The Chapman Family and O.Children co-headliner at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester.

To have such a joint headliner was quite the treat for any music fan. O.Children and The Chapman Family. Two bands that have caused quite a stir in terms of live performance; reputations for intensity and harnessing the power of shadowy sounds setting the bar very high for any first timer to their gigs. Nobody likes that feeling of being cheated by hype. Hype is a bit of a schmooze. Gives you loads of attention and makes you all excited but has a bit of a track record to leaving you all disappointed. Perhaps like that present under the Christmas Tree in the huge box with the fancy bows with a dictionary inside. Yeah, it's useful but it aint a bloody Barbie Dream House is it, Santa?

Well, first on after a well received warm-up opening slot from The Tunics were O.Children. They have a stage presence to make a gig goer go weak at the knees. As soon as the back lights flash, giant vocalist Tobias O'Kandi casts quite the striking silhouette. If he wasn't going to be a front man in a trendy band he was going to have to go be some hero in Ancient Greece making mere mortal men look at their feet in a surge of inadequacy.

Set-wise, it was a bit of a gig of two halves. The first half seemed like a presentation of perfectly good, stock moody indie. Looking around the crowd there was the smattering of auto-nods as the deep swathes of sound filled the room. It was perfectly okay. But who wants okay? Certainly not a band like this. Cue 'Heels'. The simple addition of a subtle layer of synth suddenly added the light to the shade that took O.Children to a completely different level. Every face was now transfixed on the stage as the heavy richness became more palatable to the point of being delicious. This injection of 80s brooding electronica that wove between the soaring drama of 'Ruins' and 'Dead Disco Dancer' were sublime. It all suddenly became clear why O.Children had landed a slot supporting Gary Numan. Keep an eye on this lot.

It was quite a tough challenge therefore for The Chapman Family to step up to the stage that O.Children had just devastated. It was a challenge they quite comfortably battered within an inch of its life. They too have an incredible presence, one that commands full attention and consciousness. At times it felt like what it might have done to have been in attendance to one of Joy Division's gigs in some such similar Mancunian waterhole a little while ago. To glance up at the shape of a suited and booted Kingsley Chapman losing himself in his own aggressive vocal roar towards the end of 'All Fall' or the madness of 'Kids' further demonstrated this. He has the demeanor and onstage brooding that would have slotted in perfectly in the Ian Curtis or Ian McCulloch (and other non Ian's) type line-up of the darker side of the 80s sound. 'The Sound of the Radio' is aching to have belonged to a different decade. But there is of course that ever present progressive contemporary edge in anthems like 'Anxiety' that will no doubt be reviving their place as festival favourites this summer.

As a band there is the real balance of the technically polished with the wild and frenetic. It's almost like a scale of extremes present on stage; starting with the measured calm of Paul Chapman absorbed in his complex guitar work; through a yelping Kingsley and sweatily furious Phil Chapman on drums... finishing on bassist Pop. And what can we say about him? The passion and vigour put into every bounding bassline is the musical equivalent of watching an unbridled sex show on a hot night in Amsterdam. In the most brilliant way you can imagine. You have to see it to believe it. Possibly the stand out song from the set was the dark swarm of noise emerging from 'A Million Dollars'. It wrapped up the rich intensity of The Chapman Family in one dramatic, ballsy hit. Yum.

A cracking gig with two of the most exciting bands this fair isle has to offer. You will be wise to keep an eye on what they're up to over the next year... and to see them live is an experience you won't forget.