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The decision to leave Sound Control isn’t taken lightly, I would have liked to see at least a small portion of Deerhunter’s set.  Timings emerged as slightly awry however and coupled with Tim’s review both intriguing and exciting me, I headed across town to The Ruby Lounge and Scanners.  Although allowing myself plenty of time to complete the fifteen minute walk, I decided a steady jog the better option, immediately proving beneficial as I arrived in the middle of a set by The Jade Assembly, a four piece classic rock band from Bolton.
As I descended the stairs I’m smacked square in the face by a vocal of Eddie Vedderesque proportions. After Lower Dens, the feeling is similar to losing a pound, walking round the corner and picking up a tenner.  Although John Foster’s voice initially draws my attention, it soon transpires The Jade Assembly are the complete package.  A big guitar sound is supplemented by solid, intricate rhythms and although a more traditional rock sound and vocal may be slightly unfashionable in our age of seemingly incessant jangly indie, there surely has to be a place for The Jade Assembly.  Although only hearing three tracks, these were more than enough to convince further investigation is required.  My only criticism would be a lack of energy on stage tonight, although it emerged after a brief chat with lead guitarist Matt Gough, the Boltonians had undertaken their own quick dash to The Ruby Lounge from London, therefore being forgiven for appearing slightly jaded.  Further North West gigs in April hopefully provide an opportunity to observe theband in their true light.

A note at the end of their set list read “Smash the fuck out of the equipment then get fucked,” the initial part unfortunately not taking place tonight, the latter I can’t comment on, but surely reason enough to search out a gig near you soon.

Although Tim’s review raved about “Submarine” I must admit to being slightly unconvinced, finding the tracks a touch light for my tastes.  Live conversely, Scanners are a totally different and more powerful proposition...... they rock hard.  Although “Half a Mind” begins with a keyboard intro from Amina Bates, the twin guitar attack of Matthew Moles and Sarah Daly quickly intervenes, with the harder edge immediately apparent and particularly welcome to my ears. 

Daly is a striking focal point, clad in turquoise cat suit, vocally extremely strong, with timeless posturing at the mike stand and moving effortlessly from rhythm guitar to bass as Bates adopts the latter for the majority of the set.  Moles presence is a further major factor to Scanners appeal as a live act, discharging riffs like incendiary devices throughout, while showing multi instrumental skills at both the keyboards and providing percussive support during “Salvation” a stand out track tonight.  After drummer Tom Hutt switches from glockenspiel to his customary kit, we are treated to dual drumming alongside Moles with “Salvation” evolving new character, turning into a pummelling, pulverising work of art.  

Prior to “Baby Blue,” Bates dedicates the song to their perceived only friend in Manchester, after tonight I have a feeling they may have unearthed a few more.   As you would expect, the crowning glory is saved until the end with the Londoners literally blasting their way through show closer “Raw,” a track dating back to their debut album “Violence is Golden.” Criminally, Wednesday night finds The Ruby Lounge virtually empty with only around 30 people present.  In a lesson to many bands, I doubt Scanners would have performed with any less vigour and vitality if only three people had made the journey.  They certainly made my decision to cross the city extremely rewarding. 

Sarah Daly and Amina Bates appear within minutes at the merchandise desk and I manage a few words with Amina who explains the band hasn’t toured their homeland for a couple of years, due to in America and Europe.  She feels the small audience is unsurprising in many ways due to their absence, although they hope to rekindle interest soon. 

An appeal therefore goes to the U.K, don’t allow home grown talent to slip through our fingers and be appreciated elsewhere in the world..... it only serves to demean our musical knowledge.

Set List

Half a Mind
We Never Close
In My Dreams
Baby Blue