P Jørgensen, Brave Timbers, Seasons (pre-din) at Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester, 24/09/2010

It wasn’t a good sign when I walked into the venue at half past eight to find myself the only guest. The promoters also seemed embarrassed, and admitted even the acts weren’t currently in the venue. So I waited for a while and checked out the Nexus Art Cafe, which is a very appealing place in the Northern Quarter. As it isn’t licensed, a tried out a Chilli Chai variety of Tea Pigs. It was the 3rd or 4th time I’ve tried Tea Pigs and I’ve never been impressed. Chai is normally strong and sweet but here was rather bland. You couldn’t taste the chilli but it left a nice “afterfeeling” in the mouth. I have CDs from all three acts on the bill and its my kind of instrumental music, however, I wouldn’t rate them that highly, and was mostly looking forward to Brave Timbers.

Just before the first act, Seasons (pre-din), took to the stage, the venue did fill up. Seasons (pre-din) then proceeded to do a set of his usual electronic drone which although is not unpleasant, is never particularly memorable or outstanding. I have three CDs by this guy (two of which were free) and sometimes I find them really good, other times plain out bad. He pops up at a lot of these shows in Manchester and I can never remember much about the performance.

The second act were Brave Timbers, who is Sarah Kemps, a violinist from Newcastle. I had recently received an album of hers unexpectedly due to my subscription to the excellent Second Language label. It is a nice CDR of violin, piano and acoustic guitar (which also comes with a 3″ CDR of remixes). Nothing outstanding but really pleasant nonetheless. At this gig, she looped her violin playing and was accompanied by a guy who was playing a (four-string) acoustic guitar, who also used a loop pedal to add layers. The music was pleasant but less inspiring than the album, often featuring plucked violin, rather than bowed. A huge video was projected over the stage, showing various images and home-videos. It was a nice effect but none of the images were particularly interesting.

When P Jørgensen started playing, half the audience was outside smoking. I’d also recently bought a 2xCD album of his, one a soundtrack, one full of remixes. The electronic ambient bits I find dull (even though I like that kind of music) and I prefer the piano and string pieces. This might be because the strings are provided by Peter Broderick, one of my favourite musicians of recent years. Live, P Jørgensen was reduced to his short pieces of electronic ambient/drone, which, although not unpleasant, were yet again, fairly dull, with only a few moments of interest.

On the way to the gig I walked past Piccadilly Gardens, where a large stage was erected in support of some new Nissan. A female singer and band came out and proceeded to play. The crowd seems really into it and cheered at the announcement of each song. I couldn’t tell who it was without resorting to the internet – turned out it was La Roux, aname I recognise but have never heard. It was okay, although she replaced some lyrics with the word Nissan. I wouldn’t seek out her music to listen to though.

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