The British Sound Project Festival at Victoria Warehouse: Review

The big debut of ‘The British Sound Project’. Manchester’s biggest indoor festival in the iconic converted Victoria warehouse. A beautiful industrial setting for a cracking line up including Primal Scream, Black Grape, Badly Drawn Boy, Reverend & The Makers, Glass Caves, Eliza & The Bear and many more.

First highlight, its half way into the festival on the main stage, when Reverend and The Makers make an appearance to really get the party going. Reverend are a popular one for the nights festival goers, they draw in a good lively crowd. The sound and lighting in the warehouse is spot on and there is plenty of space for the crowd to jump around to favorite track ‘Heavyweight Champion of the world’ Front man Jon McClure takes a minute out to announce a fan request ‘Gonna be cheesy now’. A fan called Dominic had been in touch with McClure prior to the festival and wanted to propose to his girlfriend during the gig ‘Ask her mate….Did she say yes?’ and of course she said yes! The Sheffield band are still going strong and tonight created a brilliant atmosphere for Manchester’s finest festival goers.

Following an energetic set from ‘Reverend’ next on the bill for the main stage a more calming performance, its Mercury prize winner Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy. Fashioning his trademark beanie hat with just a spotlight highlighting him, he opens his set and the crowd is quiet. Smiling and acknowledging the waving crowd during his songs he looks like he is enjoying the occasion. Mixing the end of ‘The further I slide’ seamlessly with Marvin Gaye – ‘Sexual Healing’ to the crowd’s delight. He jokes with the crowd ‘There’s lot of beautiful women here tonight… who haven’t arrived yet’ He switches to his keyboard to the side of the stage for ‘About Today’ Gough thanks the crowd and tries to redeem his earlier comments ‘All the beautiful Women are here now’ before returning to his guitar for the final song ‘Around the Block’. Badly Drawn Boy a definite high point of the night.

No Manchester festival line up is without a bit of Madchester party vibes. The festival host introduces the next act “…and next up is Manchester’s very own Black Grape they invented the Manchester sound”. Bringing true Manchester vibes to the main stage is Happy Mondays Shaun Ryder and Kermit from Manchester’s Ruthless Rap Assassins. Watching them bounce off each other on stage is entertaining to say the least, hearing them reminisce of the old days. “1986 we were cracked up in a f#cking wardrobe, it was like a war zone in the bedroom” Ryder claims. It’s a big day in the North, Black Grape are the perfect warm up band for Primal Scream.

Over on the second stage is headliner Glass Caves indie/rock band from West Yorkshire. Unfortunately clashing with Black Grape so they may not have had the crowd they deserve but creating a memorable set all the same, with their catchy songs such as track ‘I Knew It’ and soaring vocals and supporting harmonies. Lead singer showing his interest for the other acts ‘Who’s looking forward to Primal Scream?” ’The talented five-piece band are definitely one to look out for. Currently on tour with their debut album ‘Alive’ the band are due to play Manchester’s Soup Kitchen 29th October.

It’s past midnight and you can feel a huge buzz in the air. The crowd all gather to the main stage for tonight’s headliner. Primal scream burst onto the stage and drive straight into the mother of all pre-loading gospel anthems ‘Movin’ On Up’, the track sounding as fresh today as it did on its release with Screamadelica in 1991, 25 years ago.

The Scream have lasted so long because just like Shaun Ryder they have always managed to reinvent themselves. Adding Hannah Marsden to their live sets is a stroke of genius. Bobby and Hannah are like a modern day Sunni & Cher, as they work through the set ‘Trippin’ On Your Love’ and ‘Where The Light Gets In’ and ‘Jailbird’ are just a joy to watch.

The trip out sounds of ‘Higher Than The Sun’ makes way for the ultra violent, strobing, madness which is ‘Swastikas Eyes’ and now you know you’re watching the headliners and If you play ‘Loaded’ in Manchester it’s only ever going to get one response and it glorious. It’s now starts to feel just like a gig instead of a festival. The crowd pleasing ‘County Girl’ and ‘Rocks’ quick follow.

Primal scream were never a Madchester band, Screamadelica was never a Madchester album but if you choose to play the encore ‘Come Together’ at 2am. Manchester will truly love you.

Fantastic festival especially for a debut, excited to see what ‘The British Sound Project Festival’ will bring in 2017.



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