Soaring at The Eagle in Salford – Argh Kid, Dave Viney and narcissus in full effect.

Sold Out gig delivers rhythm and rhyme ripe for bigger audiences.

This line-up always promised to be more than special and it didn’t disappoint. Those of us lucky enough to get a ticket for this line-up in the iconic venue of The Eagle experienced a multi style mash up of an evening. The best kind IMHO. Sameness gave way to quality in abundance, a diverse mix which kept your attention from start to finish. And a nice touch having the poetry or spoken word (whatever label you choose to give it) in between the bands as a proper part of the evening rather than a token add-on.

So I’ll start at the beginning. I will confess from the start that narcissus had me when I reviewed their glorious track, Cuttin’ Thru Red Tape, a while back on here. The lower case in their name is intentional by the way. It’s how they roll. Understated. I loved their sound and couldn’t wait to see them live. My home is always music-filled, but you cannot beat hearing a band live to really ‘get them’. Am I right? They opened with ‘days are numbered’, a soaring opener which demonstrated their musical and lyrical talent in extremis. The band are made up of Ben Guy (Lead Vox and Guitar), Chris James (Drums/Programming), Josh Lawrence (Guitars – plural!) and Lee Mulvey (Bass). It’s hard to describe their sound, which is a sign of how original they are. I love a straightforward guitar band as much as the next girl but there are a lot of them about. What narcissus do is to blend guitar majesty with lyrical loveliness, soaring vocals from Ben and a solid rhythm section. Ben also delivered a nice line in between songs banter, a skill in itself. Standout tracks for me were ‘lost causes’, ‘public affection’ and the previously mentioned ‘cuttin’ thru red tape’ with which they ended their storming set. Lots of admiration from the assembled crowd who had mostly not seen them before. Top notch. Go see them in small venues while you still can, though they’ll definitely suit the bigger stages too.

Next up, the wonderful wordsmithery of Dave Viney. It was great to have the poetry part in between the bands, like someone soothing you on a come down with something gentle. Allegedly. But don’t be lulled into thinking that Viney is all hearts and flowers. His spoken word pieces are like sucker punches. He draws you in gently and delivers powerful prose. He opened with ‘Mancs for the Memories’ and got the crowd drawn in from the get go. There are a few, what I’d call, professional Mancs on the poetry scene. Viney isn’t one of them. His reflections on things Mancunian are clearly and beautifully expressed from the heart. And this was never more clear than in ‘All the Same to Stretford’ and its shrugging rejection of the creep of gentrification which threatens to suffocate out neighbourhoods.  Go see him. If you’re lucky you’ll hear ‘Don’t Try This at Home’, a masterpiece in looking back on your younger self and those situations which just get out of hand.

What can I say about Argh Kid, the headline act? Well, bloody loads actually. But I’ll start by saying that he put together a top line-up. I’ve been going to see Argh Kid doing poetry for quite a while. And it was clear from his spoken word performances that having a band was a natural progression. I remember him telling me that he could feel and hear a rhythm in his poetry, and he nailed that transition at The Eagle. Seeing him front a band seems entirely natural and is the perfect medium for his mischievous  and masterful musings on life. The band were tight AF- Jim Adnitt (Drums) and Ian Barber (Bass) – forming a ska/hip-hop power trio synching in with Dave’s vocals and lyrical fireworks. You may already have heard ‘Frank’,  has had most airplay, but there was a daring depth to his set. My standout tracks were ‘Tearaways’ (a homage to M19), TiE aka This is England (a total zeitgeist track) and NDA with which he ended a storming set. Argh Kid is made for the live circuit, showing his love of hip-hop  without losing one iota of his Mancunian identity. Check him out on all social media channels a him. Soon!

Photo Credit: Debbie Ellis A Supreme Shot