SOTOC-main

Sun. Salford and Sounds from the Other City (SFTOC). 2015’s exhibition of talent was as inspired as any.

Each arena embodied a distinctively beatnik baring. Now Wave’s takeover of the iconic, medieval terrain of St Philips Church – towering within its stature, the venue is one of Salford’s primary historical hotspots – fused seismic artists that flattered the crushing acoustics of the space. Winner of Piccadilly Records’ Album of the Year Jane Weaver’s voice has rarely sounded better; meandering through tracks from ‘The Silver Globe’ and pushing through the reverberating atmosphere of the humbling surroundings. Pinkshinyultrablast also sounded vast as their blend of ardent electronica meets cinematic grandeur cooling.

The hardened metal bar – The Crescent – housed Gizeh Records and Little Red Rabbit. Renowned for their avant-garde roster – all acts highlighted this with warped imagery and disturbed undercurrents regularly exploding – the dark edge to their stage complimented the vast genres covered at SFTOC. Naked (On Drugs) – deftly spoken patterns entangle with brash jazz stabs generating a typically bizarre allure – and Last Harbour – Warsaw charging guitars meeting harsh vocal patterns that refuse to simmer – consolidated the labels’ alternative sensibilities. Ironically the strident, thrashing that is routinely performed at The Crescent was in abundance at The Old Pint Pot with Fat God’s “perfect marriage of bile, brutalism ad beauty”; normally home to Salford University’s finest, innovative alumni, here distortion was at the crux of the billing. Denim & Leather tore. Bexley Square Tent offered up sun-kissed acoustics; Songs for Walter calmly ailing Bank Holiday warmth with his pleasing compositions, Liz Green and Aidan Smith.

Islington Mill and First Chop Brewing Arm exuded a similar contorted vitality. The harsh electronics of Paddy Steer – dressed in an outlandish monster outfit, the twisting sequencers made for bizarre viewing – fuelled the underground brewing lair into frenzies of intoxicated grooving. And hats off to the food; those jalapeño burgers second to no taste sensation at all. Except perhaps the Toc ale. Islington Mill – the hub once more for SFTOC – had a more independent feel; Groves starting the frolics before Gengahr finished them.

At 10 years old, SFTOC remains Salford’s musical identity. The artists it welcomes generate a buzz not experienced across the Irwell in Manchester. It is Salford’s heartbeat; a welcome break from the modern frustrations in a hipster haven unlike any other.

Words by Clive K Hammond

MORE

BLOSSOMS, INTERVIEW, CAMP BESTIVAL
FOR many the last few years have absolutely flown by. Election after election, tragedy after tragedy, humane coming together of community, solidarity, Iceland, the year of the celebrity death, Pokemon Go. Too much to remember. Yet for four lads, who unbeknownst to them spent the whole of their lives living within 2km of each other, […]
NICK MULVEY, INTERVIEW, CAMP BESTIVAL
“WHEN you’re finished changing, you’re finished,” is how the antiquated adage from founding father Benjamin Franklin goes. That ability to be flexible and change when the time is right. Hundreds of years-ago that famous line was uttered, but it’s never felt more relevant, and for former modern-jazz-turned-songwriter-come-newly-christened-father Nick Mulvey, changing and maturing has always been […]
JOE INNES & THE CAVALCADE, FOREIGN DOMESTIC POLICY, INTERVIEW
“You know with this climate at the minute everything is changing,” London-based Joe Innes tell Quenched Music. With his new album ‘Foreign Domestic Policy’ taking years to finally arrange, it’s hardly surprising it’s become a labour of love for the self-confessed post-Brexit indie songwriter. “It took it’s time but that’s because in the time I […]
COMMON PEOPLE, SOUTHAMPTON, LIVE
AS THE final stragglers danced their way from the Common People main stage, the filthy sounds of favourite headliner Sean Paul still ringing around the ears, it was time for the organisers to reflect on how successful this year’s festival was. 40,000 flocked to Southampton’s Common in anticipation of yet another Bank Holiday jaunt on […]
SIMPLE MINDS, MAYFLOWER THEATRE, SOUTHAMPTON, LIVE
IN SIMPLE terms the word ‘acoustic’ means not having electrical amplification. But as Glaswegian new-wave act Simple Minds triumphantly demonstrated to a packed house at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre, definitions are subjective. You would be forgiven for expecting longstanding Minds members Jim Kerr, the idyllic vocalist and endearing frontman since the group first formed in 1977, […]
CARELESS PEOPLE, CHARLOTTE OC, ALBUM, RECORDED
FOR SOMETIME, Charlotte Mary O’Connor – aka Charlotte OC – has been the electro-soulstress on the cusp of brilliance. Her 2013 track ‘Colour My Heart’ remains one of the darkened pop classics that finally distanced her from the bratty pop career Sony had once dreamt she would have. And in the four-years since, critics, fans […]