It is fitting then, that Laboratory Project have chosen this venue to launch their fourth incarnation of the Taste Masters series as they share many an ethos with that of Tony Wilson's former brainchild.
The Laboratory Project label represents "a coalition of artists and exists to create and expose brilliant music". In fact, the Taste Master series is described as "Music derived from human performance, bands, solo artists and collaborations which translates to amazing live music experiences".
Tonight is a live extravaganza with eight artists represented from the fourteen tracks on the album. The evening is compared by Manchester favourite MC Tunes, whose track "We don't care" is on there and with what appears to be an impromptu performance of "Wine Girl Wine" by The General.
The artists on show all give you something to move your feet to, with High Horses and If You Like To Dance heavily relying on guitars but managing to keep you moving with good drum tracks and synths a plenty. On show is even slightly more conventional pop with the in the crowd antics of Mike Moss. Indie Rockers The Riviera have a crowd following and their Franz Ferdinand style tracks are detailed and uplifting, with "Hunger" from the album a highlight.
China White have to be one of the most exciting live bands on the scene at the moment. When they start playing, they obviously find it hard to stop, and, to be fair, you don't really want them to. A mix of funk and soul, you'll need to bring your dancing shoes along.
Liam's vocals flow through rap and soul and with the snazzy funk bass, jangling guitars and cutting synth lines, this is a real fusion of styles, breaking into part acid house at times. Every song well crafted and show a band that puts effort in. You don't get to be this good without being into what you do. The must see band at the moment, get yourself along.
Turrentine Jones is last up and the American rock and blues is in slight contrast to the rest of the bands on show. That said, they follow the same footsteps, with "Hunger" being a Dylan-esque drawl of a tune. Hammond organ and drum backing up nicely. A rich gravely voice providing the icing and a fitting end to what Laboratory Project have set out to achieve.
A separate album review will follow, but if this is one of their typical nights, there is something here for everyone. China White and Turrentine Jones can easily stand themselves up against many more accomplished mainstream acts and I'm sure that is where we'll be seeing them soon. With albums to follow from both, these are exciting times.
Review and photos by Philip Howe