Sound of Guns - Deaf Institute, Manchester
It can't be easy for an up and coming band to open for anyone, let alone star-in-the-making Miles Kane. Most would quake in their leather boots at such a prospect. Not Liverpool's Sound of Guns. Maybe no-one told them they were the opening act, they sure didn't act like one. As the band walked onto the tiny stage of Manchester's intimate Deaf Institute the audience seemed as if they would give no quarter. By the time the boys launched into 'Elementary of Youth', from their 2010 debut album What Came From Fire and brand new single - the excellent 'Breakwater' - the crowd were well and truly in the palm of their collective hand, Andy Metcalfe's arena-sized vocals more than a match for the ferocious melodies powering along behind him.
There were three stars that night - Sound of Guns, Miles Kane, and the venue itself. It is a rare treat indeed to witness such powerhouse performers in a room the size of most people's living rooms. With the giant mirror ball perched precariously above, the crowd sprawled itself around, and at times on, the postage stamp-sized stage, arms carelessly draped over monitors. It was like those by-gone days of concert going that you only see in black and white photos, before barriers were erected turning venues into little more than beer-soaked cattle pens with a football pitch sized space between the audience and the performer. All the easier for Andy Metcalfe to periodically climb over the monitors and into the audience, close enough to rest his mic stand on a girl's head, or to grab the camera from yours truly and take a photo of our grinning faces. Even if it were Wembley, any stage is too constricting for a guy who likes to be literately with the audience. During the band's short set Metcalfe was wondering amongst the crowd, singing on top of the bar, and climbing the wall to then hurl himself into the balcony for last song 'Architects'. The crowd's "let's just get this over with" reaction at the start had become "Oh no, please don't go yet!" euphoria.
And it is very likely that tiny gigs like these will soon be a thing of the past for bands who will most likely be headlining the Manchester Apollo in a couple of album's time. Thursday's show was a night never to forget, Sound of Guns' excellent set followed by a truly electrifying performance by Miles Kane, a real double bill in a brilliant setting that made the evening all the more enjoyable.
Sound of Guns play the Sheffield Leadmill with Miles Kane the 26th of February and Southampton Joiners on the 28th, plus more dates in March. Get all the details from their MySpace page