Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sleaford Mods, Human Heads, Vibracathedral Orchestra. Kraak, Manchester.

Sleaford Mods
Human Heads
Vibracathedral Orchestra

Kraak, Manchester, 20th September, 2013.

'I don't like puddings'.

The Kraak exists off a narrow black brick sooted alley in the Northern Quarter of Manchester the kind of place where Engels and Peter Sutcliffe passed by both with very different intentions in mind. The bohemian quarter of Manchester, a place where the streets used to run with human filth and disease was the norm, a place where old age began in your 40's and people lived in cellars. The Empire.

Things have improved somewhat and you can now park your car on former slums and return to it several hours later to find it still intact. The pubs are still cramped affairs with 1930’s themed bar staff pulling Iron Maiden bitter, whilst across the street well heeled Manc pay £10 for three bits of tapas whilst washing it down with Boddingtons and Stella. They have record shops here too of course but according to the Undermeister the pickings are poor. After a spicy bowl in a Bradford style 70’s curry shop its up a few steep flights of stairs to a room with a stage and a wooden floor, a bar that charges made up prices for cans of red piss and a gents that will leak said piss into the venue - kind of. Some things in Manchester never change.

The Sleaford Mods aren’t wearing Keep Calm and Carry On t-shirts - they’ve come to cheer these miserable Mancs up and theyr'e succeeding. There's one young girl down the front whose swaying to the Mods pummeling beats and rants and she’s not just smiling, she’s beaming from ear to ear, a grin that would revive a dying man. Her hips are going like she’s warming up for a night at the Wigan Casino and she’s here with about fifty other souls to see the Sleaford Mods before they explode in the face of Saturday tea time mediocrity.

The Sleaford Mods are here to make your miserable existence that bit more bearable. Theirs is an existence laid bare, a shitty world full of shitty meaningless jobs and shitty pubs selling shitty overpriced beer to help numb the shitty life that people thinks great because we’ve got a SKY subscription, a 50inch telly and a two week all inclusive in Skiathos in October to look forward to. Theirs is a world of dodgy drugs and Amber Leaf 12 gram packs, tinned lager and pointless fights in pubs that used to be centers of social community but are now viscous drinking holes existing purely to see the clientele numbed before being ejected onto dog shit encrusted streets. Its a world few people write about or sing about or perform with any kind of grasp of reality or humanity, a world that is bleak but not without humour. Take them as your own my black hearted friends. The Sleaford Mods are here to help us on our merry way to the crem.

Its a simple set up - a lap top in front of which Andy rocks about clouding his face in a wreath of e-cig steam whilst Jase stands and rants in those flat Notts tones. Cans of lager are clutched and the songs come thick and fast. The whole things last about thirty minutes but seems like a blur that flies past in ten. They kick off with the new single ‘Mr Jolly Fucker’ before ripping into ‘Fizzy’ and ‘the cunt with the gut and the Buzz Lightyear haircut’ and the slightly more down tempo ‘Shitstreet’ ‘I built a swimming pool in my living room and I called it deep house’, a word that appears like a mangling of arse. The ‘Wage Don’t Fit’ and its chorus ‘When I said I didn’t like it, its because I really don’t’. One day we will all be singing these songs. Rants laid upon looped riffs with infectious melodies. Simple and effective.

Earlier in the day an Astral Social Club slot morphs into a Vibracathedral Orchestra jam which lasts for about an hour and takes us from synth bleat TG-ness to Faust forest follies to Eno-esque ambience. Six of them crammed on to the stage with a mass of instrumentation which they pick up and put down for about an hour, the thing shifting like the mutating beast it is. You can measure the intensity of any VCO performance by the amount of energy Campbell puts into it and about half way through he’s shaking like an off centre washing machine that has a lead brick in it. Its good to have them back.

A Manc filling of Human Heads had me scratching mine. Male/female one with electronics and the other playing a table top fan whilst ‘singing’ and at one stage bouncing a tubular steel chair on the floor. I had it described to me as Volcano the Bear meets or Milk From Cheltenham. Its just Manchester innit?


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