Optional Wallace –
Academy, Manchester. 18/07/2009
The usual step up from headlining your own small intimate gigs will see you generally filling the support slots for bigger names. The main change will be that you now know the audience are not there to see you and have in all honesty, probably never heard of you. Even though this is a daunting task to take on, any band serious enough about their craft will have to jump from playing to family and friends and take their music out to the critical masses.
With all of this taken into account and you find yourself opening for The Fall at a hometown show, this can only add to the pressure. Fans of Mark E Smith and his ever changing ensemble can be hard to please at the best of times and tonight will be no different.
At half past eight the venue is now over half full when the Manchester trio Optional Wallace take to the stage. On first appearance they may not give the impression of three blokes who would be in a band together. Danny Foster (vocals/guitar) is dressed very casually, Neil Meehan (Bass/backing vocals) is a tall imposing figure clad all in black with his face half hidden behind his fringe and Matt Anderson (drums) looking rather dapper in a shirt and tie with a tight fitting waistcoat.
As soon as they launch into their first song Code of Silence, all preconceptions are put aside. The fast paced guitars and Matt’s tribal drumming hit you like speeding train and continue to do so throughout the set. By the end of the next offering “Generation”, the crowd are starting to take more notice and seem to be warming to the hard, but melancholic sound they are hearing.
What Goes Around is fast and choppy and would not have been out of place on the infamous Factory Records label. Danny’s vocals are strong and clear and have a slight feel of Placebo front man Brian Molko. Neil’s bass playing style is frantic from start to finish as he thrashes away whilst occasionally stamping on his effect pedals.
During The Ladder and Movie Star they continue to impress and by the time they reach their last song the crowd have been well and truly won over. So as support slots go, this was a resounding success and Optional Wallace’s fan base will surely have grown from this short but sweet performance.
From The Fly Magazine – March 2009
Manchester – Band – OPTIONAL WALLACE http://www.myspace.com/optionalwallace. It’s one of the weakest band names we’ve come across in a while but Optional Wallace prove that having a catchy name is only half the battle. For such a semi-innocent looking trio, these fellas can’t half strum a racket. Each track is an aural onslaught of hefty, soaring melodies, churning guitars and the melancholic delivery of Interpol. Next gig Dry Bar (2nd).
Review from Second City magazine – issue 3, Mar/Apr 2009:
Friends of Manchester Festival – Jabez Clegg – 21st Jan 2009
“I nip upstairs for 15 minutes at half-time to catch Optional Wallace on the Main Stage. An unfortunate slot to have been delayed for a band with a fewfellow reds in, but nevertheless they crack on with their dark post-punk indie-rock. My first viewing of the band in full, and having a copy of last year’s EP, it’s safe to say that they back up the quality shown on there in their live performance. The songs are as big as expected, with The Ladder sounding especially rambunctious. I said it when i reviewed their two-track, but fans of everything from Interpol to The Fall should embrace this.”
Surface Unsigned Festival + Review
This manc 3 piece play with a punch and prove to be one of the tightest band of the night. They are obviously well rehearsed with structured songs that at last ooze with catchy hooks that you might whistle on your way home. Without wanting to sound biased being an honourary mancunian myself but there is a reason this city produces great bands and these guys are flying the flag. Hooks, hooks, hooks. With joy division moments of dark depression in verses to uplifting sweeping vocal melodies in the choruses this band have a formula they should stick with. Breath of fresh air!
Joe Wilson (Surfaceunsigned.co.uk)