Gig review Hardware 2 @ Retro Bar, Manchester (May 31st, 2013) The Webb, Laser Dream Eyes, Factory Acts, Syd.31

hardware 2This is the second of the new, regular alternative electronic night organised by purveyor of industrial filth, Kurt Dirt (Don’t know of him? Go here:Kurt Dirt’s house of filth ). The facebook page for hardware is here. The first night included Nightcall, Jan Doyle Band, Kurt Dirt and Wrapped in Plastic and was pretty spectacular (even attended by Vile Electrodes!), so obviously a second night had to happen. This also happened to be the debut public appearance of our Liverpool electro space goth-punk friends…



The Webb on Facebook

webb1Now we’d only heard The Webb on CD previously; a delightful sense of anarchy and playfulness ran throughout whilst also being tinged with an uneasy atmosphere. We didn’t know what we would get with their live performance but knew that Becki was quite capable of looking spectacular in that 80s gothpunk style that Siouxsie popularised. We didn’t quite expect the spectacular live show they did put on.

webb2Becki started covered (appropriately) in a weblike lace veil and grasping a Webb decorated umbrella. At the bottom of her mic stand was a tiny skeleton with glowing eyes. Wonderful! Just the atmosphere we wanted! She shrieked, sang and wailed through the first song and then the rest of the spectacular outfit was revealed… long purple hair in two ponytails and long dangling swaying white hair adornments. Marc was in a white T-shirt and jeans, playing bass through the set and looking every bit the essence of the original punk movement.

webb3The songs were put across with every bit of fun and excitement that such a gig should entail. It’s a bit silly and it’s a bit scary (especially when Becki’s actions sometimes make her look like a Zombie) and just so utterly charming and wonderful. Everybody loved it. Even better is you can enjoy the whole thing as we recorded it.


Laser Dream Eyes on Facebook

laser1Now things got a bit more experimental with this unusual three piece band. A live drummer, keyboards and a vocalist with a table full of effects pedals with which he created the most peculiar mutations of his voice. It starts with a drone and gradual building of intensity of drums as the barefooted boiler suited vocalist mumbled and shrieked in front of  (not on) the stage. No one seemed quite sure what was going off at first as he seemed pretty much entirely in his own world and it was pretty hard to tell what he was being so manic about (but  we’re sure if you knew it would make perfect sense).

laser2It couldn’t be helped – Suicide (the band feat Martin Rev/Alan Vega) sprang immediately to mind. The vocal style was quite similar and had that same feel of improvisation to it (whether or not it was actually improvised).  Main difference being of course that Suicide used a drum machine rather than a live drummer (Speaking of the drummer, it was interesting to note that one of his cymbals was rather peculiarly bent out of shape, something of a 90 degree bend out of shape..).  It was odd what was happening but there was something enticing about the ethereal atmosphere with the single orange light they have at the back of the stage.

laser3Further into the set things got chaotic and drums were kicked over, beats intensified,  shrieking degenerated into feedback and singer thrashed more. The aforementioned cymbal was thrown across the room (which undoubtedly explains the bend). It was really about this point in their set that things peaked really. It never quite fully hit the heights again and it was ultimately a tad too samey for us but it’s good to be challenged all the same. Much respect for doing something different, even if it’s not quite for us.

Watch some of their set below:

Factory acts on Facebook

fact001And then back to something a little more conventional. Susan O Se handles vocal duties in this Manchester dark electro/alt-dance synth act while Matt Davies handles bass guitar duties. It was (as it so often is with synth acts) a ridiculous tangle of cables coming from Susan’s setup but this time at least it was very nice to look at due to the luminous colours of the cables. Which certainly makes a nice change.  It was also nice that Susan had matched this with her selection of bracelets. Good attention to detail.

fact003Susan’s vocals truly are sublime it has to be said. They bring to mind the likes of Xmal Deutschland (only a bit less shouty and more floaty).  It was utterly heavenly hearing such a voice coming through the PA. The music is is created with a large collection of machinery from the traditional synth to the ipad, all operated with skill and ease of someone knowing just what they’re doing.

The Factory Acts sound is cold and also rather dense but sounded pretty good despite some issues with getting the bass guitar to be audible and not feeding back . The performance a little detatched and aloof as perhaps is fitting for music of such a frosty mood or it is just because Susan had to concentrate on about 15 different things at once? There was also an issue with trying to do a new song but sadly it just didn’t seem to be working right at all. Which is a great shame.


We do find that the Factory acts sound is possibly a little too dense and could do with a bit of a stripping back to get to the real core essence of the track. Perhaps less will be more? The bass often seemed to muddy things a lot but that could have been just due to some bad mixing.

Watch some of their set below:


Syd.31 on facebook
sydhw2This was an act we’d been really really eager to see. We knew them well and knew they were going to storm things. Self titled ‘Vengapunks’ Syd.31 combine modern dance music with punk like vocals to huge huge effect. They’re one of the few bands on the planet that can boast a 100% record of people dancing at their gigs. It’s pretty much impossible not to. Dr Magic who fronts (and despite the rather punk appearance has quite the electro heart) the band puts on such a powerful performance you can’t help being blown away by it. It may be just shouting but it’s the right sort of shouting. Shouting that works.

And the music! What strident punching thumping power it has and it doesn’t resort to the horrible 90s rave that most of the EBM junk does. This is much more inventive, especially as at times it has a certain Italo influence…sydhw

The place was heaving with people and practically on fire by the time of the final song Mr Vain performed with Kurt Dirt guesting on additional vocals and stage performance. It was just incredible no minus points. Nothing negative at all. Perfection. Genius.

A wonderful way to finish a brilliant night.

The live act of Syd.31 is a closely guarded secret so we’re not allowed to show it to you but if you see them coming anywhere near you, don’t miss out.sydhw4

HARDWARE PART 3 will be on the 1st of August. The nights have a great atmosphere with all kinds of people attending. Don’t miss out!


hardware 3

Leave a Comment

Filed under gig review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>