Until recently, the Stretford Arndale was notable only for having a denser concentration of pasties per head than Cornwall, with molten cheese and flaky pastry taking precedence over the groovy noises for which the North is famous. But now the Arndale Centre is distinguished by the addition of a decent music venue, The Green Windmill.
The informal vibrations of the Green Windmill suit Ivan Campo, the northern nuevo folksters who blend lo-fi electronica with precise lyrical melancholy to deliver an almost mathematical approach to storytelling. Like the proverbial duck on a mill pond, Ivan Campo are ostensibly graceful but below the surface Adam, Will and Ben are paddling like hell.
Crowd pleasers such as 'Sobriety', taken from their Loadmatic EP, demonstrate the organic nature of Ivan Campo, who clearly don't like to see any instrument left in its box. The jam-session feel of the set and the seventies synth sounds reinforce the band's strong DIY ethic.
Lock the A-Team in a barn full of farming equipment and everyone knows they'll emerge with a tank, but lock Ivan Campo in the same barn and they'll most likely emerge with an orchestra of bizarre instruments and enough material for an anthology.
Adam, Will and Ben do not appear to have strictly defined roles within the band, preferring to play which ever instrument they deem appropriate at any given moment. Despite the unpredictable structure of Ivan Campo, they somehow manage to produce coherent and intelligent music.
Their preferred set closer, 'Lonely Man', offered a gentle jazz/reggae hybrid presented with a very middle-class Britishness. If Oscar Wilde had covered 'Redemption Song' on a Stylophone the result would certainly be a hit on the Isle of Campodia.
View a gallery of the Green Windmill's acts.