Home Band 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
2006 2007 2008 2009

15 January 2004

Disconnection Tour
Manchester Life Café

Additional support by Barfly

Motel 74
Into My Blood
Let It Fall

Review by David Adair & Katherine Tomlinson

Barfly was an apt name for the opening band tonight as 505 of the growing crowd lingered with an arm on the bar like Les Battersby or stayed close to it, as the sprightly Suede meets Supergrass style indie rockers swept through a pleasing set. The geology influenced track 'Searching For The Sun' managed to woo the audience into a bit of toe tapping. However, pleas from the front man that the area around the stage was " not toxic" went unheeded.

My psychic skills told me that the majjority of the 150 or so crowd were thinking "are Toni & Guy having a January sale?" As The Cooper Temple Clause lookalikes The Honeymoon Machine strolled on to the stage and produced keyboard influenced indie that is a mixture between the aformentioned band and The Libertines. However, the audience judged them on their music rather than their looks and gave The Barfly a far better reception.

Wolverhampton songstress Carina Round graced Manchester tonight for part of her current UK tour to promote new self-funded album "The Disconnected." The gathered audience was thanked for digging to find this artists work, and for nicely filling the venue.

A modest Carina ventured out onto the stage coyly stating "There's so many of you," which gained an appreciative smile from the crowd gathered in the intimate venue. Dressed in a conservative but classy black suit, she appeared as modest as her opening songs "Shoot" and "Motel 74" which both struck the mood with the audience.
New single "Lacuna" struck a welcome response, with most of the relaxed audience (appearing to expect a sitting down gig) joining in enigmatically.

Carina flitted from acoustic to electric guitar and back again as though indecisive like a child in a sweet shop, and equally familiar "Into My Blood" showed just what she can do on vocals. Her unpredictable style is one part soft mellow vocals, lulling you into a sense of security, and another part ear piercing screams and tuneful expressions of anger, as though swapping the singer on stage. Her musicians (double bassist, guitarist, and drummer) all just carry on as though this is a normal occurrence and are not deterred.

"Elegy" and "Let It Fall" were charismatic performances, indicating the night was coming to a close, with Carina swishing off stage confidently as though she herself owned it, to positive applause and cheers from the crowd, who continued the appreciation, whilst wishing for more.
Five minutes had not passed before we got our wish, as the band headed back for one more song. "Monument" proved to be an epic performance, with plenty of the screams, riffs and not a part of the stage left untouched by the singer, whose unpredictable dancing did not leave a part of the stage untouched, with Carina only returning to the microphone when it was her turn to sing, between the instrumental parts, which gave the musicians a chance to shine. A mesmerising night and a singer you should certainly be hearing more of in the future.

Originally online at

Review by Tom Kirk

Since the release of her debut album, “The First Blood Mystery”, in 2001, Carina Round has been portrayed as a tortured, banshee-like little soul liable to wreak havoc with the sensitive imaginations of rock’s more meditative vendees. It’s an image that could have something to do with her ongoing comparison to other artists (principally PJ Harvey and Patti Smith) who have had the same effect. It could also have quite a lot to do with that first LP itself, which, however makeshift in places, nevertheless disclosed the fiery, seductive inturning of a mind’s eye on someone who was, to say the least, a bit pissed off. Either way, believe what you read and it’s all about to change. With album number two, Carina’s allegedly out to wipe the slate clean with a record she claims presents her in a calmer, more upbeat frame of mind. And the news from the front is that so far, she’s not doing a very good job.

For a start, there’s the album in question; “The Disconnection”, which came out last year. According to Carina the very title shows how positive she’s become, separating herself from all the pain, anger and confusion that was troubling her before. A perfunctory listen, on the other hand, reveals another venomous temptress of an LP that covers such cheerful, playtime lyrical content as “broken hearts and razorblades” and blackened consciences. By the time you reach the admission in her forthcoming single, “Lacuna”, that there remain manifold “reasons to get fucked up,” one can’t help feeling Carina’s assertions that she’s perked up are wearing a little thin. If she has now harnessed those inner demons that once so possessed her, all to the good. But as references to “the passing of fire into my blood” on her last single suggest, that’s hardly stopped her sounding like she still has them flowing through her veins.

Tonight, much of Carina’s music exudes the vicious, predatory allure of one who is still favoured with precisely such succubous flair. “Shoot” and “Into My Blood” begin kept on a ravenous simmer, taut and trembling and waiting to burst at the bidding of her implicated vocal armoury. When she does let them spin, it’s into jagged gyrations and mangled sanguine shards of sound. To form, the lusty, carnivorous feel in both should perpetuate comparisons to PJ Harvey midst prime “Rid Of Me”-period epileptic. But Round’s voice itself can also just as often be a wavering, pale flame that takes its cue as much from the likes of Joni Mitchell. And her art resides in her ability to bite and suck on that, brace herself against it, or alternately let it rip.

So much, then, for the reformed, upbeat Ms. Round. Then again, maybe not. While her music festers with malevolence, Carina herself looks a whole lot less raptorial in the flesh. References to her beauty remain something of a flattering exaggeration – for one thing you doubt she particularly gives a fuck. Nevertheless, from the moment she arrives on stage, she meets her audience both with an attractive smile, and a candid, well-fathomed stare that only glasses over as each song reaches its serrated peak. If not beautiful, she is undeniably sexy. And what’s more, she has the alive and resourceful gait of a woman who knows exactly that.

Carina’s looks do not quell the sonic bloodletting alone. Between songs which at their zenith often foam at the mouth with passion and potency, she chats in demure, intimate whispers, or jokes and giggles with half-recognised faces in the crowd. Next to the more fervent aspects of her performance, it can be like watching Jekyll performing with Hyde – and several of his friends.

Duly, as time passes it appears that if there is one thing that does define Ms Round, it is her perpetual ability to defy and confound any presuppositions we might hold. Gradually, she tonight divulges versions of “The Disconnection’s” more pacific or brooding phases that, while at odds with their recorded counterparts, are just as intoxicating. The wiry, jazz-inspired intermittence that runs through “Lacuna” is articulated, lending the song a deft brittleness that tarnishes the lime-white weightlessness of the music. But Carina, it seems, is just at home with that, her voice picking at and savouring the spalted friability, reaching for its extremities with distended enunciations. It’s nevertheless almost cringe-making when her band starts to threaten a fleshed out “Elegy”, as it’s the sparsely drawn acoustic teardrops and murled poetry of the original that make it perhaps the new record’s most subtle shock, and its most poignant sting to the eye. Again, though, the risk-taking justifies itself; loosing and freshening the song, building it to that trademark serratic climax from which its words fly like an unleashed proclamation.

Perhaps she is, as she says, more contented, less consumed. Be that as it may, to write off Carina Round’s advance from the exordial fire that first compelled us to pay her heed as the mark of ease or fulfilment would be to simplify matters to the point of lying completely. The truth is, where she once brimmed with potential, she is becoming expert with the tangled intricacies of a talent that has yet to stop moving. As a result, Round has begun to effulge the supple, lissome ingenuity of a writer whose every song is a probing relationship of the most intense kind. The kind, in fact, that her expanding fanbase are beginning to feel they have with her.

Originally online at