ManGoneBlog Review: Cities to Satellites (Support from White Heat, Iktsuarpok & Alex Quinn and the Man in the Street) at the Krazyhouse – 06.07.12

Originally posted on, July 18, 2012 at 11:53 am.

Cities to Satellites
© Cities to Satellites

So my first adventure for ManGone had quite the depressing start seeing as I was stood outside the Krazyhouse for nearly two hours in daylight; feeling like a right classy bloke. It was looking increasingly unlikely that I was actually going to make it in to the gig as my ticket carrier had seemingly forgotten I was coming. But just as all hope seemed lost, help came from something of an unlikely source; the Krazyhouse bouncers. Like all good Scousers, my relationship with these guys isn’t exactly sparkling but those are tales for another time. All it took was a little name drop and a brief explanation of why I was ‘attempting’ to get in free and the kindly gentlemen ushered me right in. Gravy!

Now as I was only expecting two support acts for Cities to Satellites, Alex Quinn came as a nice little surprise. This soft rock three-piece hailing from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire only recently started gigging in Liverpool. The first thing to peak my interest about these guys was their melodic, upbeat and yet melancholic sound, hiding a gentle yet noticeable element of country. With vocals reminiscent of a Yorkie Patrick Monahan, my all time favourite instrument (the electric acoustic) and lyrics inspired by the lives of the band mates, there was something honestly captivating about their set.

The only point of criticism I could make would be towards their use of backup vocals, which could have been so much more as the guitarist only harmonised the occasional word which unfortunately was also almost too soft to hear. Personally, I’d have quite liked to have heard two voices during the choruses, adding some real depth to the sound. But that’s minor point to be made about a band I genuinely enjoyed and wouldn’t hesitate to see again.

Iktsuarpok came on stage with a catchy and nostalgic 80’s dance sound that, credit where it’s due, the guys pulled off perfectly. My issues with this Electro two-piece started around the time they made it abundantly clear that more than half of their tracks were a little lacking in the lyrical department. This then resulted in repetitive ‘dance syndrome’ in which they just chanted the same lines over and over again. Potentially something of a personal issue, I’m sure, but I feel that this lack of originality interrupted and spoilt what would have otherwise been incredibly enjoyable tunes. To avoid the annoyance I think I’d have rather heard them instrumental. To be honest, I’m not particularly good at being mean. Iktsuarpok are certainly good at what they do; capturing an authentic 80’s sound. The vocals, as repetitive as the lyrics may have been, were perfectly styled to the genre and could probably be compared to a modern day Aha. Worth a listen if you like your modern throw backs, I’m just sorry to say that Iktsuarpok have little appeal to my own personal tastes.

Next up were White Heat and truth be told, these were the guys I came to see. After being given my mission by Joe, the ManGone himself, I immediately had a little Facebook research of the bands I’d be watching. White Heat were the first to really jump out at me and thankfully they didn’t disappoint live. I’ll withhold comment on Andy leaving me outside for so long as firstly, I’m a fan and secondly, he donned a City and Color T-shirt for the gig which, of course, is in fantastic taste.

These guys are a local Indie Prog Rock four-piece with a style that lands somewhere between Muse and the Beatles, controversially neither of which I’m much a fan of, it’s difficult for me to place just what I actually see in White Heat. But there is an undeniable X factor. Friday night’s show stealers by a long shot, not the detriment of Cities to Satellites; I simply felt that White Heat had more of a presence, more audience interaction and a more floor-filling sound plus their songs varied enough to show some real originality; one track opening with a stark trance crescendo and another, a love song no less, breaking down in heavy metal fashion. All of which dripped with impressive guitar riffs and a melodic keyboard. Unfortunately for the band however, this was the point the sound guy started to slip. Both Alex Quinn and Iktsuarpok had been crystal clear but as soon as White Heat were on stage something went arie. Possibly due to the increased number of instruments in play, or maybe the sound guy just had a caffeine crash and fell asleep, but suddenly the vocals were nearly eclipsed by the keyboard and drums. Thankfully, however, I’ve heard much worse but having heard two bands prior in perfect sound, I feel White Heat were at least a little let down by the venue. Still, these guys are definitely one to watch on the local scene and I look forward to seeing where they go in the future.

Just in case the live music had thrown me off and I’d forgotten where I was, all it took was one quick trip to the K1 toilets before the headline act came on to remind me. There, in true Krazyhouse fashion, at 12:30am was a single lonesome fellow hugging a balloon covered in vomit. I guess all bands have to start gigging somewhere. Sadly the sound guy still hadn’t woken up and as a result, headliners Cities to Satellites had to play under the same conditions as White Heat. A Liverpool based Indie Alternative four-piece; Cities to Satellites incorporate some attractive stadium rock elements in the form of harmonised chanting, deep bass lines and great stress on their electric riffs. They’re song ‘World’s Alive’ sounds a little like something Radiohead might produce if Tom Yorke would just try an antidepressant whilst ‘Surrender’ had an almost Pearl Jam-esque flavour to it. With a nice mix of sound and talent from song to song, all in all it was a really enjoyable set. There was some audience banter from the lead singer and free CDs thrown in too. Cities to Satellites gave a more than competent performance which ended the show on a high note .

Reviewer: Dan Berryman

Editor: Joe ManGone

All of the above is to be taken as nothing but opinion and comment. The views expressed do not reflect the views of anyone else at ManGoneBlog or otherwise.


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