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In the City Report 2008

written by Andy N (aen1mpo@yahoo.co.uk), edited by K. Kylyra Ameringer

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'In the City' for me has annually been a very hit and miss affair. First formed in the early 1990s by the now late Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records, as a showcase for unsigned acts and attended by me since about 1998, it has always been hit and miss for me. Take for example, one of Manchester's biggest bands, Oasis. I was one of the few people who saw them at their gig at 'In the City' in either 1992 or 1993 (I am terrible with dates) and believe me when I say they were definitely not very good. I could name four or five acts who I did see over the years who really were pretty good and didn't go anywhere.

'In the City' is that kind of event where bands can strike lucky and certainly over the years I have seen some incredible bad luck. I can remember for example in 2006, when my pal Phil and I went to watch our pals in instrumental sci-fi rock band Laymar thrash their equipment after everything went wrong in their set, and then produce (so I believe) a heart pounding set out at Manchester's 'Night and Day' the following night.

'In the City' 2008 wise, we started off as we always began; in high spirits looking forward to seeing what we were going to see. Sunday, the first night we were out, was going to be the trickiest night for me owing to the restrictions of public transport. I knew from my own experience I would have to make a move home by 10pm which was just plain annoying. There were at least two acts, Charlene Soraia and Alban Dereyer, who I reckoned listening from their myspace pages would have been quite nice to see, so we tried to make a early start.

Starting off, we saw La Blanche Alchimie who I knew were an Italian duo and were reportingly playing a mixture almost of P.J.Harvey and Portishead. We very nearly didn't make it, because of the far out nature of the venue, which was a bit of a sod to find. The band themselves I felt was pretty good, although I know not all of my friends enjoyed them (as I know one of my friends thought their piano based tracks were a bit second rate). They played a nice mixture of soft torch-light music with slightly more up-tempo stuff. Considering there was only the two of them I felt they were pretty tight throughout their set and I know it surprised at least one of my friends (who had slightly restricted viewing) that there was only just the two of them.

After that it was straight over to see The Mentalists at Walkabout. However, on the way down we caught a couple of songs by Natccu, who is a Tokyo based singer songwriter. From what we heard and saw Natccu made a unholy racket that is completely indescribable. I've had some dealings with some Japanese acts over the years, and some of them are loud and I don't mean heavy metal, I am talking about just loud - for example the mighty buy crazy Melt Bananas. I guess Natccu came close to that in places, and it was loud.

The Mentalists, who we saw next, were either going to be terrible or amazing, depending on your viewpoint. They were so close to The Long Blondes in territory they could be a tribute act. I know one of my mates enjoyed them, but the rest of us were left not particularly impressed, although to be honest their songs were short enough not to be too annoying.

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