Thursday, 2 April 2015

She Makes War at The Wonder Inn, Manchester

I had intended to do a blog a month this year, so the second of April to do the first one since November is a bit of a failure. I'm intending to kick my arse into gear from here on in and also try to do a few smaller updates to plug the gaps...
Last Friday (27th March) I went to watch She Makes War (Laura Kidd) at the newly opened Wonder Inn in Shudehill, Manchester. I stumbled across Laura's music on Bandcamp last year and fallen in love with it straight away. This gig was the first chance I had to watch her perform live. I bought the ticket in advance as part of a pledge for her self-funded new album ( After finding my way into the venue (the door was at the back, rather than the front) and buying a bottle of ale, I got a spot by the front wall in readiness for the evening's entertainment.
Support came first from Forgery Lit, a three piece from Bristol, who started things off with a bang. A cracking set with some superb, rhythmic sounds driven by lead vocalist and drummer (yes, that's right) Ami. There was a good interaction between the band, both during and between songs, that just added nicely to their performance. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Next up was a spoken word set from Steph Pike, with a good old left-wing, equality for all theme that stuck a chord with everyone in there, including yours truly. Her poem about David Cameron had everyone laughing for probably both the right and wrong reasons - I'll not spoil the surprise and just say, if you get the chance, go and see her perform.
Then it was Louis Barabbas' turn. He usually performs with his band, Bedlam Six, but was on his own tonight, first performing songs that he'd written for a musical and then some of his older stuff, taking requests from the crowd. It's an energetic, manic performance full of leg twitching, stomping and leaps into the audience. The performance of The Tell Tale Hound at the end is superb, as Louis performs a song as three characters - including a dog. Impersonation included. It's a hell of a sight.
There was a further spoken word interlude, this time from Rebecca Audra Smith, in much the same vein as the previous one and equally well received. Again, well worth a listen if you get the chance and agree with angry, lefty, feminist type poetry. It certainly works for me!
Finally, it was Laura's turn and, unusually for her, she was joined by Ami from Forgery Lit on drums and a lad called Simon playing guitar and violin. This is unusual for SMW as she usually does everything herself using loop pedals and effects. As it was, this still worked well and she did do some songs on her own as well. It was a wonderful performance and her chattiness between songs, opening up about the influences of each song (boiled down, at one point, to "how shit my love life is") endeared her to everyone even more and added a much more personal touch to the songs and performance. Even a rather loud talker at the back of the room, banging on about his own self-importance and some piece of art or other, didn't affect her pleasantness as she dismissed it with a glib sarcastic comment. It went straight over his head, but the rest of us appreciated it.
Laura's live work is as much about the visual as the audio, something which came to life when she performed Delete, walking around the audience with a megaphone. It's a sight that brings an extra level to the performance and captivates everyone in the room.
The gig closes with an invite to hang around for a drink and a chat. As I had to bail for a train, I had a quick chat with Laura to thank her for the evening and got thanked back for coming out, before heading off home. She'll be playing again around September and I'll definitely be making the effort for it. Look up Laura's music and, if you get the chance, go and see her.
Finally, The Wonder Inn looks set to be a cracking little venue for Manchester and will be well worth supporting.
The Wonder in are on Facebook here and also on Twitter here.
Forgery Lit's Bandcamp can be found here.
Louis Barabbas' Bandcamp can be found here and his Bedlam Six stuff can be found here.
She Makes War's website can be found here and her Bandcamp can be found here.

Full set of photos here:-

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