Saturday 29th of March 2008
Advertised as a presentation of "Music by people who drink cider out of the gutter", the "That's Not Skanking" people have been putting on a series of cheap entry, live music events in Manchester for a while now. Mention the word "Ska" and images of the Specials and Madness flash by on a wave of nostalgia. Luckily tonight's event is not a step back into time, but a demonstration of how the sounds and attitudes of the ska field have found a comparable stable mate in the punk scene.
Whilst a lot of the emphasis at the time was highlighting the lack of life opportunities except for the dole, this modern day variant is all about vibrancy and enjoyment and judging by the youthful, and sizeable, crowd squeezing into the venue, there is still a fresh demand for the music. The John Player Specials are moiré aligned to the typical ska-type bank, with plenty of brass sounds, and exuberance.
As the next band takes to the stage, someone in the crowd announces to the Keighley based group Sounds Of Swami, are now "On the right side of the Pennines". Suitably admonished they launch into a fusillade of noise and spewed out vocals. The only thing (thankfully) preventing it resembling a typical punk thrash is the absence of gob and phlegm. It focuses more on the physical side of enjoyment, the dancing, the exhortation of the lyrics rather than an emotional attachment to the words. For the majority here, that's fine by them.
Adopting a more middling approach to the two extremes, Harijan smooth off the round edges, even appearing to indulge in a more indie, guitar-led approach. If you judge a gig by the number of people topless (blokes obviously) then they are resoundingly successful.
I suppose it was always going to be a tricky balancing act if your birthday falls on the same day as your are playing a gig. After all, how pissed can you get before you are physically incapable of strapping your guitar on?
Well, the guitarist from Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man tested that theory to the limit. After barely getting through the first song, he danced to join the crowd and add a bit more chaos to proceedings as his band mates played on. It was a party-like atmosphere and the cleaners will have their work cut out in the morning as they try to clear up the beer sodden floors!
Author: Ged Camera
Found in: Live Reviews