Gullivers, Manchester, UK
26th September 2016
Gullivers is located on the edge of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, nearby lie venues such as The Night And Day Café and The Castle, two of Manchester’s remaining record shops and independent stores such as Rockers England and the legendary Afflecks Palace, in short there isn’t much point in going anywhere else on this side of the city. On this typically rainy Manchester evening Gullivers is playing host to an impressive triple bill, the Love Zombies and The Amorettes are co-headlining this tour and Louise Distras is opening proceedings.
Despite the torrential rain, and the early start time for Louise Distras‘s set, a healthy crowd has assembled and she receives a warm welcome from the damp mancunian crowd, her set tonight is a mix of songs from her acclaimed debut album, Dreams From The Factory Floor, and material from her forthcoming album. Louise is certainly on fine form tonight, she plays her vibrant acoustic set with her customary zeal and passion. The new material that was on display tonight indicates that her forthcoming sophomore album is going to be something to look forward to, and her established material loses nothing from it’s transition from electric to acoustic.
Part way through her set, during a quiet section of a song, a member of the crowd with a foghorn like voice is having a very loud conversation, impressively Louise Distras dealt with this noisy interruption by pointedly extending the middle eighth of the song and when she had his attention she silenced him with nothing more than a meaningful glare, as usual she is not taking any prisoners. I’ve seen Louise Distras on many occasions over the last few years and I’ve never seen her give less than her all when she’s performing, if you get the chance to catch her live, and the odds are she will be on tour somewhere, then you should.
There’s an ominous crack of thunder from the PA and this signifies that the second of tonight’s bands, and the first of tonight’s co-headliners, are taking the stage, Scotland’s The Amorettes. They are an all female trio who play full blooded no holds barred rock ‘n roll, the number of their Pledge Music t-shirts on display tonight indicates that they have well and truly established themselves in the North West of the UK and you can see why. The Amorettes channel the excesses of the world of rock ‘n roll and the result is a glorious fusion of the best elements of the kind of decibel abusing bands like Motorhead, AC/DC and the later releases by The Donnas.
The Amorettes play pure high octane hard edged rock music, and they play it as well I’ve heard it done. There are no excesses, no drum or guitar solos that make you wonder if you’ve got time to nip to that bar, just straight up rock served exactly as it should be. You could argue their sound is quite retro, but when it’s played this well, and with this much enthusiasm, who cares? By the end of the set most of the audience are singing along to their infectious choruses and fists are pumping furiously. The Amorettes treated a damp Monday night at Gullivers like they were headlining Wembley Stadium and they do exactly what rock is supposed to do, it puts big smile on your face and reminds you why it’s good to be alive
Tonight it is the Love Zombies turn for the headlining slot on this co-headlining tour, in contrast to the previous two acts the Love Zombies play frantic melodic punk rock at it’s finest, that’s not to say this is any way pop punk, this is full tilt punk rock with a heavy back beat and a full on twin guitar attack that acts as a counterpoint to the wonderfully eccentric vocalist. Think of a female fronted misfits without the b-movie obsession, maybe throw in a dash of Ramones and early Blondie and you’re almost there, but their influences are by no means the whole story as Love Zombies bring their own character, charm and style to produce a something that is very much their own.
In addition to their fine musical stylings the Love Zombies are certainly a visually compelling quintet, the hyperactive singer shimmys, bounces and kicks her way throughout the set, the twin blue Mohawk sporting bass player and the drummer anchor the whole thing with a pummelling rhythm section and the two guitarist resemble punk sentinels on either side of the stage. The Love Zombies are a glorious shot of bubblegum flavoured adernalin that I defy anyone with a love of punk rock not to fall in love with. This is another band that I hadn’t encountered before tonight, and they are another band that I will ensure I see again, and for me they mark the end what has been a perfect and diverse femme fronted triple bill.
Every band on tonight’s bill has been different, each having their own style, from the emotive power pop of Louise Distras, the rock ‘n fucking roll of The Amorettes and Punkyness of Love Zombies, unusually I can’t decide which is my favourite and I’m calling it a three way tie. For me a concert isn’t just about the headlining act, everything about the evening affects your experience, all the bands, the venue, the crowd, the atmosphere and the music played in between bands, but I find that I can’t fault a single thing about tonight, this has been that rare beast of a perfect night out.
I would happily see any of tonight’s acts on their own, but together they have created the perfect storm, and for a wet Monday night in Manchester that is no mean feat, and I doubt I’ll see a better line up this year, or maybe even next year.
Photography is by Dean Unsworth, you can visit his Instagram account here and you can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slideshow of the images
The Amorettes web presence is here
Louise Distras‘s website is located here
The Love Zombies website can be found here