The White Hotel, Salford
I’ve written about The White Hotel before. It’s basically a former MOT garage tucked away down a path strewn with litter, broken glass and probably much worse..in a run-down industrial estate near Strangeways Prison. Not an ideal location for fans of somewhat fey, jangly Indie music. It’s usually home to underground, after-hours club nights but someone involved seems to keep putting bands on I like – so here I am again, drinking bottles of Becks from an ice bucket although unlike my last visit they now have a second toilet so that’s progress. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because the music is wonderful. First up is fellow Glaswegian 5 piece Spinning Coin. They’re excellent, a bit jagged but very melodic and with a definite nod toward the headliners, and bands like Josef K and Orange Juice but they mix in something new and fresh of their own making – I also like the fact that three of them take it in turn to do a lead vocal. If this is the Sound of Young Scotland it’ll do for me. You’ll be hearing more from them later I reckon.
It’s not every day The Pastels come to town, and in fact this is the first time I’ve seen them. I’ve listened to bits and bobs over the years – but there’s nothing like seeing a band live to make them click and that definitely happens tonight. Stephen and Katrina Pastel (who appear not to have aged since the late 1980s) are joined by a Trumpet and Flute player who also alternate with keyboards, John Hogarty on guitar and someone who I later learn is Gerard Love of Teenage Fanclub on Bass. It’s glorious stuff, proper Indie pop thrills from the days when they actually meant something (i.e before it meant Elbow or Kasabian) and true to form everything feels like it could fall apart any minute – vocals and tunings go a bit wayward at times but on each song they suddenly take flight and everything locks into that skewed, Pastels logic.
Usual suspects and lots of diehard fans who’ve travelled some way for a rare chance to see The Pastels. Many Anoraks and hats. The crowd are really delighted to have The Pastels in Salford and they go down a storm and get a huge ovation at the end and they’re clearly a bit taken aback.
It made me think..
I’m reminded how hugely influential they are, how they maybe don’t get the recognition they deserve, and how I probably should have paid a bit more attention and I need to complete my Pastels collection. I’ll make up for it now.