We’re in Night and Day Café, Manchester and a band is headlining that carries a swagger and attitude befitting of our great city! The only thing is, they’re not from Manchester at all, hailing as our northern brothers from across The Peaks in Sheffield. They arrive on stage slightly later than scheduled, but an audience has gathered, one that had been fairly vacant up until their point of arrival. Tonight marks the launch of their new E.P., ‘Welcome to the Dream Factory,’ a title conjured up from the mundane existence within the confines of factory work, a glimpse into the frustrated psyche that their sound and lyrics derives from.
The five piece take to the stage, new bassist in tow, who is playing his first gig with the band tonight. They look like a proper northern band with their parkas on, indie haircuts and general blustering presence that oozes the kind of fear you’d expect from a lad band! They open in psychedelic/indie fashion with ‘Champions of the Underdog’, and a mystical chill washes over the room as the crowd move leisurely for the first track. Straight away they step up the energy by launching into the second track, ‘Reputation’, which is more suited to their indie rock essence, with a great pace and a smouldering, edgy guitar, striking empathic chords with classic indie lyrics such as “She knows I’ve got a reputation for being out of control,” and “I don’t care for no education, I needed so much more, all I need is imagination to give me rock n roll”. I notice much of crowd sings along, making me wonder whether an entourage have made the journey over from Sheffield, or are these guys already well known in Manchester?‘World Doesn’t Revolve Around You’ is a slower track with a poignant stomping bass line for the verses, which remains intact as the guitar cuts loose for the heavier choruses. ‘Dream Factory’ is a cool indie rock track with distinct eerie guitar licks thrown in to transform the song from a typical indie sound to something a little more sinister and darker. ‘Stop the World’ offers a complete change of direction, an uncharacteristic soft, emotive ballad that changes the mood from the gritty northern beat felt so far, to a more sensitive approach. The difference is also seen in lead singer, Chris Perkins’ vocal. His voice is naturally suited not only to the raw rockier tracks, but also in the expression of the gentler numbers.
‘The North will Rise Again’ twists the mood back to its tenacious originality with a very psychedelic, anthemic opening with its swirling and immaculate guitar work. As the title suggests, it’s a track about us northerners’ rise back to the centre of the world, our rightful position, also possessing prominent lyrics that are instantly connective to the listener! ‘A Way with Words’ again has the sublime guitar sound that gives ‘Section 60´ a distinct sound.
It’s a shame that this is the final song in what was a shorter set than usual, but as this was the first gig the bass player had played with the band, and only had a few days’ notice to learn the songs, then it was understandable. It didn’t detract from the fact that they still gave a fantastic performance, and you could hardly tell the difference, naturally looking like a very tight knit band that has the character and talent to go places!
To look at ‘Section 60’ you’d think they were a rough, self-assured indie band that writes tunes that are edgy, raw and straight from the inner city areas of our Northern Towns. To some extent they are, but they are so much more than that. The initial perception is that they would’ve slotted perfectly into the 90s boom of great bands, but there’s still something current, unexplored and original about these lads that isn’t so obvious at first glance. It’s a great skill to be able to shift the mood from the psychedelic unknown, to captivating indie anthems that’s better than most today, to emotive ballads that touch the heart strings. It really makes the live show and the EP’s unpredictable.
‘Section 60’s’EP is now available through iTunes and on the web site. They hope to perform again in Manchester in the next couple of months, and from first hand experience, this is a band not to be missed!
Champions of the Underdog
World Doesn't Revolve Around You
Stop the World
The North Will Rise Again
A Way with Words
Review by Nigel Cartner
Photos by Philip Howe