Alpha Male Tea Party and Valerian Swing at Aatma
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin
Another month, another gig in Manchester promoted by Destroy All Monsters with an interesting selection of artists. And once again it is at possibly the most difficult to find venue on the planet… Aatma.
The first band are already in full flow when I arrive with singer Ben Forrester spending most of his time in the audience. GUG, which may or may not stand for Great Uniform Gang, but probably doesn’t, have a kind of funky rock sound reminiscent of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers with an interesting bass sound coming from Dan Wild-Beesley’s baritone guitar. From the sound of his announcements, Forrester likes to hang around toilets with his mobile phone as he started out reading graffiti that he had (presumably) photographed this evening. Worrying.
When Leeds based Cameron Vale start there is an air of familiarity to them. It would seem Miles Spilsbury, their sax player, is also in ZOZO who I saw last month. With an air of early King Crimson and Captain Beefheart about them, this instrumental four piece certainly deliver with their brand of jazzy progressive post-rock. They have an album coming out in the summer and we shall certainly be looking forward to reviewing it! Lush.
My main reason for attending this evenings gig is to catch Italian math-rock/djenters Valerian Swing on a visit to our fine city as part of their European tour promoting new album Nights. They are similar to Plini but much heavier and more experimental. Live they come across with more energy and are more frantic with guitarist Francesco Giovanetti lunging violently around the stage whilst still managing to deliver some seriously technical playing is a sight to behold. Their set is way too short and seemingly finishes just as it really gets going as I could have handled twice as much from them. Hopefully we will see them back in the future, in the meantime their new album Nights is essential listening. Prego.
Finally we get to Liverpudlians (and we won’t hold that against them) Alpha Male Tea Party. The band are furiously in your face heavy yet melodic with it and don’t take themselves too seriously and this evening they are certainly having fun and I am loving it; the epitomy of heavy math-rock. Sadly I have to leave after three numbers as it is past 11 and a train awaits me, and I am still so glad I caught them and again I can’t wait for their return. Exhilarating.