The Ruby Lounge, Manchester. 22/01/2010
By Simon Poole
I’m a little dubious about tonight’s gig, as it is not the first time I’ve been to see a band that is fronted by an actor. My last experience of this was a couple of years ago, when I chanced upon The Peth playing at a club in Wigan. At the helm of this Welsh outfit was a certain Mr. Rhys Ifans and if I’m honest, it was a strange evening.
Throughout the whole of the show, I could not work out if the person I was seeing was actually Ifans being himself, or if it was him just portraying the character of a lead singer. Even though the gig was alright, I would to this day describe it as weird. So whilst I am stood here awaiting the arrival of Riding The Low, my expectations are open ended.
If you are not yet aware of this band, you might be surprised to know that it is one of Britain’s finest actors Paddy Considine that takes centre stage for them. Considine is no stranger to being part of a band and was dabbling with music well before he became known for his roles in such films as Dead Man’s Shoes, The Bourne Ultimatum and 24 Hour Party People.
His first brush with music was as a drummer in Grunt, a comedy thrash metal band. After this he went on to form She Talks To Angels which included such members as Nick Hemming (The Leisure Society) and Shane Meadows (Film Director).
Over the years Considine had been scribbling down lyrics and decided to get them recorded. In the process of doing this he ended with a new band and took the decision to go on the road.
All band members are now in position and awaiting the presence of their better known singer. He saunters through the crowd from the back of the crowd with an armful of liquid refreshments and takes up his place.
As they launch into their opening track the vocals are not as clear as they usually are in this venue. By the end of the song I am hoping the next offering will be better. Not that it is bad, but just that it does not really make an impression and I am left with the same thought after the first few tracks too.
This Lo-fi rock with a bit of indie thrown in for good measure is good, but not ground breaking. By the time we are about half an our into the set, many of the people at the back of the room are chatting amongst themselves and the ones nearer the front are taking pictures of themselves with Considine in the background onstage.
Because the order of the setlist seems to go from a faster paced song to a slower one repeatedly, the mood never seems to settle and by the time the set is over I’m left not quite knowing if I like Riding The Low or not
Thankfully, Considine does not give the impression that being a singer in a band is something he is just playing at, as he seems to put his all into it. All of the band members say that they are doing this because they love playing, and if that is not the best reason in the world for a band to be in existence, then I don’t know what is.