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Manchester music reviews

Hans Island

Hans Island and Little Comets @ FAC 251: The Factory

Reviewed by Stuart Comins October 2010

The legends of most legendary bands have an early chapter set in a small, dark, sweaty venue, probably located just off the main drag of a large city somewhere between Hamburg and Glasgow.


FAC 251 goes out of it's way to look the part to fulfilling this role in Manchester, 2010. Trouble is, like so many things 21st century the dead weight of the past means it struggles to be more than a facsimile of the received understanding of what it should be. It's not sweaty at all and the door staff are far too polite though the ceiling is very low.


Still, lets not worry too much about that, after all this is Saturday Night....


First on are Hans Island playing pretty much entry level indie with no bass player. The absence of a bass player is of course, potentially fatal to your average indie band but in the case of Hans Island it seems to have fired up the three remaining players into throwing that much more energy at it, in compensation. In a good way.


They have a couple of good songs too. “Chinese Burn” went down very well and “Feather and Fur” has the potential for greatness. And Hans Island possess, in the follicles of the lead guitarist, that ingredient which can raise the head of a band above that of their peers, namely, a marvelous floppy haircut!


Little CometsSo to the main event. Little Comets are from Newcastle and indicate a possible connection to their northern routes by draping a washing line across the front of the stage, attached to which are a cabassa, a tambourine  and a cooking pan, the significance of which are never fully explained. Though the sound system is superb, the bass drum kicking my chest, I can't decipher a single word the singer is singing. But that is maybe missing the point in a Saturday night club scenario?


Little Comets, though north eastern lads look south for their muse. A long way south, to Africa. These boys from the Toon have globalized their sphere of influences to do world music for the indie clubs. And the indie clubbers love it; the front rows are lapping it up.


Their sound sucks up cultures perceived then bangs it all back out. Despite the indecipherable lyrical content, what does come across vocally is the black accented patois from the white Geordie lad. As the song said “what we need is a great big melting pot”. I think we may have one.

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