By Sam Constable
Since its conception, I’ve been a fan of This City Is Ours. Pushing boundaries in the right direction and shrugging off stereotypes is an approach most events lack – more content to fall in line with their cheap drinks and latest flavour of the month sounds. This evening saw TCIO shine as Salford’s intimate Scared Trinity Church transformed into Chapter3.5 of This City Is Ours.
Situated on the corner of Chapel Street & Blackfriars Street, a compact structure holds this striking space aloft. No effort had been made to change the inside and rightly so, one look round took in the beauty of the space before me and my ears interpreted the rest. The acoustics of this space were blinding.
I entered to the warmth of the Mind on Fire Band, a group of musicians from the Manchester collective of the same name. Operating deep in dubbed out territory with a powerful eight minds at work, these guys produce improvised genre defying music of a ridiculously good nature. A special mention has to be made for Martin Conner, the vocalist whose voice spanned from the tenderness of Curtis Mayfield to the strength of James Brown.
Twin Saxophones replaced vocals as Sheffield’s own King Capisce took to the altar. Fusing elements of Dub, Jazz, Progressive Rock and post rock, these guys completely blew me away. They produced that rare feeling of excitement, each track sounded fresh, powerful and dynamic in its delivery.
The combined might of Rich Harrison & Alex Baker on the saxophones as they worked in harmony with the psychedelic guitar fuelled delivery of Tim Feban. The delivery of all three held in place by Tom Ashfield’s shuffled drum work partnered with Rosh Lal’s deep Bass. The lack of a front man was swiftly swept aside by the pure energy of these five.
Chords rippled out into space and beyond, pushing boundaries of imagination. The track, “Between Teeth” completely blew me away, saxophone answering guitar strings. The frenzied exchange building into a crescendo of epic proportions. Beauty sung from this bands design. To miss them play in your town is a true crime against music.
A fitting end to any festivities, Manchester’s own Illum Sphere took up the headlining slot. Previously it was just his DJ sets that had took me into enlightenment, but this evening, fuses were blown and minds opened as I met with his first Live AV show.
In front of the performance area a transparent white screen hung performing as a canvas for EMN to illustrate his AV picture alongside the man of the moment. And it was from behind a backdrop of stained glass, that Ryan Hunn stood as tall as a giant. An APC his weapon of choice, a Mac the source of his power, the night belonged to Illum Sphere. Through the beauty of the live set, not only were we treated to the classic Illum Sphere selection but also a glutton of blasters, cries, shouts, kicks, snares, cymbals, and a small insight into the mind of one of this generations finest musical minds. Tricks off the new EP Titan made appearances, with the unmistakable title track streaming in before being shredded and reworked right before our ears.
Shadowing the man of the hour’s visuals streamed forth. It’s a struggle to summarize the nature of the context, but eye sockets opened into thoughts, faces melted into minds, images to dust and visa versa. Respect is due to EMN for keeping our eyes excited throughout the evening, pushing our sense further onto overload.
Hats come respectfully off to all involved in this one, the venue inspirational, the music astounding, the crowd one of the most engrossed I’ve seen in year. Last Friday this city truly was ours.