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In the City – who to see, where to schmooze

Five top bands to see plus an app that'll help you choose for yourself

Published on October 13th 2010.

In the City – who to see, where to schmooze

With 200 acts playing at this year's In The City, picking out which ones to see is a bit of a task. One solution is to spend five minutes at every gig then leg it to the next one, and so on, until your head is buzzing with new music and half-finished drinks.

Another is to ask the organisers for a few tips. That's what we did...and they also told us about a free In The City iPhone app that'll help you make your own decisions about which gigs to see.

Can you pick out four or five bands to look out for at this year's In The City?
Really hard to narrow it down but, at a stab, LA pair HEALTH and No Age are two headliners we're really excited about. Also look out for local act D/R/U/G/S from our ITC Unsigned section, downbeat/electronica act iTAL tEK, and be sure to stay up on the Thursday night for French math-rock duo Ed Wood Jr.

Tell us a bit about them
HEALTH have been touring recently with Crystal Castles. This LA four-piece are constantly pushing themselves in the noise genre. Guitars are used as more of an afterthought – they're more likely to be found poring over an array of synths, samplers and pedals to make a truly innovative sound. Their second album GET COLOR was amongst the finest of last year.

No Age have released three albums in their career with this year's Everything In Between following up 2008's breakthrough effort Nouns and 2007 debut Weirdo Rippers. A drum and guitar sampler-utilising two piece – the tag of 'dream-punk' isn't quite as ridiculous as it first sounds once you've heard their music.

D/R/U/G/S – a Manchester two-piece who became prominent this year, picking up support slots with Toro Y Moi and Pantha Du Prince amongst others. They're out-of-step with both the 'old guard' of Manchester and the new lot who still find themselves talking about the city's predecessors. D/R/U/G/S sound completely uncoupled from anything around them.

iTAL tEK – this Bristol-based producer released his second album Midnight Colour this year, an understated dubstep gem. He's on a Dry Bar bill featuring the hyperactive Breton and Flash Fiktion amongst others – his set's going to provide stirring contrast.

Ed Wood Jr – this French duo took us completely by surprise when recommended by a Manchester promoter. Threading their way through the entire linearity of math-rock back to Slint and through Don Caballero and The Dillinger Escape Plan, they're worth sticking around for after HEALTH at the Ruby Lounge on Thursday. Mainly to see how they can possibly produce their beguiling noise in a live setting.

How do you get tickets?
You need a wristband to get into all the In The City gigs. They’re £29 and available from www.hmvtickets.com/inthecity, HMV Arndale and Piccadilly Records. Day tickets are £16. The full lineup is on www.inthecity.co.uk.

Milk Maid

Tell us about the In The City iPhone app – why should people download it?
It’s honestly amazing. We think it’ll probably change the way that all festivals produce their programmes in future. You can see the schedule, click into any band and see their picture and biography and even play a song by them, all within the app. If you like what you hear, you ‘star’ them and the app remembers this every time you go in, and displays it on the grid itself.

You can sit at home for a night or two before the festival, stick your headphones on, pick which acts you fancy and then use the app to navigate around the festival – so it’s incredibly useful and not a gimmick.

There’s also a really clever ‘buzz chart’ that uses a secret formula to find out who the most hyped bands of the festival are, and it constantly updates. That should add a bit of fun and intrigue to it all too, and mean there’s always a guide to who are the bands to see.”

Are the panel debates and key note speeches just for music industry delegates or do they attract non-industry people as well?
The panels and keynotes are usually more focussed towards the music industry and inevitably, it is industry who mostly populate the conference. Non-industry people are always more than welcome to come down though and have done in the past.

Do you have to buy the full delegate pass to go to the debates/key note speeches?
Yes, to get access to all the debates and keynotes you have to buy the full delegate pass. That will cost you £200 + VAT and will also get you access to all the gigs. This year we are running a new initiative called The Hive that's more focussed at grass roots, entry level people looking to take step into the music industry. This is a two-day conference running in Malmaison on 13 and 14 October and will only cost £60, including entry to all the gigs.

Is there a speaker/panel debate that you're particularly excited about?
Yeah – Jay Brown. He's Jay-Z's business partner and the co-founder of Roc Nation who look after acts like Mark Ronson, Jay-Z, Daniel Merriweather and The Ting Tings. He's one of the biggest names in the business and it will be great to hear him speak.

We've also got a dance music manager's keynote featuring Jho Oakley, Caroline Prothero, Nick Halkes and Ben Turner, who between them, look after the likes of Pendulum, Chase&Status, David Guetta, Rob Da Bank and Tom Middleton.

In The City starts this Wednesday (13 October) and goes at full pelt until very late on Friday 15 October. Gigs are all in the Northern Quarter or Piccadilly area. To get a £29 wristband to see all the bands, click here.

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