative pinch of Robots In Disguise to be topped off with the inaudible tension release of Whirlwhind Heat. From the blasé and brittle foundations of this fledgling troupe, 'Hot Rock' sticks out for its vocal screeches, à la Jemina Pearl that bears out exuberance and feistiness. This time the dual vocals slide along neatly with the new wave era accompaniments. Time is needed in the rehearsal room or house; to make the vocals more compatible with the accomplished single guitar element that provides a traditional Rock N' Roll touch. The weakest link 'Pow, Pow, Pow', is a vocal and lyrical rip off Salt N' Peppa at times and has to go, especially to make room so that the potential new wave reviving and inhibition releasing 'Livewire', can be expanded upon. For this romp they utilise the full power of the synths. This local outfit is definitely made a Friday or Saturday night, as you will need energy in abundance to keep up with them and join in the high jinx.

Regulars of the In The City event and the local Manchester scene Dear Eskiimo, with their dual gender vocal approach of Katie and the acoustic guitar commander Simon, blends together a stark approach akin to contemporaries Viva Voce, with Alisha's Attic and Bjork bursting in intermittently. Something that is most prevalent in opener 'Patience', from the promising 'Be Patient EP' of 2005. The song steps up a notch tonight with assistance from Katie's hovering vocals, although the vibrant to and fro betwixt the front pair for the outro, kind of catches out spectators who are revelling in the pop ambience. The transgender blanketing 'Jack and Jill' is given a digital toe to add a bit of punch to their most popular offering. Flashes of punk exhilaration help 'What's The Matter' hit home, imbuing it with a bit of rawness to make this set of five songs ooze out grass-roots authenticity. Spoons are perfect for this sort of event, they aid the promoters by bringing a high spirited bunch of friends down. Unfortunately, for them, is probably going to be their main audience in future, as the lack of vocal power and inconsistent instrumental pace renders them uninspiring. They find their pitch in the Slaughter And The Dogs spirited, punk out 'Facial Control', but the dire and lifeless cover of Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' is probably best left without further comment.

The time that celebrity seekers have been preening themselves for arrives and Rupert Hill (aka Jamie from Corrie) leads his Shepherds Pi outfit into a Bright Eyes veined and country coated, life-bearing sojourn. They have learned lessons from their defeat in the final of the high profile O2 Undiscovered Music Competition, by gelling together with ease from the off. The cheeky, rambling vocal range that brings together Chas N' Dave and Bob Dylan, certainly raises eyebrows and you would struggle to find a band like these around at moment. The dreamy Beatles flirtation 'Whistling Tune', allows the dual gender rovers to impart a slight blues feel into their make up and demonstrates inter-band understanding, largely promoted in the combined vocal stroll. A varied evening is closed and this quaint outfit do enough to justify their headline slot. On the whole, In The City promises to continue to grow upon its reputation for showing the broadness and understated talent that is lurking in mainstream music's shadow.


David Adair

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