By John Armstrong, Columnist-Rock At Night Manchester
Venue: Q Inn Stallybridge, Manchester- 28 December 2015
-The Side Panel Column-
The Transmitters have had a busy year and a half of existence; issuing their debut EP Catch the Sun, supporting From The Jam and The (English) Beat, briefly experimenting with personnel changes and then happily reverting to the original David Lees, Martin Bailey, Tony Dallas & Danny Short line up. Our paths keep crossing, I’ve gigged the same event as them four times and 28th December found them at the intimate stone built Q Inn in Stalybridge (just a little East of Manchester and singer David’s home town) for The Nite Owls Scooter Club end of year party.
An assortment of DJs ensured dancing had already started before the live music. And then, Vox and Ashdown amps kicked out the opening of “Out On The Streets”. Multi-instrumentalist (and solo artist in his own right) Danny flailed the premier kit with precision, surrounded by his array of eight progressively smaller cymbals – everything gets used – and David for once not bedecked in polka-dots took up the anthem. Martin has an affinity with Wilko Johnson and played his signature black and red Telecaster with a similar Picasso-stare and vigour. Tony was the classic immobile bass player, the weight of the deep notes seemingly holding him in place, just perceptibly head nodding to the rhythm. Meanwhile; David was constantly moving, swaying with an arm extended, tambourine shaking, merging into the audience space. He combined visual elements of Roger Daltry and Ian Brown with a touch of Julian Cope in the vocals, the package always delivered with a smile, adding warmth to the slashing and ripping chords.
Two more from the EP followed before the newer “The Great British Mistake” and “The Hero”, then “Dot Dash”, a cover of The Jam’s “Butterfly Collector” and the earlier shouts of “Pick Up The Phone” were rewarded; the false ending was anticipated now and a longer gap managed to catch some off guard before EP leader “Catch The Sun” ended the first set.
The second set began with the Small Faces “Get Yourself Together” and the three voices were put to good effect on “Better Late Than Never” with Danny and Martin adding layered harmony. “So Wrong” was sandwiched between Who and Kinks covers. The clearly “Tainted Love”-inspired “You Need My Loving” lead into a new song on its first outing. The understated “Man Kills Man” had a Blondie-esque feel to the structure and dynamic of this one, which is always a good thing. “Big City” followed which appeared to have absorbed some Jam DNA by osmosis, with an introduction reminiscent of “Smithers Jones” and a hook that rings a “When You’re Young” bell deep in the psyche. “Here Comes The Weekend” shares a title and euphoric sentiment with a Jam song and hearing it on a bank holiday a mere three working days from another imbued it with special powers. The live music ended for the night with the urban town centre song “Pay And Display”, a tale of parking charges and the death of the high street as a destination. “I look around and all I see is pound shops”, the bass line grooves ferociously as it works into a rave-up with a huge cymbal splashing finish.
The primary function of The Transmitters is making people dance. They accomplish this. The night is far from over yet and the DJs keep the pace going “until late” as the poster says. Put the door back on the latch on your way out.
Members: DAVE LEES – MARTIN BAILEY – DANNY SHORT – TONY DALLAS; Genre: Mod/Rock
The Transmitters “Catch the Sun”
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