Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Cyril Snear
with Trojan Horse, Douga and Black Market Serotonin
Night & Day, Manchester, 6/11/2011
Rating: 4/5

Right, so first up were Black Market Serotonin. I'm not going to dwell on their set long (mainly as they're on SSD), but from their live show it's evident that Andy in particular has grown greatly in confidence as a frontman over the last year. On the other hand, various things remain more raw about their nascent prog-industrial music; the tunes themselves may be polished, and an album may be on the way, but a refusal to dumb down the music live is both a strength and a weakness. 

Slaved in the past to DAVE (or Digitally Automated Vibe Engine, a laptop), they now find themselves in the hands of a marginally less harsh Juno synth; nevertheless this band of exceptional musicians are still occasionally wrong-footed by the samples, and it does beg the question as to whether a fluid live show or fidelity to the record should be a band's number one priority. For my part, I don't know what the answer to that conundrum is.

Second were Douga; on the record there's a hint of the folktronica-come-alternative pop of the Beta Band, but live that's very much the dominant impression that's carried away by the pleasantly off-kilter indie rock on display (and I mean 'indie' in the sense of '90s US bands, not four-piece bands of dickheads from Shoreditch). With two strong sets of songs under their belt (a single and EP) already, as well as some decent shows, Douga's fortune looks set to improve even further from here on in. 

Third were Trojan Horse. Look, I'm not even going to bother. Here, their album is free. GO LISTEN. The only thing really worthy of mention is that they trashed the stage rather more comprehensively than usual, and I had to dodge a flying Yamaha keyboard. Nice. 

Finally Cyril Snear were ready to tear it up. This marked the first time I'd seen the 'Snear live since hearing the pre-masters for their new record, The Riot of Colour, and live tracks like 'Confabulation' surely rank far above all of their work thus far, both in terms of quality and sheer hard rock whallop. At the moment there's only one band on the scene that look poised to claim the Manchester prog mantle ere vacated by Oceansize; while the 'Horse may be the truer sons of Prog, there's only one home grown post-prog band that can challenge the likes of the Kscope stable in the modern progressive stakes... with their Amplifier support slot and Tool-esque hammerfalls, that band is surely Cyril Snear. 

Given that 2011's not even spent yet it may seem premature to be making bold claims for next year, but let me be the first to suggest that The Riot of Colour will make at least this lowly scribe's 'Best of 2012' list. Fuck yes. 

And now for something completely different...

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