LIVE REVIEW: Vintage Caravan @ Ruby Lounge, Manchester

It’s an interesting line-up for a Tuesday night Ruby Lounge gig. There’s classic, progressive, and indie rock in equal measure and the crowd are just as mixed as the sounds coming from the stage. The ages range from teenage to balding old man, yet there never seems to be a conflict of interest, every band is given their chance to amaze, and some certainly manage it.

First up is Mountain Song, a local Manchester four piece offering up some beautifully distorted and grungy bass and guitar combinations. They proceed to interact effectively with the crowd throughout their set and each member seems entirely comfortable with every set of the eyes in the room watching. They do however seem to lose themselves in their attempts to create an atmospheric sound, shown as a moderate chunk of the audience leave during an instrumental designed as the big crescendo that ends their set, yet is sadly stretched out a little too long for some ears. Still, with the difficulties of live show presence overcome, Mountain Song only need to focus on the easier task of rearranging some of their more flamboyant moments. Solve that and these guys could be another promising up and comer.


Ruby Lounge is the perfect venue for Sly Antics who follow. As Ruby Lounge is a lesser known gem of Manchester, so are this three piece. Now having only been a band for around two weeks and this being their third ever show, Sly Antics continue their run of near perfect performances. Vocally strong and impressively catchy throughout, their energy rubs off immediately on the crowd. In fact it’s difficult to find anyone not tapping along throughout their entire set. Their breakdowns and riffs in particular demand attention, and distinctive vocals offer up indie rock that cleverly avoids the stereotypical lyrical pitfalls that come with the genre. Their singer seems a little stiff at times, but is already beginning to grow comfortable in his position as frontman, and it’s progress like this, that keeps Sly Antics on any good music lovers “to watch” list.


Finishing off the night is the Icelandic trio, Vintage Caravan, who finish their UK tour with this particularly up close and personal Manchester date. The classic rockers have been progressively building hype with their third album ‘Arrivals’ released back in May on Nuclear Blast records. After forming nearly a decade ago the trio fly through their set like a well-oiled machine, not a single note misplaced. Their interesting blend of classic and prog rock doesn’t always work out perfectly, but for the most part it’s an enjoyable to be transported back to a riffy wonderland of flicking hair and power stances. Although some of the younger audience members seem to be looking for something a little more current, the majority welcome soaring Deep Purple/ Led Zeppelin inspired soaring vocals and the rhythms that come with them. Tracks like ‘Expand Your Mind’ and ‘Crazy Horses’ may just have you fall back in love with 60’s music all over again.


Who do you think stole the show? Let us know at @holmesblogs or @45_magazine