LIVE: Gengahr @ Band On The Wall, Manchester
London's shimmering shoegazers take their dream-pop/dance-rock myriad to one of Manchester's cultural relics
Posted: 19 February 2020 Words: Matty Dagger
As far as Manchester venues go, Band On The Wall has remained a staple feature amidst gentrified office/apartment blocks, that has seen vital parts of the cities musical history suffer of late. But this relic, situated on the cusp of the Northern Quarter, has remained a public house since the 1800’s and is still going strong as a renowned venue, showcasing a wide array of different musical styles and backgrounds most nights of the week.
Heavy technological investment means that you’ll experience one of the best sound systems in Manchester here, making the frequently used ‘poor sound’ excuse that little bit more unwashable. Tonight, however, the stage belongs to Gengahr, who are as refined in their dream-pop-to-dance-rock output as is their stage decorator’s floristry skills - stage plants suddenly seem a wise investment on a tour budget.
The opening is subdued as considered rhythms float around the room, lulling the crowd into a sense of relaxed appreciation. The crowd in question fill the room to the back bar, snaking up the staircase and around the balcony’s edge; they’re witnessing a set which seems to build itself from the ground up. ‘Embers’ picks up the pace, adopting something of a rockabilly shuffle that works surprisingly well when dropped into their typically dreamy style.
From here onwards, there’s the slow shaping of a groove that is chased all the way to the pinnacle in ‘Heavenly Maybe’. It’s textbook Stevie Wonder circa ‘Superstition’, with a hint of melancholy that does more than justice to the aforementioned sound system. It’s a very capable brand of indie pop that is unsurprisingly making its way through Europe before heading over to Australia in March. Hopefully their stage plants survive the trip.
Photo Credit: Alex Pearson