Manchester Ruby Lounge
August 24th 2012
In a year of reformations this could be the most poignant.
The long lost Mancunian underground legends, Paris Angels, recently reformed to play a one off gig for recently deceased former drummer, Simon Worrall who died last November. This one off gig was planned to help to raise money to cover his funeral costs.
The gig would have worked as purely this, an altruistic and touching money raiser as well as a get together for old comrades from the late eighties baggy wars but the band, probably unbeknown to themselves, played a blinder and presented themselves with a real quandary.
The plan remains for this to be a one off gig. A tribute. However in the middle of the brilliant swirl of trippy sound and neo psychedelics Paris Angels somehow sounded better than they have ever done before and could do well on the festival circuit next year, posing a question about their future- could they stay together for one off shows that are musically brilliant and a celebration of a long lost culture when far flung East Mancunian estates like Guide Bridge where they hailed from once glowed with a psychedelic tinge.
Paris Angel were always an anomaly in the Manchester scene.
Here was a gang of East Manchester misfits armed with those great, eclectic record collections that Tony Wilson always marveled at the local kids having. They combined their myriad of influences and their music fanatic presence on the local scene, where members of the band were part of the famed ’50 people you saw everywhere, at everything’ as Noel Gallagher recalled once and they made their own definite statement.
Perfume was their best known song and helped get them the major record deal with Virgin that helped then hindered them and they play a great version of it tonight.
The song remians a psych take on the post-New Order electro dance model but it tellingly pales into insignifince with the rest of their material. The rest of the set sounds like a 21st century take on the early days of dread LSD flavoured, west coast tripperati like Jefferson Airplane jamming with Love but with a Mancunian love of dance and electronics thrown in.
The twin male/female vocals of Rikki Turner and Jane Gill give the band an original edge and it’s this interplay and tension that really stands out.
Genial local madman Wags is still on guitar having survived those mad years playing in Black Grape, his funky strokes on the guitar give the band a real swing whilst Scott Carey, the man who could have been a Stone Rose, holds down the bass.
The songs are funky, trippy and anthemic and the Paris Angels sound fantastic. They really didn’t have to be this good. They sound timeless and are far more than a retro run back to a time when the world was simpler and more chemical.
They should seriously think about playing a few festivals as both a continuing tribute to their fallen comrade and because they have somehow returned as a damn fine band who still have an unreleased second album up their sleeve and are far more than footnote in the Manchester music story but a fine band in their own right.
Tonight was a triumph and the swaying, leery and quite deranged looking crowd were the true faces of a that long lost Manc period when the party was going on a long way from the hipster city centre paradise. A time when mad pubs had freaky scenes and obscure sixties freak band were the currency along with acid house, post punk, Velvet Underground and any other music that didn’t belong to any kind of business.
Paris Angels were the true voice of that world then and remarkably they captured it again tonight with a music that sounded so beautifully wonky and soaring that it really captured that wonderful and strange trip more than two decades ago in Manchester and proved its timeless quality.
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