Twisted Wheel/Velveteen Saints/Our Fold : Manchester : live ReviewTwisted Wheel

Velveteen Saints

Our Fold

Manchester Gorilla

Dec 27 2013-12-27 Live Review



All this talk about the Sex Pistols this week, sparked by Julian Temples great documentary about their last ever gig in 1977 in Huddersfield, has kept on ending with the question – where are the bands now? 

There has been much hand wringing from people who want, who need and will get a rock n roll band to drop out of the sky and change culture.

Of course the revolution can never be the same again but that doesn’t mean the fire has gone out.

Far from it.


It’s December 27th– the dead week between xmas and new Year – no-one dares to play a gig at that time of year.

This is the zombie time when people are zonked out after xmas and saving up for the amateur night out of New year but no-one told anyone here that. The gig is more than sold out- there are 600 people in here and they are all going crazy, there is sweat dripping off the roof- really! and people are bug eyed mental- driven to that delicious madness that only great rock n roll can do.

Twisted Wheel are in full throttle.

Their story is a complex one- ten years ago they were the hottest band in town. They the got signed and dropped by the filthy record business that has no faith in rock n roll any more and has forgotten that it takes TIME to break a band big- just ask U2.


Twisted Wheel fell apart, got strung out, messed up and fucked up after they were axed but somehow, and this is the best part, they came back on fire.

They came back out of nowhere and regrouped and sound even better now than they did before.

There is a ragged looseness and craziness to their sound now- the band is just holding it together- all great rock n roll should sound like it’s about to implode- or explode!!!

The excitement is hard to contain and it spills out everywhere as the band attempt to contain the raw power they are pouring out.

The songs are great, twitching frontman Johnny Brown has a great knack for a roughshod, heartfelt melody and he sings the songs with that loveable rogue charisma. He is the street urchin from Oldham, a town where the sun never shines and the rain never goes away – a background that is matched by the fever pitch audience- this is rock n roll that is like football- the band and the fans melted into one and it’s a fucking riot.

There are elements of the classic Manc of Roses/Oasis – rollercoaster embracing choruses but also the transcendent darkness of Joy Division, the fire and brimstone of the Jam and the ragged passion of a Strummer but they transcend their record collections by somehow sounding like themselves.


They even do a great version of the Pogues ‘Fairy Tale Of New York’ with a load of mates playing accordions and violins and they pull it off- it’s audacious- that’s an almost impossible song to cover, especially in the middle of an old school riot but they manage it.


The crowd sing the choruses louder than the band and chant ‘Weheeeel’ between each song in a celebration of rock n roll beyond the fringe. This is music without anyone’s permission, street rock n roll northern style and within twelve months the band will be massive if they keep going like this- and they will do it without anyone’s permission- Twisted Wheel are killer live and if the mainstream ignore them they will get there by word of mouth. This is the revolution, the new way- people are bored of waiting for bands and everyone knows at least ten more new bands that are going to set the world on fire- they are all armed with check lists and give me all the names. A member of the Delaplains walks up dressed head to toe like one of the Kinks- looking as sharp as his band sounds- he can’t ait for next year- it’s gonna happen…


There is something going on out there and Twisted Wheel are the tip of an iceberg of guitar bands who exist with a big crowd despite radio and the press blanking them out.

Tonight’s bill is a great example of this- there is no weak undercard- I get there late and miss the two support bands but my spies in the audience tell me that Velveteen Saints really rocked it- we have written about the Glasgow band before and their bequiffed classic rock n roll- a 21st Century Mary Chain mixed with classic rock n roll is perfectly timed to break through next year- they have the songs, they look great and hard touring has moulded them into match fit shape.

Opening up were Our Fold whose demos I produced a couple of years ago- they have spent that time chipping their sound to a perfection and again my spy in the crowd was gushing about how damn good they are now.

Three bands with conflicting histories on the verge- we cannot allow this talent to go to waste and we should demand that these bands get listened to. They are far too good to be shoved into the underground.


Standing here tonight in a the seething room, with the great bands and the stunning finale from Twisted Wheel it’s really difficult to see how anyone can stop this now…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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