Bar Italia live in Manchester: moody risers prove that the sky’s the limit

Bar Italia black and white promotional shot

Band On The Wall is a gorgeous venue, nestled amongst Manchester’s trendy-epicentre, the main room is a splendid slice of Northern Quater cool.

Who better to play than a band who are at the epitome of alternative culture: Bar Italia are a band on the up and up, with two stellar albums released in the last twelve months alone, and four in total, the group are finally hitting the heights they deserve. With the room packed out early, Band On The Wall’s bar is awash with mullets and moustaches, wide leg pants and short fringes. There is a real air of occasion here, and Manchester’s trendsetters and tastemakers are showing their support for one of the hottest prospects in the alternative scene.

Jezmi Fehmi (vocals/guitarist), Nina Cristante (vocals), and Sam Fenton(vocals/guitarist) stride on stage to the tones of Crazy Frog, before breaking into ‘Friends’, sharply followed by ‘My Little Tony’. There is something of an aura about Bar Italia, and they barely acknowledge the crowd throughout the show: it’s an interesting tactic, something that if pulled off correctly can give a group a distinct feeling of exclusivity, but done wrong it can convey arrogance. Bar Italia pull it off, and the fact that they have the tunes to back themselves up goes a long way: they give the gig the feeling that we are on the very precipice of culture.

The group sound good as muscular, distorted rock tunes fill the iconic venue. There are fantastic moments where Bar Italia let themselves off the lead somewhat, and allow these mazy, post-rock jams to permeate through the indie sleaze to superb effect. Bar Italia hit their stride early, and as they rattle through their quartet of LPs, there is a real sense of longing for more of the experimental end of what Bar Italia do. They pepper it in throughout, showcasing their huge potential: before long this group will be playing much larger rooms.

The minimal interaction persists and the musicality is strong, if a little wonky, which only serves to further Bar Italia’s charm. The band trade vocal duties between them, and each member sounds great amongst the noise. There are shades of Dry Cleaning in what they do, as well as the ramshackle post-punk stylings of The Fall that persist here.

Punkt’ is a real highlight, and sees the band at the moodier end of their range, whilst the meatier post-punk goes down an absolute treat. The band clearly have bags of talent, and swathes of cool – their output is stellar and the live show is a party of all these factors: it is only a matter of time before this criminally underrated band hits the bigtime.

featured image: Steve Gullick

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