By Mark Lear, Rock At Night Manchester
Live Review: The Fades with Lip – Off the Square, Manchester, UK-April 21, 2023
Tonight, was a night to venture into the dark, into the unknown, as I’m off to Manchester to a venue that’s not really known for live music. I know I’m going to see one band but there’s not been any advertising, not even on social media so the rest is… well, unknown.
I get there early and find that place has some kind of open band night where you book yourself in, turn up and play for half an hour – see if you can make a name for yourself and start a following. It’s all a bit hit and miss, but it is what it is – I guess that sometimes these things can pay off and tonight, I’m glad to say, it did.
First up are Lip, playing only their fifth gig, which showed as the stage craft was a little rough around the edges shall we say, but in fairness this kind of music (non-genre specific – their words not mine – but think post punk, thrash with a heavy duty beat thrown in) doesn’t rely on rehearsed performance too much, it either comes naturally or it doesn’t happen – but when you have an enigmatic front man like Lip does, it comes.
It’s a powerful set with only half a dozen songs, including their first single ‘Burning Love’ and their latest ‘Thousand Years’ (for which there’s even a video on YouTube) but it’s enough to hope that they carry on with this and with some management or even the talents of a younger brother or sister who are social media savvy and can set up all of the platforms for some advertising (you’ll only find them on Instagram #wheresyourlip), a decent following is definitely on the cards. The word is they’ll be supporting Sovereigns at The Castle Hotel in Manchester on 20th May, which is as good a reason to waste an evening as anyone could want.
Next up is the band that made me head up the M6 – The Fades. Now I thought I’d made an effort, but these boys have travelled up from the smoke (London, to the uninitiated) all for 30 minutes, so I doff my cap to you for that Chaps.
The Fades are the Lightfoot brothers Dave and James, Jonny Barnard and Alastair Thorpe who bash out post punk (but now termed ‘indie’) tunes from a by-gone era and I’m glad that they do. It was all going well for them a few years ago with tours, single releases and a good dose of airplay on national radio… but then it all stopped. However, Covid and the many lockdowns caused a re-think as it did with many bands and artists and so, The Fades are back.
Much of the set is taken from their latest album ‘Night Terrors’ and we start off by being gently lulled into a false sense of security with ‘Time is Right’ but then it all kicks off with ‘So Much Better’ and ‘Follow’ about a stalker, which it transpires, is a cat, but there you go.
Second doff of the cap goes to any band that can pay a musical homage to a quality toy from the 70s ‘Meccano’ (ah, the cut fingers – Meccano had sharp edges when you’re seven) before the topical moment of the night and a song dedicated to an alleged bully of a politician that had lost his job a few hours earlier, titled… ‘Lost My Job’ !
We finish with ‘I Love Punk Rock’ and ‘Wake Up Generation’ which is where all this was heading – thrashed out, big chords, heavy duty bass and a drum performance that Animal would have been proud of. We were meant to get an encore or two, but the clock hit 30 (minutes) and their time was up.
This was one big nostalgia trip for me, and I was very grateful for it. So, I say to the boys from the Smoke, head North again fellas. Soon. Post Punk, Indie, Garage, call it what you want, I don’t care, I just want more of it.
For completeness, I should point out that there was a third band, but I’m done with Oasis style dudes that are dressed the same as them and are anchored to the same six inches of stage from song one to song seven, never moving an inch, head down and playing as if they’re back home, in their bedroom, rather than performing in front of a crowd. It’s been done to death now and I’m all punked up courtesy of Lip and The Fades, so for me it was exit stage left and good night Manchester.
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