Monday, 10 March 2014

#260: Delamere - The Deaf Institute, Manchester (08/03/14)

One of the best feelings one can have in this profession, is seeing a band they've championed for a while finally get the break they're so deserving of. One such band for me personally, is Stoke's Delamere, a four-piece whose steady stream of heartfelt self-releases earned them the attention of Manchester-based label Scruff of the Neck late last year. Tonight sees the release of their first single with label backing and also gives me my first chance to see them as a headlining act. First however, there's the matter of the two support bands to attend to, local acts The Hymek Manoeuvre and Glass Tides, both of whom have a sound as varied as the audience in attendance tonight.

First on the bill are Chorlton-based The Hymek Manoeuvre a six piece funk fusion outfit who warm an eager crowd up brilliantly. Opening with a number that smacks of '60s pop outfits, their set soon gets heavier with tracks such as 'Crocodile' adding some bite to their repertoire with penultimate track 'Hatred' proving to be another highlight.

Second up are Glass Tides, and though they've only been together a short space of time, they ply their trade with a quiet confidence, preferring to let their exploration of both dynamics and tempo do the talking for them. The inclusion of a violin also adds some diversity to an otherwise traditional set-up and i wouldn't surprise if before long they find themselves, like tonight's headliners, releasing their first official single to a packed out audience.

Having watched the first two support bands squashed rather unceremoniously leaning out over the venues small balcony, we opt for a more comfortable position stage left, as the burgeoning throng of the crowd pushes towards the front, anticipating the arrival of Delamere on stage. Opening with 'Head Strong' the band waste no time in kicking off their set in a big way – their trademark anthemics ringing out across the Deaf Institute’s modest gig room.

Tracks such as 'Vampire' incorporate lite-shoegaze moments, mounting walls of noise encompassing those of us stood close to the stage, whilst 'Heart' is a mid-set highlight that sees singer James Fitchford utilising both skin and rim of a floor tom to provide added timbre to an already richly woven track, before warning the crowd “you don't want to do that after a beer, I was nearly sick”.

New single 'Do You Want Me?' follows next, the mid-song breakdown that I gushed about here, really coming in to it's own in a live environment. This track is the reason for us being here tonight, and it's great to see the crowd singing back the words, despite it only debuting a couple of weeks prior. The first real crowd movement of the night, comes during fan-favourite 'Colour Me In'. One of the band's oldest tracks, it allows the audience to really let loose; the mixed crowd dancing terribly, though all in great spirits, knowing the track almost word for word, and with the dancing carrying on well in to the final track of the evening 'Betty Boop'.

Having only caught Delamere once before, at a support slot just down the road in Academy 3, tonight has exceeded any expectations. Though their last show was plagued with sound problems, tonight is as crisp and as clean as you could hope for. Every note of every solo is discernible, every high-hat or bass beat noticeable and the vocal reach of Fitchford, unparalleled. There's a reason why Delamere have been signed, and tonight shows why; their live performances far excells their recorded output, and that's not an easy feat. If this is the sound of a band whose wheels have only just set in motion, I can't wait to see what they'll be like in 12 months time. The only real complaint of the evening comes in the choice of set structure; an early inclusion of 'Colour Me In' would probably have got the crowd moving far sooner than it did. However, that shouldn't take anything away from a band who are well and truly on their way to bigger sounds, bigger stages, and in the case of lead guitarist Ash Egerton, one can only assume, bigger beards.


Scruff of the Neck Records