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Alexis Panidis



Fresh-faced and eager to get on the road with their new EP – ‘Will To Power/Suspicion’ – Vancouver-based NOV3L have been discovered by fans that are already smitten with the likes of Talking Heads, Sweaty Palms, and FEET. Of course, an act with similarities matched to such artists went down well in the depths of the YES basement in the heart of Manchester.

Threads open with a stomping set. Guitars drenched with enough reverb to drown a small country, complemented by a rhythm section ridden with meat to scare any respected vegan. Lead vocal duties slightly suffered at the hands of a lost voice suffered by frontman Kane Martin, which from the upstairs may have sounded like a WU LYF comeback. But – ailments aside – all in all, their set was solid and they showed a lot of promise for a rising act.

Next up is much-hyped Canadian six-piece N0v3l. Little is known about this group, but they’ve already been tipped by the likes of NME for greatness in 2019 – quite a claim with only one EP released. Nov3l are set up surrounding the drummer in the middle of the stage, their set starts with the new single ‘To Whom It May Concern’, which is an absolute banger, flowing seamlessly into another great number: ‘Natural’. The guitars are intricate, twangy and funky, integrated with the basslines on show, that are so groovy that you can’t help but bob your head.


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N0V3L // The Shacklewell Arms // 26.01.2019

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The crowd are now in the mood, hips are shaking and feet are stomping. It’s true who we compared them to earlier – think early Talking Heads – angular guitar rhythms held together with simple but incredibly effective four-to-the-floor drum beats. A synth and interchanging sax player help add body to the songs giving them a truly unique and exciting sound. All this is joined together with shouty vocals that give it a post-punk edge. Mid setter ‘Suspicion’ treats the crowd to a building instrumental end that leads to a tight funky outro jam.

The set continues to churn out great dancey songs, with minimal chat in between them, leaving a lasting impression on the punters of the YES basement. N0v3l are an exciting and original band, and it will be very interesting to see what they have in store for the rest of the year.

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Sabotage MCR’s Top Acts to Look Out For in 2019


Of course, promoters are at the heart of pushing forward the next wave of musicians that meet the crowds. Sabotage is amongst them, eagerly selecting their best picks from the scene and vying for the attention of an audience. The collective presents some of the greatest upcoming musical talents from across the countries network of independent acts and hoists them on a pedestal at some of Manchester’s best venues. Previous events at Jimmy’s, The Castle Hotel and Soup Kitchen, have seen the likes of Catholic Action, Husky Loops, The Starlight Magic Hour and many, many more that passed under the Sabotage moniker. Next up, they have the likes of Deja Vega, Psyence and Deh – Yey taking to The Castle Hotel on Saturday 16th February. But. ahead of all that, check out their cream of the crop which their expecting to see big things from in 2019, right here:


After a busy first half of 2018 supporting the likes of Declan McKenna as well as a smattering of festival slots over the summer, FEET released 3 really high-quality singles. Their knack for originality both lyrically and musically under the ever increasing, cheesy, landfill indie blanket, sets them apart from so many similarly labeled bands. Their live show is manic, fun and exciting. If their new songs are anything like their latest releases, 2019 promises to be a great year for them.


Slowhandclap are a band that has taken a year or so to blossom, naturally, but now they are in full bloom and ready to fuck your earholes. Their influences are plain to see, worn on their sleeves – this is a band that is exciting and fresh though. Expect laid back, head bonking verses, silky grooves, meaty riffs, and guitars laden with enough tenacity and skill to impress any wannabe axeman. They’ve just recently sold out The Castle Hotel, in Manchester, and have a host of new singles coming out early in 2019. This band has everything at their disposal to be right up there. Watch this space!


Come 2019 it’ll have been 3 years on since La Mode released their incredible debut self -titled EP. In that time, they took a sabbatical for around a year, had a line-up change and really honed their sound. La Mode are now the complete package. Their exceptional vocalist Millie Sproston is an incomparable force to be reckoned with. The talent and musicianship of this band are exceptional, with maybe even the best rhythm section in Manchester. With a new EP currently in production and a live show that is exciting and monstrous, this could be the year that La Mode really pushes on. World, keep producing incredible female fronted bands.


In a time where “popular music” is so void of originality, Dylan sticks his middle finger up and says fuck you. Dylan is a dude, he can rap, sing, oh and he’s pretty damn good at the bass too. Hip-shaking grooves, laid-back rhythms, and bopping choruses are all part of his repertoire. His songwriting ability is only getting better and his live show is already polished, fun, and intoxicating. With a headline UK tour booked for March and more undoubtedly great music on the way, we see Dylan becoming a superstar.


Mealtime are an extremely exciting new band. Having only played 3 or 4 gigs, they are already in cahoots with promoting powerhouse DHP and rightly so. They’re cool cats, they ooze originality, have a knack for writing great songs. They also have an exceptional lyricist in Sam Craighan, at their helm. “If your love is a breeze in this blistering heat / Yeah then mine’s just the piss on the cold toilet seat”. They bring an army of synthesizers and a sound that is so raw and no-nonsense, that is nothing short of incredible.


We absolutely love this band. Two boys, Two girls, in your face, straight- up fun, aggressive, rock and roll.  They do not give two shits who you are, they make music because it’s fun and that comes across live, as it always should. Their live set is relentless, not a single bum note, banger after banger. Watch them live in 2019 at a small venue before they explode. But hurry, because the fuse is already lit.


Ah black midi. We first heard about black midi back in March, when there was a small mention of them in So Young Magazine. Immediately after, we scoured the internet far and wide: nothing. Having built a big reputation in London simply by word of mouth, they had no need for social media. On 27th April a live video emerged of them playing an untitled song in a session on YouTube (see above). This had us hooked, we understood the hype, reminiscent somewhat of the noughties underground math scene, although somewhat altogether more complete and encapsulating. We had to see this band live and immediately tried to book them. To our dismay, a band of this talent had already (obviously) been snapped up by a bigger and better promotor (Now Wave) and Black Midi played the opening weekend at YES, one of Manchester’s newest venues. If you can track them down, go and see this band live, for you will never have seen anything like it in your life. Who knows what they have planned in 2019 other than their first headline tour. They now have social media platforms, although they will delete posts shortly after uploading them. Stay mysterious Black Midi, Sabotage loves you.

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