Papercut is an independent and self financed fanzine (that comes in a swanky bag!) championing music and the arts of Manchester based artists, tonight sees the launch event of issue 5 at The Font Bar featuring a variety of bands from the Manchester area.

If evidence were needed of the vibrancy of the Manchester scene you only had to be in attendance tonight- a very healthy turn out that hopefully will ensure the continuation of Papercut for some time to come.

The first band to take the stage tonight is Liam Frost, touted as one of Manchester's up and coming acoustic songwriters. Ably assisted by a female backing vocalist and multi instrumentalist accompaniment in the form of tambourine, violin and mandolin Liam Frost is an interesting artist. The music is very laid back, mellow acoustic tunes reminiscent perhaps of Badly Drawn Boy this is a gentle introduction to the evenings proceedings. Liam is a competent guitarist and as a trio they work well together and they duly receive a decent crowd reaction. Apparently receiving interest from several record companies you could well be hearing more Mr Frost.

On the whole, the songs are decent easy listening, good, but nothing to get too excited about and one of them sounds like the verse was lifted from Stairway to Heaven. Playing a short set of six or seven songs they do enough to arouse interest and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. He does have a rather bad haircut though!

Things promise to get a little louder with the introduction of Finka, a four piece band featuring the classic mix of bass, guitar, drums and vocals. The night of bad haircuts continues with the singers shoulder length blonde hair with a side parting. Nice.

Musically, Finka are a fairly lo-fi mid paced indie band, unfortunately the sound mix is bad tonight and the bass drowns out much of the vocals. Alas the band does little to compensate this and play a set of rather washover tunes. They have little in the way of stage presence and look thoroughly disinterested throughout. This rubs off on the audience and they receive a smattering of applause after each song and eventually leave to virtually nil crowd reaction. Apparently they won the ULU Showdown competition in London, One can only assume there were no other entries! Dull in the extreme.

The crowd swells considerably before the next artist comes on, Ed Cottam... So much so that it's almost impossible to see him! It's also difficult to hear him and as he gives no introduction there's a fair percentage of the audience that don't even notice he's started. This isn't helped by the fact that his music is so quiet and delicate, meaning that most of his set gets drowned out by people talking. From what I could hear though, the music is very melancholy and in places somewhat depressing and someone in the audience commenting, "fucking hell, I thought Radiohead were depressing", amusingly highlights this. However, the few at the front that are able to see and hear him clearly seem to appreciate it and it would be unfair to judge him on this performance alone given that much of it was inaudible. I should mention that Mr Cottam completes the hat trick of bad haircuts!

Band four of the evening is The Conversation and at last we are treated to something a little upbeat and melodic, the place is so packed now that the view is impossible and it's four or five songs before I can even get to see what they look like! The music is pretty good, quite fast in places with interesting riffs that have a nice groove about them. They are promising to be the best band of the evening so it's strange that the crowd thins out considerably during their set. Still, at least this affords me the opportunity to see them!

The Conversation certainly have something about them but they could have taken it that much further had they put a little more into it. On stage they are not exactly animated which is a shame as it would have made the difference, they have decent songs that at times lend themselves to real involvement but they just don't want to go there tonight. They leave the stage with no acknowledgement to the audience and subsequently it all peters out like a damp squib. They have done enough however to justify further investigation and I'd recommend checking them out next time round.

Last band of the evening are No Hope in New Jersey, having just finished their debut album having already released a couple of singles they look set to go onto bigger and better things. Alas due to the constraints of Northern Rail (thanks guys!) I am forced to leave half way through their opening number. I am told however that they play 'noise fuelled melodies'. Sounds good to me and I'm disappointed that I missed them.

Events like tonight are an important part of keeping the local scene going and encouraging fledgling talent so it's encouraging that tonight has been so well supported. Get yourself down to the issue 6 launch, with such an eclectic mix of bands on you're bound to find something that hits the spot. More info can be found on the Papercut website here.