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With stints as a band member in Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, Canadian born Melissa Auf Der Mar has one of the more interesting CV’s in rock. Now, with the release of her spicy 2nd solo LP, Out Of Our Minds, she’s decided to break silence and strike out on a world tour that includes a welcome stop at Manchester’s tiny Ruby Lounge. Judging by the excitement of large proportion of the audience members, tonight’s gig is a dream come true and a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with one of rock’s more intriguing personalities. 

Warming up the crowd tonight is the very special 2:54, last seen winning many new friends at the Deaf Institute a few weeks back supporting Warpaint. Based around the growing confidence of sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow, 2:54 songs possess riffs made of pure lead, whose sole intention it seems, is to bury them selves deep under the skin. The track ‘Creeping’ is particularly infectious and hopefully it won’t be long before they venture back up north from their London hideaway to play it again for their devoted Mancunian fans.

It’s not often that an artist chooses put on some kind of show in the cramped confines of the Ruby Lounge, but
Melissa Auf Der Mar obviously does things differently. Tonight’s set begins when a short film is projected onto a large screen strategically placed at the back of the stage. As the images begin to fade the evening begins in earnest when Melissa Auf Der Mar and her band roar into the first track of the evening ‘Isis Speaks’, and from here on in, Auf Der Mar cherry-picks the strongest tracks from her two solo LP’s’ to perform a showcase for controlled malevolence. Flanked either side by guitarists Christopher Jay Sorensen and Adam Michael Tymn, who between them create some deceptively diverse musical styles, Auf Der Mar pounds the notes out of her bass while furiously head banging to drummer Michael Joseph McCahn hammering rhythms. It’s great to see an artist back in her element and find she’s lost none of the sparkle that made her such a massive star. Halfway through her set her band leave the stage to let her sing along to a backing tape of ‘Father’s Grave’ complete with pre-recorded vocals by the great Glenn Danzig. For me I’m not sure this worked, because it made an unnecessary break in the set and may have been better performed as an encore. But still, once the band returned, the juggernaut that is Melissa Auf Der Mar’s sound regained it’s unstoppable forward momentum until final song ‘Paranoid’.

Before Melissa Auf Der Mar leaves the stage she tells us “Anybody can play bass and anybody can write songs, thank you for listening to mine” However the truth is it’s a very singular talent that can conjure up music as good as this, and no thanks are necessary, because the pleasure was all ours.


Isis Speaks

Real A Lie
Lead Horse
Taste You
My Foggy Notion
Head Unbound
Out Of Our Minds
Father’s Grave (Glenn Danzig)
Meet Me On The Dark Side
I Need
22 Below
Followed The Waves

Review/photos by Phil King