The Dirt live in Manchester


The fabulously intimate Lions Den was the venue for last night’s end of year hometown gig hosted
by psych punk duo The Dirt. Special guests on the night were Spin Klass, along with fellow psych
rock outfits The Stepford Wives and the wonderfully named Corvus and The Morning Star Corvus And The Morning Star were new to me and had the pleasure of opening the show, albeit to an initially sparse crowd.

The five piece delivered a swift set which quickly evolved from McGuinn and Kantner inspired guitar led garage rock to full on Floydescapes. There’s a serious garage rock vibe with these guys who are definitely a band worth seeking out if that’s your thing. If they can sound this good on a miserable rain laden December evening in Manchester then I can only imagine how good they’d sound on a warm summers evening, and fair play to the band for drawing the crowd up from the downstairs bar.

The Stepford Wives were up next and being honest, I had no idea what to expect from the Oldham
based outfit. What we got was a rock solid, tight performance from a garage rock band who seem
to have absorbed, mashed up, blended, messed around with and then glued together pretty much
every single genre of music there’s probably ever been, and it worked, it worked well. The crowd
clearly appreciated The Stepford Wives and The Stepford Wives were clearly appreciating the
evening. Forthcoming single “Not Alone’ was the highlight of the set and a track to keep a look out
for in the new year.

The main guests for the night were Spin Klass and in fairness, I was expecting Spin Klass would
probably be a little off the night’s psych rock theme however I was wrong. Live, there is a harder,
grittier edge to the bands material that fitted in perfectly.

It’s easy to see why Spin Klass are rapidly building up both a significant following and considerable
momentum in the music media. Highlight of their set was most recent release ‘This is Love’. The
track is simply a wonderful pop record. It’s hard to listen to the track without picturing the band
performing it on a 1980s Top of the Pops surrounded by dry ice, oversize balloons and pastel
sweaters or to hear it as a soundtrack to a John Hughes movie… a love struck Molly Ringwald
parading through a mall looking for ‘the prom dress’ perhaps. It may be a departure from the bands
initial material but judging by the bands excellent performance it’s a direction they are likely
heading in. I certainly look forward to more of this sublime pop music from Spin Klass and judging
by the crowd, I’m not on my own.

The Dirt are an outfit I’ve been hoping to catch live for quite some time now. Consisting of spoken
word artist Jack Horner (AKA Leon the Pig Farmer) and guitarist (and all round loop genius)
Sachiko Wakizaka the self proclaimed trans global psych punk duo released their debut studio
album ‘Agitator’ earlier this year to considerable praise from the music media and live, they
certainly don’t disappoint.

By the time The Dirt are set up and ready to go, the upstairs venue space at Lions Den is packed
and following an introduction from guest poet Damian Luke McNeilly with some superb verse of his own, it’s straight into The Dirt’s transcendental shamanic mashed up blend of cinematic guitar
loops, hypnotic electro percussion, scorching melodic guitar feedback and punk prose!

This is performance. Passionate, brazen, lionhearted performance..… Whilst Sachiko remains
transfixed, piloting what is without doubt, the finest, most expansive pedalboard in Manchester and beyond, Jack’s throwing himself around the stage, launching himself upwards at every opportunity, perching on monitors whilst he’s spewing out his sermons to the gathered throng. Preaching of northern life, social injustice, mental health, the wrong leadership, corrupt leadership, champagne socialists, Chanel taking over the Northern Quarter…name a subject, it’s there, it’s raw, it’s honest, it’s compelling and it’s got a beat.

A very hypnotic beat and as the crowd are holding onto every single word Jack spits at them, every pause, every gaze…that beat goes on and on and its got people dancing….dancing to fucking poetry… who on earth gets people dancing to fucking poetry?