Manda Rin & Futuristic Retro Champions @ The Fly 08 September 08

‘Miranda formerly of The Bis’ the poster outside read. Ouch. Luckily, someone had the sense to grab a marker pen and rectify this. It’s a) Manda and b) just Bis, none of that ‘the’ nonsense.

Only that now it’s not Bis. For Bis have split quite some time ago and it’s about time people recognise young Amanda as a popstress in her own right.

First on were Futuristic Retro Champions ( ). Who were amazing! No really, I’m telling you, AMAZING! Like, REALLY, really good! Think 80s inspired synths (and lots of them) and a bunch of girls singing/shouting along. I dare say it sounded like Betty Boo armed with a children’s Casio in places, and that is a GOOD thing.

Tonight’s gig marked the release of Manda’s first solo album (My DNA). She cheerfully informed us she had brought her very own Ronettes for backup. These ‘Ronettes’ (EDIT: they are in fact RINettes rather than ROnettes!) turned out to be three rather adorable Scottish chaps in matching black shirts, sporting excellent haircuts. They were particularly entertaining when they launched into some robotic dance move guitarplaying for a couple of the songs. Bless.

Although I really don’t want to say this, Manda’ solo stuff does sound a lot like Bis (cross between the first and the second album, so technically not a Bis style that exists already. Not in a combined form, anyway!), but it’s certainly not a straightforward recycling exercise, for the lady stocked up on more 80s sounds, more vigorous singing and the whole thing sounds more electronicky. And if Bis had never existed and no reference could ever be made, this would still be a selection of rather pleasant tunes. I almost wish I’d gone in there with a more open mind and without accidentally drawing Bis comparisons all the time. But, as a near experiment, I dragged along an individual who had no idea who Bis were, just to see what he would make of it and … whoohooo! He enjoyed the gig a lot, he said. Brilliant!

Overall, a great night! But I still don’t understand why Owen from the Crocketts (okay, the Crimea by now) was manning Manda’s merch stall!

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