Deaf to Van Gogh’s Ear EP launch party @ Kro, 2 May

2017 May 4
Deaf to Van Gogh's Ear

Deaf to Van Gogh's Ear - © Martin Wilson/

Presenting their brand new EP to an eager Manchester crowd tonight were Deaf to Van Gogh’s Ear.

They booked out the lovely room upstairs at Kro on Oxford Road, and positively festooned the place with streamers, fairy lights and bunting. Although a good number were in the room when PULP arrived, voices were hushed and those present were busily hunched over a pencil and paper, scattered around the chairs in the room.

They were busy working on the activity booklet made by the band to get you money off their EP. PULP made good progress on the dot-to-dot but lost it on the crossword.

Meanwhile there were a total of three bands playing this evening, and first up were Empty Set, a duo on ukulele/guitar and violin. They sang songs of heartbreak, distant love and, perversely, a love story involving two photons.

Very sweet songs they were too, weaving sweet stories and humorous observations, with a highlight being the plaintive My Girl’s On The Other Side Of The World. They also managed to fit in a handful of very decent covers, the most remarkable of which was the Jesus & Mary Chain’s Some Candy Talking.

Those songs, and a few more, feature on Empty Set’s recently released new album.

With our previous knowledge of the headliner, and the performance we had just seen, the second band came as something of a surprise, although their name hinted towards something a little bit more raucous.

With That Knife comprises an energetic bunch of lads, each as eager to make as much noise as the other. And they do it with some conviction, sounding at times not dissimilar to the likes of Foals or Bloc Party.

Their use of synths and samples was occasionally questionable, but they weren’t overused, and the band played very tightly and with just enough confidence and stage presence to keep the set moving at a steady clip. Closer Engine was the perfect way to end an enjoyable, exciting set.

Finally, with the room full to bursting and PULP rather wishing that the vast mirror which adorns the back wall at Kro could be angled so as to provide some sort of view of the stage area, Deaf to Van Gogh’s Ear took to their positions.

Although the sound in the room could’ve been better – the drums, unamplified, were simply too overpowering against some of the more delicate nuances to DtVGE’s sound – the performance was strong. The band have a penchant for instrument-swapping, and it turns out the activity booklet had provided clues to the kind of music they like to play. With the use of phrases like “Mathchester” and “Four Four Sucks”, DtVGE play to type, juggling time signatures and styles with some panache.

The set was reaching something of a climax and the final item that had been in the activity pack came into play – a fluorescent plastic kazoo. With the usual merriment that accompanies a command to the crowd to get out their kazoos, the band instructed the room to play along with the upcoming melody. Unfortunately this never quite happened as the melody was so jagged and complicated that the somewhat inebriated room couldn’t quite keep up.

That wasn’t the point, however. Deaf to Van Gogh’s Ear had put on a wonderfully successful night, and the crowd had a great time. They had released their new EP to hungry fans, and introduced a fair few of us to two more rising local talents along the way.

PULP wishes them all the best.

Deaf to Van Gogh’s Ear’s new EP, We Call Them Accidents Because We Don’t Want Them To Happen, is now available from the band’s MySpace or at their live shows.

Paul Capewell