The Soup Kitchen, Manchester 27/05/2010
By Rob Shaw
Career transitions in the music industry will often get you in trouble and a move from the shadows can see you scuttling from front and centre to back stage right, tail firmly between your legs. For every Dave Grohl, there are a dozen Cass Brownes (exactly).
So when Manchester’s own techno heavyweight DNCN (aka Duncan Jones) swapped the decks and laptop for a guitar and microphone, eyebrows were raised across the city’s dance scene. Happily, his latest project, Silverclub, have been attracting rave reviews and performing riotous gigs for a year or so, whilst picking up celebrity followers that include The Whip and I am Kloot.
Tonight’s gig at the wonderful Soup Kitchen sees Silverclub’s hitherto fluctuating line up consolidate into something of a Mancunian supergroup. Backing up Duncan’s vocals and guitar are bass stalwart Chris McGrath (Jim Noir, Sirconical), virtuoso turntablist G-Kut and the luxuriously talented Henrietta Smith-Rolla (Sisters of Transistors).
Making an unlikely turn on the drums is psychdelia maestro Jim Noir (AKA Al Roberts). Whilst the shambolic nature of Silverclub’s early gigs added to their charm, the latest incarnation has heads turning all over town, and anticipation from the shoehorned crowd thickens the air.
Show opener ‘Street’ doesn’t disappoint, and one instantly senses that Silverclub’s time is approaching. For Duncan this must be a vindication of the decision to change tack? “When I started doing this, people who’d listened to my techno stuff accused me of selling out.” And now? “I’m making the stuff I want to because I can, I won’t lose any sleep if people stop buying DNCN records because I decided to write some songs, though to begin with I was nervous as hell.”
In early gigs, that criticism was almost visible, with edgy ambling around the stage, but from the strength of the new band, Duncan’s confidence has clearly grown. Will this line up be in situ for the foreseeable future? “I hope so, they are all exceptional at what they do, and (having them there) makes my life really easy!”
‘Short Sharp Shock’ is a four minute example of how to write a complete pop song, and is arranged perfectly for Silverclub’s electronica and rock crossover. The show ends with the majestic soundscape of the tumultuous ‘Your Headphones’, and Duncan’s “dream team” are in full flow.
Soup Kitchen’s stage is compact, and the band are rubbing elbows at times, but a few more shows like this and Silverclub will be afforded much more room for manoeuvre. Whichever stages they play though, this is a project that will remain front and centre.
Silverclub play Eurocultured Main Stage at 3pm, Sunday 31st May.