The Lazys – The Standstills Live At the Star and Garter, Manchester UK

A clash with both a European football match and Metal goddess Doro were ill omens for the potential attendance of my next gig in Australian up and comers The Lazys, with Canadian two-piece The Standstills in support. I head on over to Manchester to catch the two acts, with The Standstills on their first playing visit to British soil, to see what the bands can serve up for us.

I’m rather worried as The Standstills take to the stage, given there are literally around 15 people in the venue, vocalist and guitarist Jonny looking a touch worries as he tunes up. They quickly strike me as a charismatic take in The White Stripes or The Picturebooks, with a touch more wall of noise about them at times. The crowd, fortunately, does start to grow, though the atmosphere is still a touch dead even as the band works their way through the set. Jonny works hard to cheerlead the crowd right the way through, which seems to just be working by the time we get to the set closer as heads begin to nod that bit more and feet some that touch harder, giving the band back a bit of the energy they are expending up on the stage. They have some good quality Blues Rock tracks, though the pace is at times a touch slow – an obvious peril of the genre – which especially isn’t helping the atmosphere of a room that was just getting taken by the end of their set. Still, they performed well, with drummer Renee smashing the drums harder and better than a decent amount of her male counterparts, providing more than adequate punctuated battery to Jonny’s fuzz ridden guitar parts. An enjoyable set, just a pity more of the crowd didn’t arrive earlier.

The more balls-out rock of The Lazys proves to be somewhat more of an instant mood maker than the support, with the small crowd pushing to the front and making it far more in keeping with a band that display all the passion and energy of fellow Aussie exports Airbourne and AC/DC, despite the differing levels of their respective careers. They have very well crafted, good old fashioned rock and roll tracks, which go down very well with the intimate yet passionate crowd that have seemingly come to life now that our headliners are taking their turn on the stage. While the crowd eventually draw back a little to space themselves out a bit more, the atmosphere doesn’t really seem to dissipate as you might expect in the circumstance, a good example of just how good a job The Lazys are doing in entertaining the crowd.

It’s clear the audience are enjoying themselves right through, as even halfway through the set we get a sing-along chant of, ‘OI’ on the build-up to a song, rather akin to live version of AC/DC’s ‘Dirty Deeds’ – a pattern that the band themselves seem to replicate with there being a more particular feeling of the veteran Aussies in this particular track. The entire band is all livewires, never standing still and making taking a photo of them all impossible – great for the crowd but not so much for the likes of myself trying to grab that shot! The likes of ‘Little Miss Crazy’ are in the set, along with plenty of other crowd pleasers, while their hour-long set is performed both with aplomb and a ridiculous amount of fun. Vocalist Leon even resorts to using a certain C-word to grab peoples’ attention, when it starts to wane at one point – that word not being anything like as offensive here is it is in a lot of other countries, maybe due to the Celtic origin of the word. The band even stop for a round of Jaegerbombs just before the end of the set, as they’re passed up by a roadie or friend, with lead guitarist Matty deciding the bench right next to myself would be the best place for his next solo, a song later, playing entertainingly along behind his head and with depth of soul, while I quite happily pay close attention, almost being hit by guitar and hair alike by him as he rocks the hell out. They launch straight into the last words of, ‘Nothing but Trouble’ to close up the main set. A single song encore is played at a frenetic pace before the band finally call an end to proceedings. It may have been a small crowd tonight, but the level of entertainment was one worthy of far more – something I would fully expect them to attain next time they play here. Two great performances.

WORDS BY DJ ASTROCREEP