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  BLACK BASQUE w/ Movement  
  Retro Bar  
  Manchester, UK  
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

It would appear that beards are back in fashion. Well, in Black Basque's world at least. Not well-kept designer stubble of the George Michael variety, but beards. You know, proper organic beards that have just been allowed to grow in a natural state. In fact, the singer in Black Basque has such a good one, he resembled a 70's IRA member. It was like watching In The Name Of The Father on-stage.

But enough of all this facial hair malarkey, because I thought Black Basque were great. Admittedly, every track sounded virtually the same, with only slightly different riffs and tempos to differentiate between them. But the advantage of this is that, if you liked one track and some people didn't, it must be said - then there was a pretty good chance you were going to enjoy the entire set. Well I did enjoy it, especially the slow-burning number three or four songs in that managed to come across as both intense and atmospheric. So, if you want to see a bloke with a beard (in a nice brown suit, too!), screaming with real intensity over some simple pulsating bass riffs, heavy pounding drums and a scratchy guitar player who pitches his playing somewhere between John McKay of early Banshees fame and the great Andy Gill, then this is surely the band for you.

The overall result reminded me of a forgotten late 80's band, The Sperm Wails, who once released a truly superb 7" single, entitled The Golden Age of the Casual, before disappearing into the sunset. Or, putting it another way, imagine a slimmed-down Tad Doyle fronting The Fall, which is no bad thing in my book. Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything more about them as my search of the net proved fairly fruitless, though it's fair to say that googling "Black Basque Manchester" brings it's own, er, rewards. Whatever, I'd certainly like to hear what Black Basque sound like on record.

The support act Movement, meanwhile, were making their debut and gave a very good account of themselves. Brimming with ideas and full of youthful energy, they went down a storm with a sound that brought to mind current acts like Franz Ferdinand and, with the singer's deep resonant growl, Interpol. One of their best numbers also made me think of the 1970's version of Wire.

Movement ended with a great thrashy number that saw the singer's growl replaced by some excellent "I-mean-it-maaan" screaming. Personally, I'd ditch the number that sounds like The Passenger, however, as Movement just don't need to parade their influences quite so openly. Otherwise there was some strong material on show. The singer, who I heard described as looking like a young Mick Jagger, is a good looking lad. He could be a really good front man once he's got a few more gigs under his belt, and with his dyed black hair, eyeliner and skinny top, he certainly looks the part. One to watch maybe?

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