The Gramotones: Manchester Pretty Green – live review
Manchester Pretty Green
There’s a growing buzz about The Gramotones, built upon a growing reputation as a live band with a fantastic knack for harmonies and great straight-forward intelligent tunes and lyrics, backed by a couple of self-released EPs. They’ve caught the attention of Tim Burgess who has invited them to support on his autumn tour and Liam Gallagher, whose Pretty Green chain asked them to do this in-store and one in London a couple of days earlier. David Brown from Louder Than War went along to see what the fuss was all about.
Four-piece all-male bands seem to be ten-a-penny these days, especially those fixated in sixties and seventies music and image. The majority of them are musically competent and write decent tunes, but lack something different to make them stand out, to make them memorable and focus too hard on being cool. The Gramotones have no such pretensions, they write songs drenched in sixties California sunshine, a brave trick for a band from a rainy Northern English city, but they pull it off because they have not one, not two, but three frontmen in Sid, Jake and Ryan, who could front their own bands, and who manage to gel together to produce fearsome harmonies, taking turns on lead vocals at points and combining at others. It looks and feels effortless. James on drums holds the whole thing together without intruding on the other three.
They merge more familiar tracks from their previous releases and internet tracks such as M62, written about a car crash, and A Soldier’s Kiss, with some new songs including their next single, Drive, due in September which also includes the addition of keyboards to their sound and which displays a harder edge without losing the interaction between the three sets of vocals. They finish with a stunning cover of Bob Dylan’s The Weight.
There’s more to them than just the music too. They’ve built up a dedicated fan base that fill out the store by being incredibly personable on stage too, taking the mickey out of each other, laughing and joking with the audience and with the Pretty Green staff and genuinely looking like they’re loving what they do rather than striking the cool rock star poses of their contemporaries.
Leaving the shop, there’s a feeling that their star is in the ascendancy and the following that they’ve been gathering slowly over the past two years is expanding faster based on the reputation gained from these live shows. They’re definitely one to catch soon.
They support The Family Rain at Sound Control in Manchester tonight (28 May) then play the following dates :
May 30 – Longfield Live, Manchester (supporting John Power)
June 15 – Isle Of Wight Festival
June 24 – Manchester Night And Day (supporting Simon Townshend of The Who)
June 28 – Silverstone British Grand Prix
June 29 – Lancashire County Cricket Club
July 12 – Scunthorpe The Light
July 18 – Bowdon Cinnamon Club
September 21 – Stoke Sugarmill (supporting Tim Burgess)
September 30 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club (supporting Tim Burgess)
All words by David Brown. You can see more of David’s work on Louder Than War here