[sic] Magazine

Tripwires, Castle Hotel, Manchester 17/04/2013

It’s very rare that I say this – but tonight I have witnessed the most exciting live band in the U.K. and they’re called Tripwires . Not heard of them? Well that’s probably because their back catalogue is a little on the non-existent side! Besides a couple of digital releases ‘Cinnamon’ and ‘Emerald’, there’s precious little else to feast on. Despite an ill-fated rendezvous with the label Club AC30 a couple of years back which resulted in an album being recorded but never released, it’s taken the Reading-based band a whole bunch of time to sign another deal (with Frenchkiss Records) and re-record their debut album Spacehopper (due out on 18th June).

It’s fair to say that I’ve been excited about the album since first hearing the track ‘Cinnamon’ a couple of years ago and Tripwires’ set in Manchester nicely kicks off with this as the opener. In fact, it sounded absolutely buzzing – like a mixture of my favourite bands all at once. There are elements of Ride , My Bloody Valentine , Pale Saints and more recently The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – a heady mix of exciting, thrashy indie mixed with some great vocal melodies and multi-layered guitars. I loved it from the moment they began.

“Hello, we’re Tripwires from Reading” , said Rhys Edwards (vocals, guitar) to the small crowd gathered within the tiny room at the rear of The Castle Hotel. In this room, an audience of 30 people would likely constitute ‘sold-out’ and 40 people a major fire-and-safety risk. Yes, it’s that small! ‘Shimmer’ was up next. Once again it sounded incredible and by this point I was thinking that Tripwires need to be heard in a larger space – their sound deserves it. If they can sound this good in a tiny room at the back of a pub in Central Manchester, what would they sound like in front of 1000 fans at Manchester Academy? In a larger venue, I can imagine crowd-surfing, people singing along and an almighty good atmosphere.

Next up, ‘Feedback Loop’ which kicks off with a great sounding guitar riff which develops into a great play on noise between Edwards and second guitarist Joe Stone. This in turn leads us into ‘Emerald’ (if you haven’t seen the unique ‘tambourine-cam’ video, you’re definitely missing out!). Finally the band deliver ‘Tin Foil Skin’ and ‘True Love Will Find You In The End’ before saying goodnight.

I was left wanting more. Much more. The best gigs are like that. The last time I came away from a gig feeling on top of the world as this, the band went on to headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury the following year. I truly hope that Tripwires manage to make others feel the same.