Sunday, March 25, 2012


Several members of the Pierre Hall-fronted Golden Glow have been working on their own music since the band's debut album last year (see Songs For Walter and Owl Babies). But the opening two songs of tonight’s support set were a good re-assertion of the Felt-influenced sounds of full Golden Glow live band - namely taut rhythm section bedrock for the shimmering molten gold twin guitars to spill over and around. But as the eight song set progressed, the band also ratcheted up both the volume and raucous effort (some furious drumming precariously pushing the kick-drum forwards across the stage). A shame that some technical hitches between songs interrupted the flow but still a glorious sound.

I'm always a little wary of gigs promoting an album before it has been released. But when the band is the ever dependable The Wave Pictures there's little to be concerned about unfamiliarity or quality. For a band so casual and stripped back in set-up - tip up on stage, plug in and play, with none of the interlinked banks of effects pedals as used by their support - they are phenomenally accomplished musicians. The trio can wring heartfelt emotion out of songs - a pared back, off-mic ‘Sweetheart’ or the Jonny Helm sung ‘Sleepy Eye’ and ‘Now You Are Pregnant’ - alongside pacy anger and bitterness (‘Leave That Scene Behind’) and pleading desperation (new song’ Give Me A Second Chance’).

Another interesting contradiction with The Wave Pictures is how thoroughly nice, even gauche, they are in person - David Tattersall asking the crowd to sing a line in ‘Seagulls’ but acknowledging it's OK not to “
because I wouldn't want to either” - but their songs deal with moments of concentrated emotion and conflict, like expertly penned, highly nuanced short stories. As with the casual demeanour/skilled playing combination, the former only goes to highlight the power of the latter.

The band got a bit tripped up about whether they were in Manchester or not ("it's like saying Huddersfield is in Leeds" shouted someone to Yorkshire-born drummer Jonny Helm) but were clearly delighted at having a sold-out gig for their first headline show - in either Manchester or Salford - for three years. I think their memory of past shows is flawed - I recall one poorly attended gig at The Roadhouse but others have been well supported if not as packed and sweaty as tonight's. Whoever's memory is more reliable though, The Wave Pictures should not leave it so long for a return visit. There’s clearly an enthusiastic and welcoming crowd here plus once again the trio demonstrate with aplomb they are one of finest live bands around, no matter how casual or polite they are between songs.

The Set List:

Susan Rode The Cyclone
Stay Here And Take Care Of The Chickens
I Thought Of You Again
Give Me A Second Chance
Little Surprise
Sleepy Eye
My Head Gets Screwed On Tighter Every Year
Eskimo Kiss
Don't Blame Your Parents
The Airplanes At Brescia
Leave That Scene Behind
Now You Are Pregnant
Come Home Tessa Buckman
I Love You Like A Madman

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