The first disappointment was seeing the band had been bumped off headlining slot. WTF?! Could see we were going to get a condensed set because of this. Then as the band took to the stage, the second disappointment was realising they were without drummer Jonny Helm. He was replaced tonight by Dave Beauchamp who actually filled in remarkably well; he has a more gentle skiffle-like style which suited the quieter numbers. And this was the main and REAL disappointment of the evening: by the time The Wave Pictures came on the crowd seemed to consist of mates of the earlier bands and those hanging about for the club night followed. The band and the sparse group of folk who were there to listen to those quiet songs had to battle against a wave of chatter and laughter that was frankly out of order. If you are not there to listen to the band, sod off somewhere else so everyone else can.
So being put in such a foul mood by struggling to listen to gentle songs like "If You Leave It Alone" against the rising background noise was not the best way to enjoy this gig. The band seemed to take it in their stride with lead singer David laughing it off. They also responded by switching to faster, noisier songs. Whilst it was great to hear some of these ("I Love You Like A Madman" was excellent: powerful and passionate) it was not the gig I'd signed up. And the predictions about a short set were realised: we only got nine songs. But from those in the crowd who were there to see the band there was some top sining along to the chorus for "Strange Fruit For David".
So a promoter and an audience who appeared to treat the band with disdain = a major disappointment. Apologies on their behalf to The Wave Pictures, they deserve better. Manchester owes you.
The Set List
I Shall Be A Ditchdigger
If You Leave It Alone
We Sugared Our Apples
We Dress Up Like Snowmen
Leave The Scene Behind
I Love You Like A Madman
Strange Fruit For David
One of the other bands on tonight's bill is worth mentioning. Blind Atlas started off with a gentle piece of Americana with steel guitar but then moved up a gear into Crazy Horse-meets-Southern-Rock territory. Some of it was a bit too samey but when it worked it was good; the last song featuring the bass played with a violin bow, tribal drum rhythms and spooky guitar effects was a highlight. The Circus Electric made we want to take up smoking to avoid listening to them. On their Myspace page they describe their music as 'Indie/Rap/Pop Punk' - the reality is far, far worse. And I couldn't give an opinion about Orphan Boy as I was still fuming over the short shrift The Wave Pictures had received. Now next time...