Veronica Falls - Deaf Institute, Manchester

Propped against the stage, waiting for something to happen, I gaze at the huge mirror ball dangling precariously from the ceiling. It dwarves the tiny venue, and I imagine the carnage that would ensue if it were to fall onto the packed crowd standing innocently below it (Nurse, the screens! - Ed.). Perhaps such macabre thoughts are normal if one is a fan of London indie darlings Veronica Falls whose songs include wonderfully gruesome titles like 'Found Live In A Graveyard' and 'Buried Alive'. I had ample time for my weird musings as the show was running a good thirty minutes late, and when the band did finally take the stage they looked as though they had been having similar thoughts.

The initial grumpiness lasted through the first few songs of the set, yet it did not detract from their wonderfulness. This is never going to be a band that comes on stage screaming 'GOOD EVENING MANCHESTER!" Their aloofness and barely audible, muttered comments to the crowd just add to their charm. The set encompassed large chunks from impressive second album Waiting For Something To Happen with generous lashings of choice cuts from their excellent self-titled debut. As the set progressed the grumpy mood soon gave way to evident pleasure in the crowds' ecstatic response. 'Tell Me' was exquisite and even surpassed the excellent album version and 'Found Love In A Graveyard' was met with cheers of happy recognition from the crowd. Other highlights included the beautifully sad 'If You Still Want Me', the bands' voices weaving in and out of each others' like a dance, and the superbly bitchy 'Wedding Day' from the debut.

Coming back for the encore, "We don't need much persuading" jokes drummer Patrick, the band finished with a glittering rendition of 'Right Side Of My Brain'. A great, and thankfully carnage-free, night all around.

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