ITC 2010 Clockwatch: Thursday, October 14th
18.00: A relatively late start today - having missed Napoleon IIIrd at Night and Day, our first port of call is the highly-anticipated 6Music roundtable on the mezzanine at City Inn. Chaired, as always, by the inimitable Steve Lamacq (who, in a slightly off-topic moment, responds to a joke by John Robb by telling us his Come Dine With Me menu would start with cheesy nibbles, with steak flavoured crisps for a main and chocolate in a bowl for dessert), the panel comprises Guy Garvey (who sits with headphones on throughout each song, in a broadcast stylie), Peter Hook and the aforementioned Robb.
It's better than advertised: each panellist justifies their reason for liking or disliking a song well (particularly John Robb, who seems to be really enjoying it), there's multiple flashes of humour (particularly when Guy refuses to be drawn on a particular song by diplomatically saying that the Manchester Ship Canal is so long that you can use it to measure the circumference of the earth), and the audience have been given double-sided red and green cards to register their opinion. The most popular track? Infinity Guitar by Sleigh Bells, with 36 points and top marks from John and Guy. KG
18.56: Miss Miss! The panel did a swear! KG
18.59: That descended into controlled yet glorious anarchy at the end. Marvellous. KG
19.00: Ready to take on the festival again after struggling through the day job, and it's back to The Castle Hotel to check out one of the most hyped bands in the city. All the bluster really isn't surprising when Brown Brogues play like this.
It's a simple formula. One guy bashes seven bells out of of the most minimalist of drumkits you could ever see, while another wrenches dirty, sleazy garage/blues riffs out of his guitar and yells through an equally heavily distorted microphone. It's intense in the extreme, especially as once again, I've found myself in the front row, being stared down in downright disturbing fashion. SW
19.30: The current hot rumour is that Lily Allen is coming to town, especially after she tweeted to complain about the traffic on the M6... KG
19.40: Kisses' first UK performance comes a whole ten minutes earlier than billed, which is no bad thing. Effortlessly cool, in that they they don't try to be cool at all, the LA trio breeze through forty minutes of gloriously chilled guitar music, following the current trend which combines sunny Stateside surf pop with something a bit more stiff and British. The result is a string of potential pop hits, and another packed out room are loving it. SW
20.15: Still chuckling at Steve's outburst "Did they play a gig in Gibraltar and they just weren't sure?" five feet from Kisses, in response to the band's rather coy declaration that they 'think' tonight is their first UK gig. It's a fair point. KG
20.20: Quick dash to Band on the Wall, who are also a bit ahead of themselves as I walk through the door to the unmistakable sights and sounds of worriedaboutsatan. Now Wave seem to have gone for a series of duos with a lot of electronics tonight, and the Leeds boys contribute in their own unique style. Ambient bleeps and pulses combine to form a bleak yet hopeful wall of sound, with some understated guitar work blending into the mix. Backed by stark black and white visuals, it's a thought provoking experience. SW
20.40: Hannah has suggested we stick around at The Castle to see Icelandic post-rockers For A Minor Reflection, and it's the best decision of the week so far. A four-piece, the crowd are pretty much silent throughout their clever, largely instrumental numbers. The sound is overwhelming, and there's a genuine sense of atmosphere.
The band thrash away at their instruments in perfect time, and I've got the same overawed feeling as when I first saw 65daysofstatic here in a rather sweaty Academy 3 five years ago. Then, it was slight shock at discovering a new genre of music I had fallen in love with. Now, it's exhilaration at having seen the band of the conference by a clear margin. KG
21:20: After a bit of a lull (spent once again with my head in the running order), D/R/U/G/S take to the stage at Band On The Wall, and the place is suddenly very crowded. Two hooded figures take their places, and suddenly we're into scenes and sounds that feel very much like what usually goes on underneath Piccadilly railway station at this time of year. The bass pumps in ear splitting fashion, so much so that I'm getting the earplugs out for the first time, and suddenly I'm surrounded by frenetically dancing bodies and staring up at visuals that could be described as the good acid trip to their predecessors' bad one. SW
21.45: I've made a quick dash to a somewhat equatorial Gullivers, in which Youth are making everyone dance in a very different way (by doing the boy/girl vocal dancealong indie thing very well indeed). It's another brief encounter, but one that shows another much talked about local act in a very good light. SW
22.10: Back to Band on the Wall for the final act of my personal "Tabletronica" Trilogy for Walls, with this city's export to the capital returning in good style. It's the same brand of atmospheric knob twiddling as D/R/U/G/S in part one, with colourful, psychedelic visuals and much more apparant guitar parts that take centre stage at times. The set closer is a real attention grabber, as stretched bass notes build to an absorbing climax. SW
22.20: Just arrived at Dry Live, which has had a 10 Years Younger-style makeover and now looks and smells fragrant. However, having just told a friend that I hadn't seen a dud band all weekend, this is my first.
Now, Crystal Fighters are downright superb on record - they wouldn't have formed part of our preview mixtape if they weren't. However, and it's a big however, it feels a bit like seeing Darwin Deez earlier this year. The band are incredibly entertaining - but it's not very accessible live. There aren't many bands who blend dance beats with Basque folk, and the latter seems to be sacrificed for the former tonight, which is a real shame. I think I'm the only person in Manchester that didn't enjoy this.KG
22.50: Just avoided a Partridge moment shouting 'DAN!' once or twice across Oldham Street in the general direction of Dan F (a quizzical 'Dan?' eventually succeeds). He's off to Guillivers in the hope of seeing exlovers - the venue is one of the few that's running late tonight. KG
22.55: Over to Night and Day Cafe for only the second time so far, and like Brontide yesterday, it's to see a band making a real ruckus. Pulled Apart By Horses' brand of intensly energetic noise draws as much from classic rock as the early hardcore influences that would normally be trotted out here. This, coupled with their high octane stage antics, make for an exhilarating show. A youthful crowd are flailing around at the front from the word go, joined from time to time by various band members and by the end everyone is breathless. Me, I'm ready for bed. I've plans for a quick jaunt to the Ruby Lounge to catch some of Health, but then, and it's over and out. SW
23.10: Having discovered Mount Kimbie (and, apparently, dubstep?!) as a result, my belated trip to Band On The Wall tonight is a winner. It's heaving here, like market day at Chelford, and apart from some technical difficulties two-thirds of the way through, their performance is flawless.
There's some earth shattering bass (the good stuff that worms up through your feet and into your belly) and ear-busting judders. You know those momentum shifts you hear during live electronic music sets on Radio 1 that the crowd just howl at with joy? Well, I get those now. Their primal beats have achieved the impossible by uniting fans of all genres here tonight. KG
words: Kate Goodacre and Steve Welch
live pictures: Kate Goodacre