Starkie’s Bar, Gigg Lane, Bury
Saturday 27 October
It’s a stadium show, but not as we know it. In a far corner of the ground at Bury’s Football Club’s Gigg Lane stadium there is a new gig opportunity for Manchester’s bands, to entertain the pre-match hordes attending FC United’s home games.
Prior to a the visit by a team from Osset it was the turn of the oddly monikered Optional Wallace.
One of the most active bands on the unsigned scene, setting up their own live nights in various pubs, their early career has been met with politeness rather than the enthusiasm they may have expected but after the best part of a year under cover, writing, rehearsing and recording they have returned as a new band.
The response to this show is best measured by the fact that the announcement that a clutch of CDs were waiting on a nearby windowsill for collection was met by people suddenly dashing from their seats to grab a copy. So assured was their performance that a shaky PA system sounded like it was custom built for the job.
The lead track on their recent demo, Moving Targets, has found itself snaking into the consciousness of local radio DJs and journalists and it was no less powerful on this occasion.
Vocally capable and definitely able to wield their fuzzed up guitars without any more coaching there are shades of Placebo’s complex darkness spliced with the savvy, bass-led melodies of New Order.
It was either this potent mix or the heavy tater hash on offer from the bar that kept a pre-match football crowd glued to the spot and transfixed for every second they were on stage. For the sake of commending a great gig during daylight hours we’ll save our compliments for the chef and heap praise on Optional Wallace.