Underachievers please try harder – August 14, 2010

(or, a round of applause for the 24 hours of Le Mancs)

The Cavalcade + Just Handshakes (We’re British) + The Felt Tips @ Saki Bar, Manchester.

It was not a dark and stormy night, but the end of a sunny day in the Saki Bar, the last music joint you’ll find before venturing into Manchester’s Curry Mile (actual length: less than a mile).

It also was the Underachievers please try harder event, an event held every fortnight at the Saki bar, in Manchester. The event mixes a live gig with varied acts and some nice ditties to dance to.

Without any further ado and with some high spirits, The Cavalcade had the pleasure of opening the night. Since it’s only two geezers on guitars playing to keyboard and drum samples on an iPhone/iTouch, you could assume there wasn’t any interaction with the public.

And that was the case. But they let the music speak for themselves: a collection of upbeat songs with some nice guitar licks that go with the flow. Soothing and if the band could manage to get a drummer and a keyboard player, it would be even better. It works so far, though, so kudos for that. Songs that I liked? ‘Voices’ and ‘Meet you in the rain’.

I always have time for Just Handshakes (We’re British). Can’t really pinpoint what is it about their music (sounds so old but at the same time, fresh. Discuss.) but it takes me places. Sadly, I seem to be the ugly rain cloud in their parade as 50% of the times I’ve seen them, there has been a sound mishap.

And this time ’round, it was Clara’s voice, a victim of a microphone that refused to do its job, so the first two songs (‘Operatin Daybreak’, ‘Hold your breath’) were mostly instrumental (unless you were all the way in the front). It went back to normal onwards, though it felt as a dampening of the good spirits the band always swaggers in their live show.

Still, they got to joke about the incident. Ed (bass) remarked that “something always happens on this side of the Pennines!” and that light-heartedness is what I personally enjoy from this band. Also, got to hear to ‘Depend on you’ (suggest you stop reading this shitty review and check it on Myspace) and some new-ish songs (I think I’ll be unfaithful to ‘Brass knuckles’ with ‘Bumblebee’).

Last act, The Felt Tips, hailing from Glasgow and looking ready for their set. First three songs were okay, but not my cuppa. However, from the middle of the set (‘Dear Morrissey’) onwards, they got my attention. These songs were more up my alley and the ones I really enjoyed were ‘Life Skills’, ‘Engaged’ and ‘Not tonight’.

Again, some audio troubles, this time was Miguel’s (electric guitar) sound getting drowned, so some of his riffs got lost in the mix during some songs. A couple of cops looked from outside during their set and Andrew (vocals) joked about them being on the prowl for Kevin (the drummer, who shares his name with a notorious Glaswegian gangster).

Then it was time for the dancing tunes and the selection… look, they played Electrelane, the National and Zero (the only Yeah Yeah Yeahs track I can get behind), so the selection was top notch, even if my dancing skills weren’t on display (long story).

After all was said and done, got my money’s worth, got a good show with a few glitches (one of them major) and got a top selection of songs you shouldn’t dance to but can.



About the author : Ask me about the BEST bench in Manchester University to pass the night. Until you see a honey badger dressed up in a tutu and sporting a pink tiara.


The Cavalcade

Myspace. Facebook . Spotify.

Just Handshakes (We’re British)

Myspace, Facebook, Last.fm, Twitter.

The Felt Tips

Myspace. Last.fm

Undearchievers please try harder.

Website. Facebook. Twitter. Myspace. Soundcloud. Last.fm

One thought on “Underachievers please try harder – August 14, 2010

  1. Just a few extra things:

    a) The Felt Tips (3/4 out of them) and Stephen (The Cavalcade) were kind enough to hang out as much as they could to help me ride that night out. Thanks, guys.

    b) Dancing to The National’s Abel is a good thing.

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