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Tim Stephenson reports on: 
The MANNING / Andy Tillison-Diskdrive gig - 20th April 2002 (Leeds)

Evenin ' all
How did I get in the ridiculous habit of writing gig reviews at some
unearthly time in the morning? Anyway tradition being what it is
(pointless, stupid, unimaginative, conservative etc) here goes.

An excellent solo set by Andy (....what, you expect a blow by blow account of how I got there? Maybe later). Andy does not do solo and this was hardly 'unplugged'. An attempt to rig up an entire foot operated drum kit was marred only by (presumably) a restriction on budget, the fact that one of the pedals wouldn't keep still, and some unaccountable difficulty with playing two keyboards, singing and drumming at the same time, usually with a rolly in the hand as well!

Despite his unfamiliarity with the situation, this was a powerful set at its
best when playing material which was personal, and made the better without a band to 'restrict' him. I suppose that's a backhanded criticism as some of the material was something of a 'cut down po90'. But as I said, this is new. The best song for me without doubt was a dynamite version of Dead on a Car Park Floor. Difficult to describe with my lack of technical know how, but I think its fair to say he was making up the time signatures as he went along. You had to concentrate really hard to tap your foot to this one! Another corker was Blues for Lear, which Andy said he included for me (I've gone all red) I think everyone knows that's my favourite po90 track and this was a fine and distinctive rendition.

hat 's enough of old Zipdrive. A thunderous performance by Manning followed. I sometimes describe Guy to my friends as folky. Well not on this performance -we 're talking serious wall of sound stuff here. A new rhythm section that doesn't know the meaning of the word 'background' (including the excellent Gareth Harwood) and at one time there were four keyboards being played simultaneously.

Anyway on to the important stuff, trivia fans. After the disappointment of Andy not jumping up and down so that his specs fell off, the high point of the evening was Guy and the guys being magnificently upstaged before they even started by Laura performing a Scarlett O'Hara type entrance five minutes before they went on saying "I'm not late am I?" Being (i) stunningly gorgeous (ii) a fantastic sax player and (iii) shoving Guy out of the way when she needed to be on the keyboards meant that she persisted on upstaging everyone else all night, as I imagine she always does. How is it that our favourite bands each have a gorgeous woman surrounded by dog-ugly blokes? (Sam - if you're reading this first, please emphasize this part to thingy-Zipdrive) [Hey now hang on a minute!...Ed.]

Back to the boring stuff. So the band assaulted the audience with a full
volume all-out Domicile to start their performance. I'm not sure my senses have recovered from this yet. Most of the material was from Cascade or the new CD, neither of which I'm familiar with. One particularly good piece was Tightrope, which I'm very much looking forward to hearing on CD. I've mentioned the excellent sax playing and the robust Bass n Drums. Another word for Gareth, an excellent controlled performance again from him. Noticeable that Guy seems to be putting on his electric guitar on less these days - not surprising with Gareth doing such storming lead work. It may have been my imagination, but I thought the new numbers had more of a lead
guitar role in them than older material. If Gareth is playing a stronger
role in the band it can only be for the good. Also some excellent work at times by the Bass (forgot his name - oops) [Rick Ashton - Ed.] Couldn't quite tell whether Guy had tutored him in the twiddly bits or whether he was sneaking them in while Guy was concentrating on belting out a vocal or two. If its the latter - great lets have more.

Andy was saying that he felt that po90 was more of a band now than had been the case in the past. I felt the same was coming true of Manning. I hope that 's the case, Guy is good, but Manning are terrific.

Reckon I 'm gonna have to make the effort to go to Rotherham this time around.

time for bobo's


np Cascade