Popping our Dot 2 Dot cherries at the Manchester counterpart of the three day event was a grand idea. Eurocultured Festival had stamped it’s smutty little mark just off Oxford Road and was demanding quite a lot of attention, but lurking inside the venues of HMV Ritz, Deaf Institute, Joshua Brookes, Zoo and Sound Control were some subtle contenders.
Kudos to the organisers who did a pretty good job of spreading out the line up as there were little in the way of clashes, which is exactly what you’d want from a one dayer. (The £2 burgers at Sound Control were a bit of a win too). Here’s what went down:
This 18 year old Nottingham native more recently gained wider acclaim in a coveted support slot for soul crooner, Michael Kiwanuka. Perfoming at Zoo, the jungle themed hovel initially seemed a strange choice to have the lad, but the crowd in the way over-filled venue didn’t seem to mind where they caught a glimpse of his performance, so long as they did.
Squeezed in to what seemed the most tightly packed show of the afternoon, he performed a half hour set which included Radio One favourited, ‘Trouble Town’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’. He barely seemed phased by the sea of people and performed a stomping set. Definitely an artist to watch out for.
Two Wounded Birds
Joshua Brookes was just as crowded for this hotly tipped pop-punk foursome. The venue had a very retro cavernous feel, but it did no favours for Two Wounded Birds who seemed to have no distinguished sound. Merged together into a loud punk ruckus, there seemed to be no clear marking of where one song started and one ended. We didn’t stick around.
Presuming at first that there was a fairly inactive circle pit in the centre of Sound Control Loft we were surprised to find that ginger frontman, Frank Carter, had actually decided to perform from the middle of the crowd. It was a fairly novel idea with his intention being to make his crowd look bigger. It seemed to have the desired effect and the audience seemed to love it. They even stayed fairly respectful until about the fourth song in when he got strangled by an overeager, inebriated fan. When his bandmates were attempting to entice him back onto the stage, he was having none of it. They were certainly one of the more memorable bands of the day- but for their showmanship, rather than for their music.
Dog Is Dead
Continuing the birthday celebrations in Sound Control, it wasn’t the frontman and birthday boy who looked a bit worse for wear as the evening progressed, but a rather more boisterous synth player who was sure to have one heck of a hungover. The five-piece harmonising younsters from Nottingham attracted a fairly sparse crowd at the event’s largest venue HMV Ritz. ‘River Jordan’ appeared to be an audience favourite along with the occasional busting out of the Saxophone.
Perfoming a greedy two sets at the one day festival were Bastille. Stepping in for Summer Camp on the second set of the day didn’t quite have the same pull for people as their set earlier on in the afternoon. Despite this, the melodies and exciting compositions that came from the four from South London did justice to the HMV Ritz; by far the largest venue of the day.
Sweatbox-proper. This was the most energentic crowd we have witnessed in a long time. The Wavves played to a room full of stinking teenages, and that’s putting it politely. It was like the Bikram torture-chamber, without the yoga. These Californian-punkers incited a boisterous mosh pit with full-on human whirlpool. Their performance was thoroughly exciting but somewhat overshadowed by the audienc, which can only be a positive reflection of their music.
Out of the performances SSS attended, definitely the day’s stand-out act, and for the all the right reasons. Headlining at our personal favourite venue of the day, Manchester’sDeaf Institute, the room was pleasantly packed. With vocals sticking true to their Glaswegian roots the quintet delivered an uplifting, yet moving set. They showed-off their accomplished musical ability without loosing the audience.
This bunch have been playing solidly for the past six weeks and although they seemed a slightly jaded they didn’t let it effect their show. ‘Squealing Pigs’ had the audience stomping whilst the mic-less ‘Four Bulbs’ captivated the audience rendering them silent, if only for a wee while. In terms of hecklers, frontman Louis Abbott took no prisoners and rightly so. His reposts were sharp and had the audience giggling at the expense of the perpetrator(s). Louis’ banter with the audience made for a well-rounded performance at one stage teasing a member of the audience with the initial notes of The Proclaimers ’500 Miles’ i.e. “something we know”. A great headliner.
We wandered in to a very chilled out Sound Control Loft, people were sat and lay on the floor of the large space, so we took a seat to see what was next. We expected perhaps the tenor of EXITMUSIC or maybe a bit of a Rokkuro wind-down vibe. What we saw instead was a tad different…
When Islets first graced the stage and took to their instruments, we liked them. It was a bit different, edgy with pulsating rhythms and intense guitar drones. It seemed unique and ‘out-there’ and we were well up for trying it out for size. It was when the front woman started grinding her guitar whilst twirling in circles, another band member starting banging the rafters and another seemed to be having an epileptic fit hunched over his bass that it all got very, very weird. They did a quick line up swap with the woman replacing the drummer and it looked like a scene out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The obscurity of their performance felt insincere and forced; bordering on desperate. It was glaringly obvious that Islets were all having a party on stage that no-one else was invited to. On that note we grabbed some chicken and headed home.