By Desh Kapur, Rock At Night Manchester Correspondent
Venue: Night and Day Cafe, Manchester–BILLY BIBBY and The Wry Smiles w/ Carjack Mallone and Ryan Jarvis
We arrived just in time to catch the last few songs from Manchester solo artist Ryan Jarvis, starting with a very gentle and beautiful acoustic cover of “Waterfall” by The Stone Roses and finishing off with a few songs of his own, lilting acoustic pop with that distinctive Manchester finish, reminding me of Early Courteeners, when Liam Fray used to be a busker around Manchester. I really enjoyed what I heard and look forward to catching this young man again.
Next up were the very bombastic Carjack Malone. I dare you to try and pigeon hole this band–go on give it a try. It was a mish-mash of Doors/Jim Morrison vocal styling and deliverance of its own brand of hip hop thrown in–and dare I say it, a back note of rock and a front man as charismatic as you could wish for. He seemed to be living and singing each lyric as if it was the first time. He was great to watch, great to listen to so check them out if you get the chance because I’d like to know what you think,
Then, it was on to the main event–Billy Bibby. We know the back story. He is an ex-Catfish and The Bottlemen member and for many years, played and was involved in all Catfish recordings up to this date. Now, with a new band The Wry Smiles–and doing it his way—Bibby was a pleasant surprise and he is definitely doing his own thing with his own style and sound. Refreshing indeed! He started off the set with “Girl” and “This Kind of Summer”–beautiful country and folk tinged indie-pop, “I Got a Woman” and “Hideaway” followed by taking it up a notch. Then an acoustic version of “Pacifier “, which was a nice spin on the Catfish version followed by the very gentle “Believe Me”, beautifully sung by Billy, allowing his voice to soar and hang on some very impressive high notes. The song “Waitin’ For You”, which was my fav’ song of the night, is great country pop song with a cool punchy chorus. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about this song reminded me of Johnny Cash–perhaps something about the guitars, I think. “Are You Ready?” followed and then the lead track of his debut EP Bide Your Time called “Don’t Fall”, which featured driving drums and fuzzy guitars. It’s a crackin’ track! Lastly, “God Gave Her Soul” brought the night to an end.
It was an impressive performance, showcasing beautifully crafted songs and a band that has only played a handful of gigs together–but look and sound like they have always played together. In essence, they look cool, they sound cool– plus add it some great tunes. I think we will be hearing more of Mr. Bibby and his Wry Smiles. Nice job!!
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