...it really has been a superb In The City.

Well it’s been another jam packed 24 hours at the ongoing madness that is In The City. With the official showcases kicking off last night, the whole event raised its game again with a variety of the finest bands gigging at venues all around and close to the hotel. Made it a lot easier to catch about half a dozen bands last night even though your Clash entourage were running up and down Peter Street like there was no tomorrow.

First up were a set of young lads who are hardly past their GCSE’s yet, The Naturals. With a raw, vicious punky dynamic and a hugely energetic lead singer who looked like he could do with a good dose of Ritalin to calm him down, the band created an expansive soundscape which put thoughts of Weller, the Jam, Editors and Dream Academy in mind. Talented and cocky in equal measure, a very industry crowd were hugely impressed with them and as they finished on a cover of Guns Of Brixton, they had done a lot to win over the assembled hordes.

Then onto Tellison, one of the hot tips of this year’s conference. With racy and rapier like guitars and an Soundgarden / Sub Pop style, four vocalists combined to deliver a performance that reminded one of a more aggressive, rocky Blur. With a style that would go down very well in America and huge driving percussion man on the sticks, mates of mine also name checked The Futureheads with their nice builds, breakdowns and full on delivery. One to watch out for.

Dirty Circus next whose demos sound like a cross between Alpinestars and The Happy Mondays but who delivered a tight rocking set that came across like The View. Harsh, dangerous and very effective, their electro acid house tinges and massive guitar work set against dirty rolling basslines that wouldn’t be out of place on the club scene, if you think of The Cult meets Flowered Up, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the places this band will be going over the next twelve months. Probably right to the top actually. A killer band. I even had a good old dance.

Onto the Music Box for The Vipers and El Policia. With big hair and big authority, the Vipers mixed an American sound with touch of Ska, Radiohead, Northern Uproar and Rage Against The Machine. El Policia, considered one of Manchester’s top teen bands whose power pop grooves have already caught the attention and praise of Embrace’s Danny McNamara, their nice guitar riffs and chirpy demeanour showed that they have the back up to deliver on their burgeoning potential. Nice lads too.

The Human Value, an American band who come to Manchester every year for the conference were next on our lists. Their adventurous, New York howl saw a change of pace at Squares. Dark pop which brought Souxie and The Banshees to mind, all three band members mashed up their well penned riffs with ruthless drums and the quality vocals of front woman Turu set the band apart and hopefully they’ll get the good bit of spin they deserve from this years event.

Caught up with Ejectorseat and Trash Fashion later in the evening, both of who turned in very tidy performance. Really it was last night was when the event went right off. Only one more night to go. Almost missing it already.

Thus far, it really has been a superb In The City.

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