Violent Vickie + Factory Acts 2 @ Gullivers, Manchester 3 Aug
Inside intimate venue Gullivers experimental electro band ILL are drawing a crowd and setting the stage for dark electro duo Factory Acts. Their echoing chants whip the crowd into a frenzy; and now there’s a tangible buzz in the air as the audience wait for the Acts bass and synths to kick in next.
Factory Acts is Matt and Susan, known as SOS and MD, who hail from Salford. Both have previously performed with other bands but discovered they have a talent for perfecting dark electro instrumentals with a somewhat trance-inducing effect as collaborators. Factory Acts confess, in the beginning, they didn’t even own a drum machine, just a Casio. As a result, new single ‘Fantasy’, initially shaped by its limitations is now upgraded: a culmination of ethereal, dream-like sounds that give the song a transient aura. During ‘Stock- Exchange’ and ‘Animal Spirits’, you hear the musical influences of Depeche Mode and Joy Division coming through – as SOS encourage the audience to feel the dark-side with them.
Violent Vickie takes to the stage and brings a different kind of energy. The L.A. based artist, who has a Pseudonym worthy of a punk princess, toys with the audience, casually inviting people up on stage to play the drums. Cupping the microphone to her lips she declares; “If anyone wants to go-go dance, feel free!”
Soft, sensual, feminine vocals clash against uncompromising beats and provocative lyrics which are sometimes cynical, but all delivered in a seamless blend of electro pop. It’s hot and humid upstairs. The atmosphere is palpable. “This might be one of those shows where I have to take my shirt off,” Vickie informs the delighted crowd who erupt into emphatic cheers moments before she launches into the seductive ‘Come and Run’. The song’s powerful, raw, yet playful narrative is reminiscent of electro icon Peaches. “This is a song about a bad sex experience,” she purrs. The audience are then treated to the deliciously hedonistic ‘Drugs’, the playfully narcissistic ‘No Me, No Mine, No I’ and the thought-provoking ‘Control’, which holds a cynical mirror up to the Pharmaceutical industry. As everything leads up to the final song, ‘Lies’, Vickie’s vocals reverberate around the venue and leave the audience breathlessly wanting more.
Darren Davies and Louise Khatir