It was one of those days; the rain had fallen, the taxi was tardy, the wine had been sunk, the entrance was unclear (these last two, possibly linked), and so, the gig was in full swing before myself and my pad and paper made an entrance.
Kicking off the student-infested student fest (i once was one, sure, but it was different in the olden days) was the seemingly inimitable Azealia Banks who medleyed her racey debut track 212 with the Prodigy’s famous anthem Firestarter. Or so my spies tell me, I wouldn’t know, because I was busy being rude to a taxi driver who was completely blameless for the fact that we were stuck in traffic outside the horrible Deansgate Locks en route. There were some rumours of the sound not doing the Brookyln firecracker’s version of firestarter any favours, but the general consensus was that she rocked it, and this I can well believe. Luckily Banks is gracing Manchester with her presence again later on in the year, firstly at Parklife Weekender and then to kick off her first headline tour on Friday 28th September. And by then, we’ll know if our love is deeper than us being keen on the fact that she’s gotten away with the repeated use of KUNT, so perhaps it all worked out for the best.
Next on the lineup was Tribes, who ordinarily I am a big fan of, but their mellow ballads that transmute beautifully as a recording, felt a little bit flat when performed in front of a crowd consisting mainly of cider-fuelled young-uns. I was also on a bit of an adrenaline rush after having sprinted around each Academy venue until I found myself at the right one, so this may well have set me up for a partial anti-climax. Still these guys proved their talent for infectious riffs and insightful lyricism – I love the line ‘how do you tell a child that there’s no god up in the sky and it’s all a lie’ from new single Sapho, which proves that catchy lovesick musical odes can be multilayered in meaning and structure, instead of just being made up of a name, repeated, and interspersed with ‘ooooooo’s. Then came Metronomy, complete with personalised portraits as their stage backdrop, and those loveable chest light contraptions. Having caught up with Oscar the previous week, he had told us that he was looking forward to ‘just having some fun’, and it was clear they accomplished that mission. The set was similar to previous ones, but the formula works, and the crowd loved every minute. Joseph alluded to us being a warm audience (in contrast to him feeling cold during the previous night’s performance), and it certainly felt that there was a lot of love in the room.
Now, truth be told, headliners Two Door Cinema Club were not the band I was most looking forward to seeing. I could go so far as to say that they were my least, but having re-listened to Tourist History ahead of the gig, I came to realise that a handful of their tunes were ingrained in my memory without the realisation of who they belonged to. I was obviously alone in my lack of excitement for TDCC to take to the stage, as the band received a rapturous welcome, and were blindingly brilliant not just because of the fancy light show. They performed songs that they’ve been playing for near on two years and the crowd lapped them up as if they were this week’s hotly tipped track – testimony to their timeless indie classics, and a nod of excitement towards their hotly anticipated second album. Creating some space between me and the cider filled studentees, I watched the set in awe from a balcony at the back. Each track built on the energy of the last, and the set crescendoed with ‘What you Know’, leaving the audience definitely wanting more.
NME, if i had a cap, I’d totally doff it to you. A great night had journeying through a varied landscape of new musical talent that’s rarely billed together on the same stage. Going to be mind blowing next year when I actually manage to catch the whole show.