Bill Orrick kicks off proceedings, casually jacking in his guitar and launching straight into song. Bill has a powerful voice, some of his high notes hit piercingly high. He plays guitar in a jangly Spanish style, using minor keys to acrimonious effect.
He has good rhythm, drumming his guitar for accent. His lyrics are disheartening, occasionally optimistic. I reckon folk would like this. Bill does need to give up his melancholy and stop talking to himself, but I still recommend you check out this man’s impassioned expression and sound.
During the break, I got another glass of water and watched Manchester band ‘Claw the Thin Ice’ set up on stage. They were loud in the basement. Listening to their sound, I got the impression they practice in underground caves, away from the bright lights.
The four of them thrashed out a heavy set of doom laden, emotional drone rock. Mental drums, harsh guitars and soporific, dark ambient vocals soaked in reverb and abundant echo. Although the soundscape they created was pleasant to the ear, I could not discern many of the lyrics. The only one I can recall is ‘don’t fall in love so easily.’
Headliner La Sera came on stage. Everyone shuffled awkwardly forward. They play a sweet infusion of optimistically-enthused melodic pop. Katy Goodman brings everything together, singing bright vocals and playing smooth bass guitar.
The two guitarists on stage with her were happily entwining sound around the room. If you were to plot La Sera on a graph, they would be making strange shapes. It was impressive to see them play one track with blistering intensity and tempo, to then drop down to languid dreaminess.
I heard them talking afterwards about how they had gone off the beaten track, perhaps making the most out of a musical mistake to explore a new avenue. I was happy to see that this does not always faze live musicians. La Sera continue on to Europe throughout June.
Words by Alastair Schwarz