The novelty of going to an early doors 6pm performance soon gave way to a sense of trepidation that this was, in fact, an under 14s performance. And I would not fit in. Or be physically ejected for advancing years and/or creepiness. Luckily it was not a U14 perf and I was not ejected.
Only one support for this early show: Mazes. This being early afternoon and I had already drunk a few Trof lagers on an empty stomach (being mis-advised of the start time and therefore kicking my heels) I was not best placed to assess Mazes. But. I thought they were great. Mixed melodic power-punk-pop with Stephen Malkmus vocals - given extra blues feel when sung through a toliet roll stuck on the end of the mic - honestly. All delivered by two guitars and drums with minimal fuss or ostentation. As the set when on they got more thrashy/rockabilly/less subtle but still enough for me to have my wallet ready for when their debut single(s) are issued soon.
Deerhunter came on just after 6pm. With sunlight pouring through the skylights of the Deaf Institute. It felt more like a festival appearance than a Manchester gig. Deerhunter are not a band I am that familiar with - I've listened to recent album "Microcastle" in passing - I was more intrigued by the reputation plus the timing/location. The four-piece from Atlanta is led by Bradford Cox and he makes an engaging if geeky front-man early on: cracking jokes about the hour and how he is normally asleep, listing -when challenged - his favourite Manchester bands (Magazine, Durutti Column, Blue Orchids). The band around him are fairly anonymous: bassist Josh appears bemused to be standing on a stage but the second guitarist and drummer are expressionless if not hidden. But after the first couple of short poppy songs - including the title track to the recent release Rainwater Cassette Exchange, available to buy tonight on CASSETTE TAPE - the band demonstrate what sets them apart. Their sound mixes US art-rock with shoe-gaze with an experimental, ambient streak. So soon those short songs give way to longer ones drenched in reverb and echo: My Bloody Valentine go to US college and jam. There are no guitar changes I saw but they must have a shed-load of effects pedals with them to coax such sounds out of their instruments. The set was over in 65 minutes or so but there was enough invention and noise to send me back to listen properly.
I have no evidence for my attendance this evening: no ticket stubs, photos or set-list. But trust me I was there. And I was not ejected at any point.
Rainwater Cassette Exchange [BUY]