Crazy Arm - Retro Bar, Manchester Live Review

Review of Crazy Arm live at the Retro Bar in Manchester.

Crazy Arm

What do you usually do with your Monday nights?

If they have recently been plighted with an unhealthy amount of shit TV, then, terrifying as it may seem, you could always leave the cosy stagnant comfort of your couch and venture out into the city in search of some fun.
For those of you out there that crave a little more stimulation than Pop Idol, Britain's got talent or any of that other bilge that pollutes the minds of the innocent, then follow your feet along to your nearest dimly lit music venue and watch some real talent.

One recent Monday night saw the return of the underground Plymouth punk rockers, 'Crazy Arm' to the Retro Bar in Manchester. If you were there, you'll still remember the torrent of guitar shredding and ear splitting mayhem, gushing forth into the dark grotto of the Retro Bar's cellar.

I didn't drag my sorry carcass there until about 8.30pm, so just missed the first act, 'The Emos', but from the look of them, I can only imagine that I saved myself a few frequency levels from my sound range.

Just as I was arriving, I witnessed 'The Fractions' in action, spitting bloody murder into the microphone. Musically they were pretty good, but I felt the vocals were a bit weak, being totally dominated by an overly enthusiastic drummer. I thought the band performed better when the lead guitarist grabbed a trombone and started skadoodling with it amidst the froth of sound. Although entertaining to watch, the Fractions sounded like a high school band that needed a bit more mothering and a lot more practice.

I was more impressed with 'Sounds of Swami', who materialised shortly after The Fractions had flung their stuff into the corner. The first song ripped into the small room and the band seemed to be throwing everything they had at it. The bassist was leaping and slashing his dreads around like a man possessed, but this burst of exuberance was short lived, and the set seemed a little bit tired towards the end. Most of their songs had a good toe-tapping vibe, but I felt they lacked some originality, as most of their songs seemed to have riffs sounding precariously close to the likes of Tool, Fugazi and Rage Against the Machine.

As Sounds of Swami shambled off stage to get pissed, Crazy arm decided to rock up and get going. They blasted straight into some fast and melodic power punk tunes that had the crowd moving. They played a tight set musically, but failed to inspire any audience reaction with their shitty inter-song banter. Crazy Arm were soon waving goodbye after a short but aggressive set, and I stood fairly contented, having just experienced 3 (should've been 4) dark, dirty and underground punk bands showing off their flair, and all it had cost me was a meagre £3 for entry.

If you're mind is buzzing with the realisation that there is something else out there other than brain stewing TV shows and time wasting chat rooms, then flip your attention to the TNS website and check out what future Ska/Punk events these guys have in store for you.

Rory Taylor

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