48Hours - Live @ Retro Bar, Manchester w/ A World Away, We Signal Fire & Silver Tongue. 25/02/2016

The Retro Bar & Basement Club is one of the leading live music venues and bars in Manchester. It is downstairs in the venues basement where I find myself watching 48Hours play with support from A World Away, We Signal Fire and Silver Tongue,

Opening the show are Silver Tongue, a local 4-piece grunge band making their first appearance outside of the comfort of their college. The band are unashamedly Nirvana in their sound. They are tight, gel well as an outfit, and their overall sound is of a great quality. It's clear that they still have work to do to improve on the foundation they're laying, but for artists so young they have nothing but time on their side.

Up next are We Signal Fire who offer a number of surprises. This alt-rock band are co-fronted with a combination of male and female vocals that offer a stark contrast. Lead guitarist Pete Clough's vocals alone have a decent enough tone, but the real show-stopper, Chloe Houston, has a range that just keeps going. When you thought you'd heard all she has to give, she keeps giving. The real magic happens on the tracks where both of their voices join in harmony. We Signal Fire are playing some well structured songs, with some tricky time-signature changes, with a great deal of skill. Their set is well balanced throughout with light and shade. We Signal Fire are definitely worth checking out live; their recorded catalogue doesn't quite capture how good this band are.

48Hours' sidekicks for this tour A World Away hail from Milton Keynes. They fire through an energetic set of alternative rock music. Their songs are laced with intricate interplays between the two guitarists. A World Away's songs provide variety as  they explore their musical surroundings, whilst staying true to a definite soundscape. Lead vocalist Ollie's singing style is typically quite high and I think it would be fair to say it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but what he does with it, he does very well. The only criticism I have of this band is that their choruses burrow into your head  and you will find yourself singing along whether you know it or not.

Wrapping up the evening, 48Hours bring a powerhouse of riffs and energy. A band clearly in fierce form, this three-piece from London hold nothing back. They make full use of the space on stage, working the crowd and producing a visual performance to backup the strength of their material. Their use of audio samples to introduce and append some of their tracks gives their set list a sense of cohesion.

When the bass drum explodes mid-set, the lads use the opportunity to trial the balladic track 'Gone', taken from their forthcoming album, 'Expectations'. The change of pace allows the crowd to take a breather and sample something new, whilst a 4-man team make a Grand-Prix pit-stop style bass drum swap-out.

Ploughing back into the set, 48Hours play a selection of songs old and new, dipping into their back catalogue for some fan favourites along the way. They belt out catchy choruses and bounce along with the honed musicianship of a band who have clearly grabbed hold of their identity.

If you're in or around Manchester and missed this event, 48Hours will be back at the Retro Bar on April 8th. For other dates, check the flyer below which includes the band's 'Expectations' album  launch show on 31st March at the Camden Barfly

Gig review by Samuel Hylands
Photo Credit: SM-Photography