Songs from a City

Giving local independent music promoters the chance to put on what they consider the best new acts, Greater Manchester’s second city – Salford – plays annual host to a one-day music festival called Sounds From The Other City, now in its 8th year. A dozen stages are located in venues that include churches, clubs, pubs, and even (for some lucky raffle winners) a phone box. Last night we went down to Islington Mill, a hugely atmospheric 6-storey venue which used to spin cotton but which now operates as an artists’ studio, Art Academy and club. I’ve been through Salford once or twice but have never really stopped to look around; so for me it was all the more exciting to go and take a peek (especially after getting into the mood with another afternoon band rehearsal. Update: we now have a drummer!). Anyway, the professionals we went along to hear were organised by promoters Now Wave and the stage was a decidedly female-dominated one with a line-up including Black Belles (US garage Goth and darlings of Jack White), Keep Shelly in Athens (down tempo but upbeat electronica from Greece), and the retro-sounding Manchester-based Pins, who combine simple sporadic guitar riffs with faded pop-punk vocals, strong insistent drumming, and tons of distorting effects.

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I guess it’s a shame that I only managed to make it along to one of the SFTOC venues; but at least most of the music I managed to catch was strongly delivered and really pulled me in – whether on the rock/post-punk side or the layered/dreamy soundscape side of things. Apologies: I’m not great at describing music. Whenever I try I find myself remembering Frank Zappa‘s immortal: “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”  Hey, at least it’s a good excuse for my poor reviewing skills! And yeah, I know that we can’t be sure it really was Frank Zappa who said that but it’s always nice to give a legend a name check. Check the bands out online if you don’t already know them. At least I am able to provide some decent photographs. 🙂 Black Belles and Keep Shelly in Athens are pictured above.


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9 responses to “Songs from a City”

  1. Jemster says :

    Great photos! Very artistic. You should get them copyrighted!

  2. Jemster says :

    P.s – Shelley is probably better off in England given the current Greek debt crisis. 😀

  3. viviennemackie says :

    Sounds like a lot of fun. We too like to go to local music events—it’s a big part of the culture anywhere.

  4. rfrffrfrfffrffrfffrf says :

    Cool photos! Also check this w/ Keep Shelly’s singer – great track

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