After tearing it up on the Bristol music scene for the best part of the year, Kiss Me, Killer have been filling up our calendar with more out of town gig to spread the music far and wide. Saturday saw us make our biggest trip yet after we were invited to play the afterparty at Manchester Anarchist Book Fair.
With busy civilian lives to attend to we decided we could be there and back the same day so set out in two vehicles, Nat’s head-turning vintage Ford and David’s beat-up old VW van. The M5 and M6 traffic was kind enough and we were making good time until Nat – who was taking AJ, Cat and Cheri – hit a snag: With three passengers and AJ’s heavy drum hardware the low-slung souped-up classic car was struggling, with types occasionally rubbing the rear arches. No matter, me and Holly soon caught up at the next available service station (after sorting out a wrong turn) and were able to lighten the load.
The band arrived at Manchester’s Partisan space, which is in the shadow of Manchester Arena, just in time for soundcheck. Partisan describes itself as a ‘space for independent, community led, DIY and cultural based projects’. A co-operative, it is democratically owned and managed by the people who work in and use the space and hosts cultural events, meetings, exhibitions, film screenings, book launches, parties, gigs, etc. Partisan’s basement area is a large, cavernous space and the perfect setting for some incendiary DIY punk. The line up Ian of the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair had put together was stellar with bands like Epic Problem, Crywank and Bolshy on the bill.
Kiss Me, Killer was the first band on and it felt good to bring our sounds to a completely fresh audience. People seem to like us down Bristol way but would would the North make of us? We powered into Snakes In the Grass, which is on our recently-released EP, and were powering along before, ping, I broke a D-string on my Gordon Smith GS1. Scrambling off stage on search of my guitar case I soon realised I didn’t have any spares. A helpful chap from another band, Epic Problem, emerged from out of the darkness brandishing, like Excalibur, a lovely Gordon Smith GS2, which he Kindly let me for the rest of our set. I didn’t have time to adjust the strap shorter so looked slightly cooler than usual.
Rat Race came over nicely with is pounding sludge riff with poppier moment and touches of psychedelia and as yet unrelated Snooker! sounded good in the bright, resonant Partisan basement. The first band on always has a cooler crowd but there was a decent audience and we weren’t cleaning the room.
Cat took to the mic next and launched into live favourite, Och Aye!, which is currently only available on the CD released on the EP, and by now were really hitting ’em with some blazing DIY punk, Bristol-style.
A lot of people say From The Inside is their fave track on the EP, and it’s relentless palm-muted riffage took the set into a heavier direction with Holly’s vocals becoming more hardcore, AJ hiting the skins with even more power and purpose and Nat’s Phantom bass really pumping. Nat now has a fancy wireless set up so he could leap off the stage and mingle with the punters. Nice!
Time was moving on so we steamrollered into Kiss Me, Killer and, to my mind, it was the best we’ve ever played into live and in the slightly echoey Partisan space the gothic hammer horror and psychobilly elements of the song we given an extra dimension. We finished with a pretty powerful rendition of It’s Going Down and that was our lot. We sold a copy of the EP and received loads of good feedback from a receptive punk rock crowd.
Despite the long trip back to Bristol we wanted to stick around to hear as much of the other bands as possible. Every band impressed but for me there were a couple of stand outs. Bolshy really mixed it up with a festival vibe combined ska Punk, ska, dub, and even jazzy lines. Me and Holly also digged Epic Problem, the Leatherface-y elements in their sound really appealed.
We returned to Bristol exhausted in the early hours of the morning. But it felt good to have hit the road. The next out of town show will be Stourbridge. That’ll be a gentle pootle compared to Manchester…