Tilted Music Festival

27 January
The Peer Hat

January allegedly contains the most depressing day of the year and by and large we have been swamped in rain, sleet or snow, sometimes all at once. So how do we, well, a limited number of like-minded people, try to shake off the shroud of gloom? By descending the steps to a basement club in order to watch a series of performers take to the Peer Hat’s aptly named Black Stage, that’s how.

At 2:30pm, I was the second person at the bar. I know, there’s no excuse for my tardiness and I must improve. Downstairs, a band member, who had travelled from London, was putting up posters to help out, but had a nervous air of concern about how many people will turn up. He needn’t have worried. At only £7 to watch 13 acts, described as diversely as “Futuristic Hip Hop to Vibey Psych Rock. Lo-fi Post Punk to Melodic Math Pop. Beat Poetry to Hedonistic Electronica and a healthy dose of Dirty Synth Pop,” there will always be an audience.

“I’ve got a force-field surrounding me,” sang Bingo Harry/Chanting Plants. Just for clarity, that’s one person. There are two mic stands, a chair for one piece of kit and a stand for the keyboard, plus either a guitar or banjo, depending on the song. Often used for comedic effect, here the sampled and looped banjo instead creates an impending sense of foreboding. It started so warmly. ‘Harry’ allowed his softly spoken vocals to drift on a warm cloud of soothing noises, providing the ideal starting point for the gig.

Everyone loves a good bass-line, don't they? From New Order to Cameo, bass hooks span all genres. Veladrome have several variations on them, as explored aggressively by Tom, one half of the act. Add in a vocalist, Lisa, whose voice at times is angelic, and there’s an enthralling amalgam of darkness and light. As performers on the local scene for a while, the Manchester-based duo’s profile should by now be higher.

It's always interesting when a musician brings a hairdryer to the stage and it's not to style anyone's hair. It's still dark outside, but shining brightly is Alice Rowan, who’s appeared in several outfits, including Living Body. This time it's as Mayshe Mayshe. The hand bells on the keyboards produce chimes much more interesting than Big Ben’s. Some lyrics seem to reference sounds leaving a dead body - it's very likely that I’m mistaken, but she made it sound like a lovely event, one to look forward to.

The vocalist with Code: Marla (formerly Code: Marla vs Spire Cranes), Millie Davies, is based in Manchester whilst the other two members live in London, so rehearsals are a tad tricky. Those standing close enough to the stage may have heard Millie asking, “How does this one go?” Those standing further away wouldn’t spot a beat out of place. Hers is a beast of a voice, raw power released in a controlled fashion. During Millie’s break, the remaining duo battled and bounced off each other in a genre crossover mash-up, one a fast and furious dispenser of lyrics, the other equally adept on guitar strings or electronics. I'd describe one instrument as a custom-made iBass - an iPad in a guitar.

There was plenty more besides, so in this case a very lucky 13.

Ged Camera

Photo inset of Bingo Harry/Chanting Plants by Ged Camera.