WHAT were Liam Gallagher's brother and Shaun Ryder's dad doing at one of Manchester's smallest, sweatiest venues when they could have been watching England play football on the box?

Answer: watching a lad from Rossendale and his band playing a sell-out underground show.

One Lady Owner, possibly Creation's most exciting new young band, gave a gutsy team performance that Howard Wilkinson's men would do well to note.

The five-piece, including bassist Nathan Sudders, brought up in Burnley and now living in Waterfoot, were at Manchester Roadhouse as part of a sell-out tour supporting current music paper darlings Gay Dad.

As we arrived, One Lady Owner were standing in a dark corner near a fruit machine, waiting for Gay Dad to finish their soundcheck. They insisted on playing their entire set as a soundcheck and One Lady Owner were still waiting anxiously for their turn.

We retreated to the dingy dressing room where the lads shouted over the din.

What do One Lady Owner think of the band they are supporting? Bassist Nathan yelled: "They are all right, I suppose. There's been a lot of hype. It can only help us. The reaction we've had as their support band as been pretty good. Some people have said we were better than them. The main thing is it's a sell-out tour and we get to steal their fans. "There's been lots of hype about them but that will soon blow over," said singer Steve Dougherty.

The band's manager Derek Ryder, father of Happy Mondays frontman Shaun, agreed and said One Lady Owner's strategy was different: "There's no hype to these boys. If you come in with a bang like Gay Dad, you go out with a bang pretty soon after. We're just letting things move at their own pace."

When the gig gets underway it is the sheer pace and power of the band that are striking. They stand pretty much motionless, letting the driving guitar riffs, rumbling bass and wacky keyboard sounds speak for themselves.

At times the sound is pure aggression and Steve's voice is quite low but a combination of cartoon-type keyboard sounds, high-pitched vocal harmonies and song titles like Police Car Sex bring an element of fun and ensure the lads steer clear of hard rock drudgery. They draw on influences including Sonic Youth, The Stooges and The Velvet Underground.

Steve, who wrote many of the songs before he met the rest of the band, said: "The stuff I was writing on my own was just escapism on a four-track recorder. It's nothing to do with everyday life - it's all about dreams, films and an ideal life that comes into the lyrics." Paul Gallagher, brother of Oasis pair Noel and Liam, is deputising for Creation boss Alan McGee as One Lady Owner's A and R man. He said: "When I first heard them they were totally different to anything I'd heard before. When this tour is finished they're going to do some more work on their album for a fortnight and then they're doing their own tour."

Asked if Creation was changing its goals with the signing of heavier bands like One Lady Owner and Three Colours Red, Paul barked: "Creation isn't just bloody Oasis, you know. That's what your average Joe forgets - we've got bands like Super Furry Animals and Jesus And Mary Chain, who are like this lot because they're original."

The audience rewarded the band's originality with warm applause and shouts, although they preferred to quietly size them up than go wild in the moshpit.

But with their management looking like a Madchester Who's Who and the music papers crawling all over the Gay Dad tour, these five unassuming but quietly confident lads could see their talent take them far.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.