The revamped Gullivers in Manchester is the host for tonight’s Christmas party and festively painted red, whether this is a permanent colour is anyone's guess.
It’s a great live performance by Psych Garage band Kismet Ryding. They have an energetic stage presence, which has been perfected in their hometown of Grimsby. They also have a good interaction with the crowd, who are all in a festive mode, with two members wearing the provided hats. The band have been together around three and a half years and play well together. The guitarist is let free on a couple of tracks, to play lead and show his full abilities, particularly on 'The Kindness Of Strangers' where he is given a full couple of minutes. The singer is very much the angry man at times, but doesn't miss his cues. The lyrics are strong and the live performance entertaining. The bass lends itself to amble the tracks along, at times reminiscent of a young Peter Hook, playing the higher end of the bass and giving the tracks another dimension. The drums are tight and drive each track. A sweaty drummer with his shirt off has never done anything for me, but this is the way to get the job done. The tracks are a mix of rock and psychedelic drums and wailing guitar with an energetic ever ready bunny of a front man. Bands that are into their own music to this extent are common, but this band doesn’t take its eye off the music. ‘Good Good Way' will be pleasing to Chilli Pepper aficionados and has a good spread of drum breaks that are equal to the guitar riffs.
The last two songs take a punkier direction with 'Hope & Glory' a worthy finisher, but this is a band that is destined for a bigger stage, and I can’t wait to see it. If you haven’t managed to catch them live, you could appease yourself with their CD, out now but their live performance make them a must see. Setlist: Last Night's Stains/Comin' Up/The Most Famous Man (In Our Town)/Serenity/The Kindness of Strangers/Good Good way/Running/Look.See.Don't.Trip/Hope & Glory.
Other bands on show for Mr Peeps Christmas Party include Transister Baby with eclectic youth on their side. Most of the tracks appear to doff a cap to the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, with second song showing what direction the band will grow, very melodic and good riffs, while their last song is very ‘Reverend and The Makers’ with a change of pace in the middle.
Stolen Haven are a band I've seen a few times over the last year and never fail to impress. They rattle through an impressive set of good melodies with just enough swagger to carry it off. Guitar riffs provided by Jimmy get better with each new track they write and the addition of a second guitarist for his first gig with the band will give another dimension. A lust for life drummer and cool front man ensures that Stolen Haven can only continue to grow into 2014. With Mr Peeps having a raffle tonight, there should have been a prize for guessing how many parkas you can fit in Gulliver's, as Stolen Haven's groupies descended. With new song 'Rest My Soul' out in the new year, the riffs are slightly heavier, and gritty guitar running through the fulll length of the track, its a singalong anthem.
The Velocets have the top billing tonight. A three piece with the bassist on vocal duties, they are closer to the punk movement, cranking it up for the last two songs.
An enjoyable evening with four good bands, Mr Peeps can retire for the evening and enjoy a glass of port and a mince pie, Christmas Party ... done.
Review by Philip Howe