And on the Seventh day, God told Manchester’s Nine Black Alps to rock just as hard as any other night: Jack Gorman catches on their first tour for three years.
It’s five minutes before their allocated stage time but Nine Black Alps have already have the house lights down and their amps are screaming an attack of howling feedback enticing the explosion of opening number, Not Everyone.
Perhaps it’s the sharp awakening you kinda need on a Sunday night rock show but, simply put, tonight the Alps take no prisoners in their 17 song-strong-set belted out in a little under an hour.
Before all that, local lads The Lost Soul Club open proceedings and their blend of fuzzy, bluesy and down-to-Earth rock warms up The Joiners’ stage in the attuned sweaty manner.
Although tour and label buddies to the headliner, Castrovalva are, on the face of it, an odd choice to accompany Nine Black Alps. The Leeds guitar-less three-piece with a substitute synth and within a matter of minutes it’s impossible not to ‘get’ their electrified pop grime. Front man, Leemun Smith, is a commanding presence, screaming throughout their set and spearheading the onslaught of hurling their infectious tones towards a graciously receiving crowd.
After a sharp changeover, the Alps bombard the crowd and round of a three-song intro in less than 10 minutes with Buy Nothing and Cosmopolitan. The appropriately titled Don’t Forget To Breathe leads into lost gem Ilana Song and a generous mix of newer and older material. New tracks like My One And Only and Living In A Dream fit nicely in the set with gritty pop rock hooks roaring like Nine Black Alps of old.
Front man, Sam Forrest, is his usual animated self, hurling his Gretsch around as if they’ve never been away whilst fellow guitarist, David Jones, bounces around and tweaks his collection of pedals emphatically. New boy-bassist, Karl Astbury, fits into the puzzle without complaint and looks rather at home within the outfit.
Alas, between song banter is light and apart from Sam introducing the wrong songs at the wrong times and greeting some over eager-fans (“You’ve definitely given us something to talk about when we get back to our Travelodge,”) the tunes are the focal point. And with that, Heavier Than Water bleeds into Get Your Guns and, before you can geek out at David’s pedals, Along For The Ride rips another chunk out of your face. With seemingly decades of time still in hand, Sam announces their “last song”, and the buy-one-get-one-free affair of Ironside crashing into the timeless racket of Shot Down rages with the same menace it held in 2005.
The only downside to an eclectic set is the exclusion of several masterpieces from a four-album career (still no Full Moon Summer, lads? Come on!) but with “big” Nine Black Alps news arriving at the end of this week, you can’t help but pray for more shows, just as immediate as tonight, to be announced as quickly as possible.