Star rating - 8/10
What could be better than a festival on a Bank Holiday weekend just a bus ride from home - not much in my book. Sounds From The Other City (SFTOC), now in its 9th year, is an eclectic celebration of new music by local live music promoters, using some wonderful lesser used venues and spaces around the Chapel Street area, and is quietly making lots of waves.
There was literally too much going on to get to all the wonderful venues, but the main activity centred around Islington Mill was great. The courtyard was bustling with busking and food (lovely falafel burgers - thanks), and the Hey! Manchester stage was definitely my favourite. Denis Jones was interesting, but I do draw the line at artists performing in their socks. Rozi Plain's music was delicate and pleasing.
But the Treetop Flyers were really superb. They are from London but we won't hold that against them, and they transported the crowd to the West coast of America in the 60's. Lead singer Reid Morrison has a powerful, beautiful voice which is reminiscent of Neil Young. My favourite number from their set was Haunted House, which had tones of Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing in there somewhere. Their lovely harmonies on Is It All Worth It were a treat. Their debut album The Mountain Moves, is just out and I would highly recommend it. They are seriously talented musicians.
The acts I wanted to catch at the New Oxford pub, His Golden Messenger from North Carolina, and Nashville guitarist William Tyler ended up having to perform an unplanned set together. The sound system, indeed the whole of the electrics, blew a couple of times so it was acoustic, very crowed, and sadly, almost impossible to hear. And I have to ask what Astral Social Club were all about - everyone seemed to flee the pub holding their ears as the noise they generated was so incredibly loud.
Later on there were a lot of people wandering around in tin foil costumes like extras from Star Trek - not sure what that was about but everyone seemed to be having a very good time. The only thing missing was the sun - and maybe a better sound system at the New Oxford! I will definitely be going to SFTOC again next year to do it all again.