Before I delve into this review, I have to make a comment about the complexity of the venue, I had never been to The Buff Club before – not only is the placement of the actual venue itself unusual, but the staging is nothing like I’d seen before.
It is reminiscent of the scene in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World where Sex-bob-omb are placed on a pedestal and have to play above everyone while Gideon Graves entertains his guests, however tonight there is no Gideon, rather the venue is littered with friends of the band/girlfriends/other band members.
Five bands are on the bill tonight, and in a surprising turn of events, Casey, who are billed third, end up headlining the show.
To my fortune, I arrive early and manage to sit upstairs in a booth next to the area of which the bands are performing, with the best seat in the house, I try to keep an eye on the crowd below in my peripheral vision.
The opener is Evil Edison and the four men are well received despite being slightly older than the rest of the bill, but they make up for it in what seems to be more experience.
Heavy melancholia laden with bass and drums make up their sound, and seem to channel a band playing the Barrowlands this very night – the Pixies.
They announce they have a debut single but don’t play it, adding to their mystique; cresendo-ing into a jam, the band finish with big smiles on their faces.
Second is Miss Lucid and as much as I wanted to enjoy this, the majority of the band lacked the lucidity that you would hope for with the name.
The bassist and one of the guitarists look bored for the majority of their set, one guitarist however, is incredibly into it, admirable as you can tell that he’s keen to impress.
The Hazy Shades are the next and although they hail from Glasgow, you could have been convinced that they themselves had travelled from Manchester like the band they are supporting, The Relays.
They are Adidas-shoes-and-polo-shirt clad men who look and sound like their music wouldn’t be out of place on a movie soundtrack of a biopic about football hooliganism, this is not to say that their music is in any way aggressive, it’s rather catchy and upbeat.
In a twist of fate, the band who of that travelled the furthest and had originally been scheduled to headline were now going on fourth, The Relays begin playing and it is evident they are the most established act on the bill, with experience from playing plenty of hometown shows since their formation in 2008.
They are a fine example of an early 90s Brit-pop revival with their influences being listed as the Verve, Pulp and of course, Oasis (fun fact: the lead singer was the little boy on Oasis’ Masterplan album cover).
Their sound is brooding and they aren’t too into their performance — but it is expected from the Mancunians to have a laid back approach to much of everything they do; maybe that is so because they are quietly confident, and are the best live so far.
Casey, a four piece originally from Gourock, are perhaps the youngest band of the night, with guitarist Dan Thompson just turning 17 the month previous to the show, which would bring their mean age down considerably.
Their youth is something that helps with their audience, as they have a certain sex appeal of which has not graced the stage tonight so far.
Young girls dance and holler for “Daniel”, while the band blister through a collection of their own songs.
A particular highlight is when they begin strumming the opening chords to Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ in which they prompt the gathering of people below to join in if they know the words (which, obviously, they know they do).
Love or loathe Coldplay, they do the song justice and make it their own, adding their own Lawson-esque flair to the classic hit.
They bring something to that stage that is unique, they properly introduce themselves and use their allotted time to the best of their ability.
They make sure people know who they are, and probably think walk away with more fans and adoration than before they started playing.
Words: Alisa Wylie
Photos: Federico Plantera