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LIVE: White Fence / Ultimate Painting - Kraak Gallery, Manchester

Far Out was again out on the live circuit in Manchester last night, to catch a double header featuring two of our very favourite acts, within the intimate surroundings of Kraak gallery.

The packed to the rafters venue is full up even before support act Ultimate Painting take to the stage, demonstrating just how big an impression James Hoare and Jack Cooper’s side project (from Veronica Falls & Mazes respectively) has made in such a short space of time .

They arrive on stage with rhythm section in tow and rattle through an amped-up rendition of their debut self-titled album. The duo took our Track of the Day spot yesterday, with their new single ‘Riverside’, which you can see the video for here.

Hoare and Cooper work as a perfect combination, bearing down on the audience from either side of the stage. Both are hugely talented guitarists at the top of their game, sprinkling some deft songwriting work with a selection of solos that tear the roof off.

Jangly pop ditty ‘Central Park Blues’ is a real highlight, and the enchanting melody of ‘Winter in Your Heart’ fills the small venue up with beaming faces. It’s the perfect warm-up for what turns out to be an arsenal of garage rock from Tim Presley and White Fence.

After hot-footing it over from Salford’s Media City following a live session for BBC 6Music Marc Riley, Presley and co could maybe be forgiven for taking to the stage a little flustered, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The turbo-charged set that follows is absolutely electrifying – and there’s a pleasant surprise when supreme singer-songwriter Cate le Bon emerges as White Fence’s guitarist, a role she has taken on throughout the band’s current tour.

Last year’s album For the Recently Found Innocent was a no-brainer when Far Out put together its Best Albums of 2014 list, characterised by a 60s-style brand of psychedelia that is sun-drenched and raw in equal measure.

All the record’s highlights are brought out by Presley on this occasion, with its lead single ‘Like That’ offering an early party moment, followed by an encapsulating version of ‘Wolf Gets Red Faced’ – a track that has to go down as one of the finest garage-rock wig-outs of the last decade.

It’s testament to Presley’s pull that he is able to attract an artist to guest on guitar who is so esteemed in her own right in the shape of Le Bon – and the end result is an absolute treat.

She oozes cool as White Fence leave the pop melodies behind and instead attack the audience with an onslaught of krautrock and raw punk. At times the set harks back to Presley’s days in hardcore outfit The Nerve Agents, and makes it clear why his spiky guitar work alerted the attention of Mark E Smith a decade ago.

But White Fence is all Presley’s own and over the last year we have been lucky enough to document the transformation of the project from a lo-fi, bedroom-based endeavour, to one of the finest and unadulterated exporters of rock ‘n’ roll from either side of the Atlantic.

The set truly reaches boiling point when For the Recently Found Innocent’s closer ‘Paranoid Bait’ is unleashed. Presley and Le Bon’s two-pronged delivery of scuzzy guitar work has the place bouncing. Although there are one or two chin-strokers further back who seem a little too reluctant to let themselves go during the the set’s heavier moments, the night is an undeniable triumph.

Upon leaving, there’s a feeling that despite the modest venue and capacity, something special has taken place, courtesy of a band who have entered 2015 in their absolute element. Anyone heading to catch the same bill at the 100 Club in London tonight can expect the gig off their lives. In fact fuck it… We’re gonna go again!

Not only did we catch the magnificent live show, but caught up with Tim Presley of White Fence to talk Mark E Smith, recording outside his bedroom for the first time and his collaboration with Ty Segall. Check back in the coming days for the full interview.

Patrick Davies