The 99 Degree |The Maitlands |Deh-Yey| Chris Lyttle and Leon The Pig Farmer.
Retro Bar, Manchester-
Saturday 9th November.

Tonight I’m checking out some local talent and it’s pissing down on Sackville St as I walk past the old Factory offices and down into a basement known as Retro Bar for the first time. It’s a cracking little venue which holds about 100, the perfect size for new local talent to show us what they’re made of. Each band tonight are different in sound and its all good as I discover, with a few surprises!

I catch the last few songs from Chris Lyttle which remind me of a few artists and he uses his effects pedals to hone a lovely echoing sound which is haunting and melodic. It’s a mixed of stoned blues which recalls Kurt Vile and even a bit of Jack White at his most primal. I’ll keep me eye on this one…

Next up Deh-Yey kick up a storm with a blistering set of loud power punk from Chester. There’s a healthy army of power duos doing the rounds at the moment, however I’m not bored yet. I saw John a few weeks back and was blown away by the almost metal sound. These guys are a different picture. The drummer Tom is like an octopus at times and pure batters his kit around like fuck, while Cash Burns on vocals gives us some dark blues riffage to compliment. And those song titles, I Am Cock, How To Stop A Terrorist, Keepin’ Up With The Cunts. What’s not to like about em?

I caught The Maitlands earlier this year and had that feeling you get when you see a band going places. The sextet from Oldham have dramatically changed since then in style and substance. Carl Ingram is becoming a bit of a prominent frontman which shows tonight. He’s like a cross between Jarvis Cocker and Carl Puttnam from CUD. They throw in a mix of old and new with the brilliant Arrested Development, Kisses From The Masses with it’s nod to earlier Manc bands, the ironic Dangerously Sober and newy Flotsam & Jetsam which is promising in sound. Just a pity they didn’t do Daunting In Derker which is a personal favourite. The music has grown into it’s own, a more funky glam sound than of previous but with that old Garage sound we still love that comes from Oldham. They’ll be all over the festivals next year due to their groove. Not your obvious indie band by all means.

In between each band we get a slice of life in Leon The Pig Farmer’s mind. I’ve seen and reviewed a few spoken words acts this year and this guy most definitely has his own slant on the art. He knows his shit literally as he has no prompts just straight out with it, tackling mental health, coping mechanisms, social media nightmares. He even gets us all thinking about this weekend with a brilliant Toy Soldiers to remind us that a lot of ex servicemen are forgotten by the powers that be. A true talent with a mindful of gems stirring around his brain. Compelling.

The 99 Degree are fuckin’ loud (I’m stood right next to the speaker!) I mean loud! They arrive on stage wearing Mexican wrestling masks (as shown on their El Monstruo mini album cover) and launch into Originator. It’s got elements of loads going on and they’re a band with many directions under their belts. It’s a surfabilly sound notched up to 11, some people on the scene have labelled it ‘Black Surf’ which just about describes this right. Singer Joe takes the lead in revealing their true identities, pealing off the masks and launching into a massive Bed Of Bones with echoing guitar and Joe for some reason keeps barking “Flatline” whilst crouching on the floor of the stage. This makes sense when they actually air Flatline from the new album, a riot of sound, trashy Cramps like dirty blues blasting from the stage. They have a sound of their own and they’re keeping it in their own realms of surf punk style. Great to watch and with a warped structure like on tracks John The Killer, a tale of bullies in early eighties films with a dark twist in their murky guitar sounds. This band have a myriad of sounds, especially when they air the excellent mariachi style punk blaster dead or alive at the almost end of their set. Definitely not your average Manc band and a delight to watch live. They look good, sound good and turn that darkness into a whole lot of fun to this sweaty packed out gig. My ears will be fucked for days….

Words by Wayne Carey who writes for Louder Than War. His author profile is here and you can catch his  website here 

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