23/02/2017 – Dive NQ Manchester
I first heard of False Advertising through a friend a few months back. He’d posted an online clip of their music promo for ‘Scars’ and suggested going to one of their upcoming Manchester gigs. It’s extremely rare for me to feel genuinely excited by a band I’ve never heard of, but nevertheless found myself playing their video over and over again. Fast-forward to the end of February and here I am, pint in hand, in the lovely dingy Dive NQ with sticky shoes.
As I watch from the side on a little raised platform, several bastard tall men come and stand right in front of me at varying intervals. Now I can’t see properly so occasionally flick beer at their stupid leather-jacketed backs in a passive aggressive manner. But the truth of the matter is, we all want to see. The floor is totally rammed and everyone is dancing – I hadn’t even realised it, but so was I.
Lead singer Jen Hingley appears seemingly oblivious to the hundreds of pairs of eyes completely mesmerised by her as she thrashes around the stage uninhibited and absorbed in the music. She reminds me of a young Shirley Manson, and I’m going to get the comparison out of the way *right now* – but they don’t ‘alf remind me of an early Nirvana. Their catalogue is ridiculously catchy and has an energetic nursery rhyme quality about it– all neatly packaged up in a wrapping of tight scuzzy distorted guitars.
This is a band with incredible raw potential. Little is said in between the songs which keeps it authentic and doesn’t break the spell. Do I think they’re the most original band I’ve ever seen? Not really. They are love-children of a plethora of alternative 90s bands like The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth but without sounding rip-off – more a kind of repackaging in the way Suede honourably ripped off Bowie.
The Manchester-based trio supplies us with angry and driven hooks, which juxtapose to Jen’s melodic vocals gives it a slightly sinister vibe. This is a band gathering momentum. They’ve already been noticed by the likes of BBC Radio 1, Radio X and Amazing Radio and are about to play a huge gig at SXSW in Austin, Texas (told you I liked the video).
We caught up with Chris Warr from the band to talk about feelings, adrenaline and Phats & Small, apparently.
Sounds: So, what goes through your mind when you’re playing?
Chris: What am I going to eat afterwards…? Who’s in the audience…? The last episode of The Walking Dead... The mind can wander, however you do have to make a concerted effort to live in the moment and concentrate – otherwise mistakes do creep in. I’ve heard it said you need to learn to enjoy it, but this takes time, you’re dealing with high adrenaline, high exertion, high concentration. The fear is, that if you relax you will drop the ball.
Sounds: You’re playing the British Embassy Music slot at SXSW! Congrats, this is bloody massive for new bands – thoughts?
Chris: It’s a bit surreal, but we are also having to think about it very pragmatically. There are lots of practical challenges involved with making it happen and as we are self-managed these occupy much of our thinking. We are hugely excited but there is that added pressure in your mind saying, “don’t fuck it up”. I do however feel safe in the knowledge that when we have a landmark gig we usually rise to the occasion.
Sounds: What about your influences?
Chris: They are pretty broad, we’ve all grown out of the genre snobbery of adolescence and really regard any tune that is a tune as a tune regardless. Turn Around by Phats & Small is just perfection (Sound raises its eyebrow although did get very drunk with them in 2001..). Having said that, we still love the bands of our adolescence and we have a lot of common ground – Deftones, Incubus, Brand New have all had an impact on us for sure.
Sounds: What type of stuff are you writing about?
Chris: The lyrics all probably stem from feelings of isolation, grief or being misunderstood. I tend to write about society as a whole and the negative effect of neoliberalism on humanity. Y’know, light hearted stuff we can all sing along to...
My advice? Get out, see their show live, and make up your own mind. For me, I found their set to be absolutely flawless and I anticipate big stuff in the future for these decent little space pixies.