Weekend Intermission is our regular feature where we look at an artist or band not from the Nordic countries, just to mix things up a bit.
I first encountered Tigerside five or six years ago. They’re a motley crew drawn from Greater Manchester, London and West Yorkshire if my memory serves me correctly, who frequented the Eagle Inn, a well known pub and music venue in Salford; ‘frequented’ actually meaning the landlady in one case. While some, including aforesaid landlady, have formal musical training others are self-taught and one or two have even been known to paint themselves self-deprecatingly and inadmissibly as ‘chancers’. Well if so, chance is a fine thing.
I recall an early gig they played at the late, lamented Sound Control in Manchester – now a block of student flats like much of the city centre – in April 2016 and where they unleashed their version of what they called ‘posthousepunkpop’ on a full house of adoring fans who danced themselves silly to an entertaining yet anarchically chaotic set populated by more paper streams than a Pennsylvanian mail-in ballot and bubbles than West Ham fans sing about blowing, forever. I remember writing that Tigerside could be at the forefront of a new Manchester sound with their “music for hearts, minds and feet”. Or perhaps a reprise of an older, treasured sound. Either way, let’s face it, one is overdue.
And then it all went quiet for a while. Apart from the odd charity gig here and there not a great deal happened, partly because one of the band members and the manager moved back to London, traipsing up and down at weekends for rehearsals when they could on the Megabus (oh, how I envy the glamorous lifestyle of the contemporary rock star) and partly because they became embroiled in the recording negotiations that, at some length, led to this debut single. Then, just when they were getting back on track a pesky virus decided to have its say but that’s been the lot of so many musicians this last 18 months or so of course.
The Tigerside I knew then were almost the finished object, still perhaps a little rough around the edges but with much promise and that potential has been fulfilled with this debut recording; it’s been well worth the wait.
‘Any Contact’ comes in an extended and single version, the extended one being reviewed here.
There are elements of the generic ‘Manchester sound’ in Tigerside, and for me particularly the Stone Roses, from David Eagle’s opening drum pattern here to Jono’s vocals; he’s a cross between the Ians Brown and Curtis, with an economical delivery that dates from a previous era. But it’s blended with traditional House, which is where they have their roots and towards the end of the track, when keyboardist Riven and guitarist Greggsy are in full flow, it’s gravitating into electro-pop with a powerful and memorable melody line which has evolved throughout, and with an increasing ferocity. Backing vocals come courtesy of the Pub Landlord, Esther, who, for me, could do that job for just about anyone.
In short it’s a melange. House yes; but semi-detached.
The song evolved out of an old one from Greggsy called ‘Crash’, which had languished for years before being resuscitated by Riven, who also gave it its new title although not for any particular reason.
The lyrics (by Jono) are equally obscure. In the band’s own words, “F**k knows (what they mean). We just leave him to it really.” I’m afraid I can’t shed any light on them either although I did notice an intriguing lyric in the Middle Eight, “Act one loads a gun, Nine acre must go on…” apparently a reference to a street on the Ordsall housing estate in Salford, a place with the same repute as Eminem’s 8 Mile and bringing the suggestion of a little Gunchester charisma to the proceedings.
And if I can echo the band again, “…as usual we threw the kitchen sink at it. The title of the song, the lyrics, the artwork, the video; together they don’t make sense. But they kinda do??? If that makes sense.”
It does. And that’s what makes Tigerside so lovable. It’s as nonsensical as what The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band used to produce but it equally has depth and substance at the same time and more importantly it leaves you feeling good. Ready to take on pandemics, megalomaniac politicians, food shortages, petrol queues, inflation and all the rest of it with a spring in your step.
Now all we need is an album, to restore some normality.
‘Any Contact’ was produced & mixed by Dave Tolan in Hope Mill Recording Studios in Manchester, (who has worked inter alia with The Charlatans, Primal Scream, Gloria Gaynor, Tori Amos and Patti Smith) and mastered by Jim Spencer. It is released on 15th October 2021 along with a video made by Greggsy which is a tasteful montage of interwoven local and international scenes including snatches of the Sound Control gig I mentioned earlier. And it is just as baffling as the song.
We can’t offer ‘Any Contact’ for your delectation just yet but there’s a link to Spotify and Amazon pre-saves below, along with a teaser below that. The moment the video is available publicly we’ll post it.
You can find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tigerside
I did once promise the band never to reveal the arcane origin of their name but it’s time to put that to bed. It all began years ago when