After weeks of hard graft promoting, badgering, cajoling and organising it was pleasing that the whole night went without a hitch. Bands began on time and didn’t over run. Sufficient punters turned up to ensure that the atmosphere was great, and each of the three bands played storming sets.

Local band Horsebeach were first on with a fine array of songs from their forthcoming debut album. Inspired by the bands on labels such as Sarah and Flying Nun, Ryan Kennedy and his cohorts conjure up a sound that mixes both the jingle-jangle of indie-pop and early Smiths with the harsher, more industrial soundscapes created by Joy Division. The result is as good as it appears written down, especially on songs such as 'Faded Eyes' and 'Yesterdays' which showcase Ryan’s forlorn deadpan vocals perfectly.

The Haywains are a fizzing ball of indie-pop energy, clearly loving every second of their reunion gigs. Singer Jeremy Hunt struts around the stage like a cross between Ian Brown and an expectant father in a hospital waiting room as he belts out every song with utter relish. To his left Paul Towler (one of the nicest guys in indie-pop) plays a blinder on guitar and the ‘pop’ logo that adorns his instrument is totally apt. Whilst these two are the driving force behind the band, there is a wonderful rhythm section keeping them in check and backing singer Rachel adds some lovely contrast to Jeremy’s lead.

Song-wise, the band crams a fine selection of gems from their impressive back-catalogue into their forty minute set, alongside all four tracks from their current EP. Opener 'Kill Karaoke', referencing many of the songs that are often mutilated during drunken karaoke nights, sets a high tempo that rarely dips throughout the sixteen songs and probably peaks on the whistle happy 'Now I’ve Got One Up On You' or closing number 'Desperately Seeking Something'. Elsewhere 'Bythesea Road' and 'Fisherman’s Friend' still sound as fresh as they did when they were first released twenty odd years ago. It is twenty-one years since the Haywains last played in Manchester. Hopefully they’ll not leave the gap quite so long next time!

The pressure was on slightly for the Brilliant Corners following the support acts’ performances, but within half a song they were well and truly into their stride and the audience (including the usual suspects of Si, Rob, Victoria and Kev) responded in kind.

The stunning double-whammy of the driving 'Growing Up Absurd' and poptastic 'Delilah Sands', unveiled early in the set, increased the throng of flailing limbs and smiling faces down the front and there would be no let up from thereon. The audience fed off the band and the band off the audience in a joyous collision that resulted in members of the band becoming members of the audience at one point.

All the bands best songs from the 1985-1988 era packed the set; the true story of 'Jim’s Room' rubbing shoulders with the slightly tongue-in-cheek egotism of 'Why Do You Have to Go Out with Him When You Could Go Out with Me?” while the breathless 'Delirious' and the Kinks-indebted 'Teenage' ensured there was no let up in the fun.

Final song 'Brian Rix', in all its jangling glory, brought the set to a wonderful close, before a manic encore of 'With a Kiss' and quite simply the greatest song ever, 'Meet Me On Tuesdays', raced by.

Beforehand there was some debate on social media as to the last time the Brilliant Corners played in Manchester, with 1 November 1991 seemingly the agreed date, but it doesn’t matter now as Saturday 5 July 2014 will not only be their last ever Manchester show, but also their finest. Davey, Winston, Bob, Phil, Falk and James take a bow, you were awesome.



















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Commenting On: Ruby Lounge, Manchester, 5/7/2014 - Pennyblackmusic Bands' Night








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