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THEATRE REVIEW: Mother’s Ruin @ Waterside Art Centre

WORDS BY ELLEN ROGERSON

3.5/5

The reason I love cabarets so much is the variety of acts you get to see squeezed into a couple of hours; singers, writers, actors, poets, stand up, dancers, the whole shebang, and you never know exactly what’s waiting for you until the auditorium lights go down. Being enveloped by the grotesque DIY glamour really satisfies my romanticised longing for Weimar Berlin, the arts, the culture. Life is a cabaret, old chum. So I was not left wanting after seeing ‘Mother’s Ruin’ at Sale’s Waterside Art Centre.

Beneath an aptly tacky disco ball, the stage was graced by many fabulous queer performers. The compere for the evening, Timberlina, lead us through the night with some fantastic eco-themed anthems, strummed enthusiastically on her guitar, such as Milk and Packaging. Her satirical take on middle-class eco-warriors was a delight. My favourite quip of hers being directed at an audience member, who after complaining they couldn’t find a local Greggs that sold vegan sausage rolls, suggested they move to a more upmarket area and start paying more council tax. We then dived head first into act one.

The stand out performances for me were given by Victoria Firth, a performer and theatre-maker, and Jackie Hagan, a comedian and also a theatre maker. Victoria spun us a tender re-imagining of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ which works as an allegory for a young person discovering that they are transgender. It was so refreshing to hear a story about trans identity that balances the portrayal of a supportive parent and a triumphant ending through finding acceptance, with the trials of enduring bullies and the impact of not having any answers on the duckling’s mental health. She illuminated the black, white and grey areas of a transgender persons experiences beautifully.

 

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Some amazing performances at Mothers Ruin last night!! #theatre #queercontact #manchester

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Despite her work being more serious in nature, Victoria’s performance was the perfect foil to the hilarious tour de force that is Jackie Hagan. A gay, working class, Liverpudlian amputee and self-proclaimed ‘artisan spam fritter’, Jackie is equal parts your typical ‘funny Northern lass’ and a ferocious activist. Having grown up in a poor Northern town and coming from a working-class background, a lot of her work really resonated with me. I was howling at her observations on having to ‘drag up’ to pass as middle class at networking events, but the truth of it really stung. I also relished the squirming of some clearly guilty audience members as she commented on the reluctance of the middle class to acknowledge, let alone discuss, the concept of class. Yet she never dwells too long on her serious material. Before I knew it she was necking lager out of her prosthetic leg like a trooper and that’s what gave her so much hold over the audience. She is so genuine, so full of heart and doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. I will forever keep tabs on her upcoming performances.

In the second act, I fell in love with Afshan De’Souza-Lodhi. Although she occasionally seemed a little nervous at first, once she got started it was clear her gift as a writer is undeniable. When exploring both her Muslim and lesbian identity through her poetry, she reveals her fear of losing touch with her culture as her mother’s native tongue is slowly eradicated through submitting to the colonising English language and that she will eventually discover the lube in Afshan’s bedside draw isn’t actually a moisturising hand lotion. My only critique is that her set was a little bit short, I would have loved to see what she could deliver if she was given some more time to fill.

 

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The other performers on the bill, Patrick Hollis, Aunty Ginger, Donna Matrix and David Mills were all received warmly by the audience, but speaking for myself they just didn’t strike a chord with me in the same way Victoria, Jackie, and Afshan did. This is probably down to a difference of taste since I don’t particularly enjoy spoken word or old-school character based routines, and being a typical Brit I just can’t wrap my head around American humour (sorry David!). Therefore I don’t think I can give a well-rounded critique of their work, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend them as performers, although Donna seemed a little rushed and lacked vocal clarity.

I do want to bring light to the fact that David Mill’s set ended with a joke about a non-binary couple who both used ‘they’ pronouns, which felt completely out of place at an LGBTQ cabaret night. Apart from the joke being fairly tone deaf, it was just plain unfunny and was met with silence by the audience, despite the guffaws of one person in the back row who was clearly plastered. I hope he considers revamping his set before playing another LGBTQ event. Despite the slightly uncomfortable ending, the whole evening was thoroughly enjoyable and would highly recommend seeing future iterations of Mother’s Ruin.

Like this? Read up on all of our film posts HERE 👀

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La Discotheque returns to Albert Hall this February

Returning to Manchester after their 2nd birthday tour, La Discotheque brings a stellar line up of disco and house to Albert Hall on Saturday, February 23rd. Headlined by the Founding Father of House, Lil’ Louis, along with sets from Dmitri from Paris, Horse Meat Disco and Luke Solomon.

Known for its huge lineups, La Discotheque brings Lil’ Louis to Albert Hall for the first time in seven years. Widely referred to as the “The Founding Father of House” with his seminal piece of work – French Kiss – released on Pete Tong’s FFRR imprint in 1989, remains one of the most recognisable tracks in House music today.

Joining Lil’ Louis is Dimitri from Paris, who returns to La Discotheque for a second time. Boasting such a prolific discography, the Frenchman is a true champion of the Disco era and a favourite of disco fans worldwide. London favourites Horse Meat Disco also provide support, having gone from strength to strength since they last played at La Discotheque in Manchester. They’ve been flying the flag all over Britain and selling out countless parties across numerous cities. It’s the queer party for everyone: “Homos and heteros, bears, fashionistas, naturists, guerrilla drag queens and ladies who munch”. Now mainstays on the club and festival circuits as DJs, and with tours in Asia and beyond becoming a formality, the Horse Meat revolution is well and truly underway and en route to Albert Hall on February 23rd.

Photo: Jack Kirwin -JK Photography-

The final announced support slot comes from La Discotheque debutant Luke Solomon.A true linchpin of the underground House music scene, Luke founded the long-running imprint “Classic” together with Derrick Carter back in 1995, produced Horse Meat Disco’s latest album and has been running the A&R for Defected Records for nearly a decade now. Despite operating on the fringes of the underground for so long, Luke has made big strides in recent years, touring extensively and bagging ‘Soldier Of The Scene’ at last year’s DJ Mag Best of British Awards.

Of course with it being La Discotheque, you can expect a load of surprises and VIP extras. We can’t wait to don the glitter once more and get back to Albert Hall. You can get your tickets HERE

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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yang free vibes

Ultimate Playlist: Yang

10 SONGS THAT HAVE INSPIRED YANG’S SOUND

WORDS: JESS CAMPBELL, PHOTO: HARRY GREEN

Yang are a genre-fluid duo from Manchester formed, not so long ago, on Halloween 2017. Haven’t heard of them yet? Don’t worry – you’re about to. Though they might have been making music behind-the-scenes for a little over a year, the faces behind the electronic project – Oliver Duffy and Davey Moore – are set to embark on their debut gig at January 5th’s Free Vibes event, as hosted by ourselves at Manchester-favourite venue Band on The Wall.

Honing their live performance for months, Yang are unequivocally original. Following in the footsteps of the local-leader TVAM, from the distorted vocal samples to the extensive sonic-soundscapes and pounding hypnotic beats, listening to Yang is almost trance-like. Topped with the duo’s highly-aesthetic visuals (seriously! – tumblr, what?), for such a young band Yang are polished. Live, we hope these visuals also come in to play… but we guess that’s all to play for. But what we do know is that Yang will be bringing a live hardware show with hard-hitting synths and dreamy soundscapes sure to catch your ears.

Need more? We asked Yang to put together their ‘Ultimate Playlist’ to give you a taste of what you can expect on the night. Check it out below!

Tickets for Yang’s debut gig are free & limited. Sign up for them whilst you can, here.

yang

Oliver’s picks:

Kelly Lee Owens – Throwing Lines

Oliver Duffy: Kelly was the first artist we looked to for inspiration; we had no idea what we were going to sound like when we first decided to make music together and Davey had just seen Kelly support Mount Kimble. He suggested that we use her album as reference for the type of stuff we should make which was a great move as we made Yangtape2 straight after.

Ian Pooley – Chord Memory (Daft Punk Remix)

OD: This is one of my go-to tracks for a DJ set, the chords are amazing and it sums up Homework-era Daft Punk pretty much. Daft Punk are my favourite electronic-based artist of all time. I’m obsessed with them so I had to include them in this playlist in some capacity!

Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush

OD: The tempo changes in this song are WEST. Our lecturer plays this song in Uni all the time and it’s great, the album is awesome. I know it inspired Twin Complex a lot, who did a sick remix of Yangtape2.

Justice – Audio, Video, Disco

OD: I fucking love Justice, and this one is off my favourite album of theirs. Their live show is actually ridiculous, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever witnessed. I hope one day Yang can be as musically intelligent as Justice are – they fully set the bar for what an electronic live show should be.

AWAYteam – Motown Funk

OD: It’s absolutely criminal that this band didn’t go further than they did… they’re not even on fucking Spotify. Like ‘Chord Memory’, this song is one of my favourites to play in a DJ set. One half of this duo, Ian Davenport, produced my old band’s single and did a sick job. Ian has done some great stuff, and this tune is right up there with the best stuff he has done, some of my favourite ever music.

Davey’s picks:

Mount Kimbie – Delta 

Davey Moore: Mount Kimbie have solidified themselves as one of my favourite artists of 2018. Silky melodies, lush chords and interesting production. Perfection, really.

OD: The song they did with King Krule is fucking great.

John Maus – Just Wait Til Next Year

DM: John Maus, what can I say. He makes me feel okay with the fact that I’m weird. To release an album filled with 80s synth sounds, weird lyrics and a lo-fi production is genius; love him.

Kelly Lee Owen – Evolution

DM: Kelly, Kelly, Kelly – an incredibly talented and intelligent woman has finally taken centre stage in dance music. Well, she has in my eyes. I haven’t heard a bad song yet.

Jamie XX – Sleep Sound

DM: Jamie xx is the reason I am here, making the music I do. His production techniques, paired with incredible sampling skills, and all the rest just… well, they just do things to me.

Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves The Sunshine

OD: Large.

DM: Everybody loves the bloody sunshine, they do, and I’m sure you’ll love this song too. It’s just a banger, an utter banger. I love it, I love you, I love music. Peace.

OD: Thanks for this, hope we guided you on your musical journey.

REMEMBER – Tickets for Yang’s debut gig are free & limited. Sign up for them whilst you can, here.

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UPCOMING: FREE VIBES x MCR Live | 05.01.18

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

You read that right, we’ve got another Free Vibes for you! The monthly slot at Band On The Wall pulls together a host of talented new acts and sets them up on one of the city’s most renowned stages. Muses of the Manchester music scene often reign in and present collaborated versions of the gig including SabotageAmazing Radio and of course our good selves. Last time we hosted Honey Moon, URFÉcru and Saint Ivy, this time we’ve got a similarly eclectic set of acts for you.

With such a wide selection of talent across the country, it was nigh on impossible to narrow down the number of acts we had available to us – the choice was nowhere near easy! But our curated lineup sees a selection of artists that we’re sure will whet the appetites of many an attendee.

In the headline slot on Saturday 5th January are hometown Mama Racho, the recently formed quintet blends the folkloric rhythms of cumbia music with a modern twist of psychedelic electronica. Expect groovy percussion, trippy synths and a calamity of guitars for the peak of the evening at Band On The Wall. Also on the bill are dream pop-sters Sequin Sally. Sultry dream pop oozes from the single track that they’ve thus far presented, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll have in store for us when they return refreshed from their Christmas break.

Earlier on in the evening are the genre-fluid pioneers that are Yang (find out more about their ultimate influences, here). With an underground online presence as they’re still “newbies” on the scene, we’re looking forward to your thoughts on these but we can inform you that they’re similar to the likes of XX and TVAM  with visuals that are just as up to scratch.

Last but certainly not least are Manchester based garage-punk trio Bleach Body who make the kind of music that’ll “make you feel as if your bones are shattering and your mind is being blown”. These guys might just be the loudest trio in Manchester. Brutal. Eclectic enough? Sign up for your FREE tickets and we’ll see you at the door!

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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Pete Shelley: The Man We All Fell in Love With

WORDS BY BENJAMIN CASSIDY

The greatest people and the art they make never stop influencing others. Those who lived whist they were in their hey day and those only just discovering it, many years after it was first released. They give a feeling that can’t be bottled and is worth any amount of money that could ever be dreamt up. Them, and their work, become details in people’s stories. Moments, that become immortal and are passed on as anecdotes years later. They cause nostalgia, which the more you think about that the more powerful the realisation is of how very special they and their innovations are.

As a global collective, fans always feel the loss of their icons. It’s astounding to think that we grieve for people we’ve never met. That’s the impact that music can have, and those that make it. Even in death, they bring people together. When a big name goes it’s always a sad day. Tributes pour in and out, with social media enabling exchanges that were never once possible. That global community of music lovers get to share sadness and perhaps it helps to soothe it; or, if not they can celebrate the lives of those they adored, at least. Sometimes though the community they plied their trade in and first gigged around is especially hard hit, when it loses one of its own.

Pete Shelley’s death is one that Manchester’s many music lovers (of all ages, tastes, and genres) were deeply grieved by; all are MCR are amongst them. It’s hard to say anything that’s not been said or try to capture how ingrained into Manchester and the music culture it’s so well known for. Him and the Buzzcocks were more than just a sound. They set trends in what people wore and somehow managed to find a middle ground between the more nihilistic aspect of Punk and the plastic pop sounds that flirted so heavily with Glam Rock. They were serious and fun, simultaneously. that showed just how much of an industry the music industry really was, always has been and still is. More than that though, the Buzzcocks did it first, paving the way for so much of what was to come out of Manchester, the surrounding area (as well as nationally and internationally). One local young musician’s Facebook tribute read, “Without the Buzzcocks, there are no Sex Pistols at the Free Trade Hall”. Put like that it’s staggering how much of an influence Shelley and the Buzzcocks are.

As a contributor for MCR, I know I talk on behalf of all here that going out to gigs, reviewing bands and interviewing them is a tremendous privilege and pleasure. Live music is the beating heart of culture. Manchester has a scene and history like no other place on the planet. Even those a few miles away, such as Joy Division and The Verve, from Macclesfield and Wigan, are firmly symbols of Madchester. The Buzzcocks are a Bolton band, but few would know it; less care. The Buzzcocks were the original group that others have so much to thank for. The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays. Later, Oasis, the Charlatans. Many, many more. So too though to those acts and artists that aren’t household names. The number of people the Buzzcocks and Pete Shelley influenced to pick a guitar up, wear a leather jacket and dare to offer the world their truth (often all at once and part of the same parcel) can never be known. What is known is the legacy he left, that was more than just brilliant music, although ultimately that’s what lasts and will always be most celebrated. Quite right too.

Almost every well-known band has a hit they become known by and not just for. They don’t pick it and at times it overshadows other work that’s also brilliant, perhaps even better. The fans pick and that’s that. Even record labels have limits on song popularity, despite heavy marketing. The fact that their most well-known song, ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ (1978) didn’t even get into the top ten proves this point. It didn’t need to. It is top of so many playlists, and, settled so many arguments of truly great songs. It was and is the anthem the band is synonymous with. This isn’t going to change and nor should it. However, it is worth using it as a way into discovering the rest of the material made by (along with his bands) this truly innovative and much-missed man, who had an impressive solo career too. He’ll long remain someone that’s energy and attitude, distilled in music, will ensure people have no doubt that they well and truly should have, and were so glad that they did fall in love with.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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PLAN: Off The Record 2018

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER     MAIN IMAGE IS CHILDCARE

It’s back. Manchester’s multi-venue live music event and conference Off The Record is set for another show-stopping year. We’re very proud to be part of the trusted curation team for this years event alongside a distinguished array of influencers including our very own Everything Everything, Rob Da Bank and faves The Orielles. With all acts now collated and the phenomenal lineup announced, the next step is navigating the lineup across the different venues of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Never fear, we’ve narrowed down a swift timetable of the acts you need to catch at this years’ Off The Record!

On Friday 16th November, kick things off with Nottingham based alt rockers Babe Punch at The Peer Hat set, to rouse your spirits with their grunge/punk mix as they commence the day at 18:40pm. Having supported the likes of Hinds, The Cribs and Ezra Furman, they’re well on their way to being up there amongst the movers and shakers of the music industry. On at the same time but definitely worth catching are Anglo/Korean duo WOOZE at 18:50 on Night & Day‘s stage with their compelling sound that of a warped pop that’ll be something entirely new to your ears.

After that you’ve got a bit of time to nip over to the Everything Everything curated stage at Band On The Wall, where MCR Live darlings Giant Boys beckon you at 19:30 with their minimalist take on post-punk. Theirs is a sound that entwines a Slaves-like level of recognisable Brit punk with something fresh and DIY, comparable to The Foetals to keep the pace going. Make a move towards the end of their set and you’ll have time to catch the end of female-led indie from an MCR Live curated choice, in the form of Thyla, who take the 19:50 slot at The Castle. Blending two quite opposing genres is no mean-feat and we can assure you that whether you go in to watch Thyla after listening to their music, or you rock up without the prior-knowledge, your head will be turned.

Then it’s a quick change over to Aatma for MCR Live residents Peaness – pronounced ‘Pea-ness’ – to brighten up your day (in the darkness at 20:25) with their self sufficient indie-pop which has seen them climb the ladder organically, finding fans in every corner that hears them. Next there’s a bit of a clash but it depends on what mood you’re in on the day. The feral garage punksters Avalanche Party hoist up Night & Day with their bare knuckles from 20:40 – expect nothing less than a snarling wilderness from these Yorkshire renegades. On the flip side, the otherworldly beauty of Pearl City at The Castle makes for a dreamy evening slot at 20:45 via their experimental sound that compromises a spectrum of instruments alongside spellbinding visual trickery.

Photo is Pearl City by Warren Millar

Glaswegian electro-pop might be something you never thought you’d come across but it’s here and it’s here to stay. Happy Spendy bring something new and alive to Aatma from 21:25, featuring their positively themed electronic whirl of wistful, occasionally romantic and always unique sound. Dive into Night & Day next and stay there for the foreseeable with Self Esteem followed by HimalayasSelf Esteem gives you a slice of Slow Club from singer Rebecca Taylor, now embarking on her own project and taking us all by storm with her. Drawing influence from everything and anything – pop culture, her experience’s in the band that she loved but was no longer the place for her creatively, and the freedom that came from stepping away, her new sound is dramatic, direct and deafeningly exciting.

Although we’ve penned this next MCR Live curated selection since 2016, the band have since gained notoriety for a set that is highly energetic, full of melody & cheekiness with ripping hooks – listen to this band once, and you wouldn’t be surprised that they’re all fans of Queens Of The Stone Age, Arctic Monkey’s, Jack White et.al. Straight up Rock’n’Roll. Liked The Blinders last year? You’ll LOVE these. It’s Himalayas of course, sinking their teeth into you at 21:45, headlining Night & Day.

The final live act of the day takes shape in the form of London based CHILDCARE. What gets better than being hand-selected by icons in their own right Everything Everything? Celebrating British awkwardness, this act formed off the back of male-nanny-turned-lead-singer Ed being heard singing by a six year old he was minding who pushed him to take it live. Now out in the open, this four-piece will win over fans of the likes of Baby Strange and Indoor Pets. Catch them at Band On The Wall at 23:30. The night is still young and Everything Everything then take to the decks of Band On The Wall as they close this years festival with a DJ set that’s sure to grab your attention, going on late into the night. It’s a long but fruitful evening ahead for many the music fan, what more could you ask for?

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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UPCOMING: MIF 2019 announces first wave of artists

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Now in it’s eighth year, Manchester International Festival is proudly, a festival that unites creatives from different backgrounds and demographics. By weaving them together in a celebration of cultural unity that takes place all across Greater Manchester, it’s a biannual event that immerses all of the city together and next takes place from the 4th to the 21st July 2019.

Don’t peg this as any specific type of creative festival – MIF covers the whole spectrum – having premiered many a distinguished act from the fields of architecture to visual arts and everything in between. Think Björk, The xx, Maxine Peake, Zaha Hadid Architects, all have performed, produced and presented work at previous versions of the festival. What’s more, Manchester is rife with a collection of unique sites that make for prime locations to host international talent. To name a few that are sure to capture your attention: Kanye West performed his first ever Manchester show at the O2 Apollo for MIF back in 2007; Kenneth Branagh and Maxine Peake were cast in a portrayal of MACBETH at St Peter’s Church in Ancoats in 2013 and last year saw New Order reunite at the old Granada Studios complete with a 12-piece synthesiser orchestra of students from RNCM.

 

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New Order

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Well in advance of the next instalment, the lineup is now already starting to emerge. Just this week, MIF announced that the opening festival slot will be hosted by none other than Yoko Ono. As one of the most respected artists in the world, Ono invites us to join her for her first display in Manchester at Manchester Cathedral, to ring those age old bells and call for the world to welcome peace with open arms, as thousands of voices from the Cathedral and abroad will sing out. Stating “PEACE IS POWER”, the display titled ‘BELLS OF PEACE’ will mark the opening of Manchester International Festival 2019, with one of the most reputable acts of recent generations.

Following on from this, the man of the moment Idris Elba presents ‘TREE’, in partnership with Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah as they search for the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. An exploration within dance and film, with Elba’s debut album ‘Mi Mandela’ as the soundtrack, the performance is set to show a journey through the ever changing country by way of one young man as the feature star. From the open on the 4th through to the 10th July, the duo will be taking over Upper Campfield Market Hall for this one-off, world-premiere meeting of two creative minds.

The final announcement comes in the form of another man of the hour – Skepta shares with us his own idea of what the future may hold for humanity. ‘DYSTOPIA987’ is to take place in a secret Manchester location that is as of yet undisclosed. With very little being shared in advance about the performance, other than an eerily cryptic name and the promise of a display that is dark and riveting, we’re already eagerly awaiting to see what the featuring musicians, performers and promised use of technology will evoke. MIF 2019 already cultivates the idea of a merger between performance techniques both old and new, by way of technology and the performers themselves. Expect the unexpected and if it hasn’t happened yet it soon will.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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PREVIEW: FilmFear @ HOME, 26-31 October

Words by Alice Salmon

Halloween is just around the corner and all (evil) eyes are on HOME, as celebrated indie horror film festival FilmFear returns for another year of screams, spooks and scares. (Please note: pun-haters and the squeamish alike should look away now). This season (of the witch), MCR Live will be covering the festival for the first time – and with its fiendish calendar of events co-curated by Film4, there’s something for the horror fan in every (haunted) house.

You’ll find previews of cult genres (cheerleader slasher, anyone?) alongside Q&As from (in)famous directors and a (blood)-spattering of cult classics. These really are six (six, six) days of unmissable cinema. Music fans too, listen up – with scores from John Carpenter littering this year’s festival, everyone’s spine will be tingled. Here are some of our top picks ahead of the festival’s respawn tomorrow:

One Cut of the Dead (15)

Released last year to critical acclaim, Japanese zombie horror One Cut of the Dead has already gained notoriety for its agonising 40 minute single-take opener. Be prepared for blood, guts and a surprising amount of black comedy.

Mandy (18)

Blending action, horror and romance in one lethal cocktail, Mandy stars Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough in their fight against a seemingly-innocuous hippie cult who are in turn in league with a satanic biker gang. It ticks every box for those who like their horror bold, bloody…and with crossbows.

The Fog (15)

The penultimate day of the festival sees one of three cult classics brought back from the afterlife. Our pick of the three is The Fog, starring horror heroes Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Adrienne Barbeau – it’s an ‘80s feast for the (six) senses.

 

Want to check out these, and more, but you reckon it’ll get pretty expensive? Think again. 

HOME offers a multi-buy ticketing system, so the more films you book tickets for, the more money you save. For fans of indie cinema, horror classics, and those who already know what you did last summer, this promises to be devilishly good.

Click here for the full programme of events and ticket bookings

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neighbourhood

Review: Neighbourhood 2018

The real festival is the neighbourhood you go with. WORDS – DARYL GORMAN

In case you missed it, last weekend Neighbourhood Festival took over Manchester venues across the city for another one-day extravaganza bringing both the new and nostalgic indie & alternative acts to the people of the North. As with all festivals, it’s not ALL about the bands you go and see, but the atmosphere in and around the venue and the company you go with that makes them so special. Neighbourhood Festival was no different – (plus, that’s the whole point of a neighbourhood, isn’t it?) The music enhances your experience. Don’t get me wrong, the bands that we saw we’re all incredible, but as a whole the experience isn’t one I am going to forget in a hurry.

Before we begin, however, let me address the elephant in the room. In my preview, I listed the 5 bands that I was most looking forward to seeing; of those we only got around to seeing one. (Due to scheduling clashes with some of the bands playing and a last minute decision to not change venues.) But I digress. With so much on offer, here’s a rundown of the band we managed to see!

Patawawa

If you were at Neighbourhood you might be wondering why the first band that we saw was only on at 3.30. The short answer is our late arrival to the festival, which sadly resulted in missing out on the first few bands – (and a quick trip to student haunt Thirsty Scholar, of course). We cut this short though, in order not to miss our first band – the incredible Patawawa.

patawawa neighbourhood

Vivacious energy came from the whole band playing to a packed out YES basement, who understandably had beaming smiles on their faces that failed to budge throughout – let’s just say that is was a GREAT way to start off the day. For a new band that, the energy and vibes that the trio brought was pretty insane. By the end of their set (closing with the massive banger that is Patagonia), there was not a single person in the room not dancing – a full-floor right up to the intimate stage, Patawawa truly had the crowd in the palm of their hands. These guys know how to play to an audience and live their music is even more infectious – an incredible feat considering how young they all are. I said in my preview that I wanted to boogie with Patawawa & it was clear that every single person in the room felt the same.

Sports Team

Elsewhere in YES, Manchester’s most instagrammable venue the Pink Room to be precise, was Sports Team. Between flailing himself on stage, swinging around a mic stand and proudly beating his chest with his mic between lyrics, the incredible energy levels from the lead singer were next to none – somehow topping all of Patawawa.

BUT, what made Sports Team extra special for me was the juxtaposition between their frontman and the percussionist who stood straight-faced and solemn throughout the duration of the set, occasionally shaking a tambourine or playing with synths to the beat of each song (otherwise, he just stood there eerily and really captured everyone’s attention). Describing Sports Team and this odd pairing of personalities on stage really doesn’t do them justice, but this dramatic stage performance really just sums up the band as a whole. Any band who can write a belter of a tune about relationship struggles by using Ashton Kutcher as a metaphor are going places in my eyes. They’re supporting Hinds on their upcoming tour and I CANNOT wait to see them again (mainly for tambourine man – big up yourself).

sports team neighbourhood

Photos – @manc_wanderer

FLING

Yet again to the Basement in Yes (we did go to other venues, I promise) to see Bradford based Fling. Now I had gone into this set with no knowledge of the band at all, but I am so glad I didn’t. A chance conversation the night before about this band’s set at The Castle a few weeks prior to Neighbourhood led to us heading to the basement – as soon as we walked into the room we were ready for an absolute TREAT.

fling neighbourhood

Photo – @itsjesscampbell

Fling make as much of a statement through their music as they do their attire – which each adds to their presence and the overall ethos the band purvey. Unlike most cliché band uniform, each member of the band have their own look; take them all apart it wouldn’t work at all, together this brings in a truly unique styling that perfectly allegorises this individualistic band. Leading the pack, the frontman donned a sleeveless fishing jacket, bum-bag, camouflage trousers and a smiling face shirt straight out of the 90s. Pretty nuts in itself. Joining him onstage, the bassist in a skeleton onesie and guitarist wearing a bright red jumpsuit. (Seriously check out their social media pages, I am not doing them justice here.)

Musically, Fling are incredibly unique amongst other bands in 2018 – their songs have this strange resonance to them, complemented by their physical stylings. The whole thing about Fling just works when it really shouldn’t, to the point where I literally cannot stop listening to them even days after seeing them. From their psychedelic musical styling combined with their distinct look,  comedic lyricism and pitch-perfect harmonies Fling have taken aspects from various genres and patched them together seamlessly to create a live performance that will certainly shock you. Either way, I am glad that we went back down into that basement.

Her’s

her's neighbourhood

Photo – @slavetothepower

Jumping back into the music with the easy listening, one of the most talked about bands on this year’s line-up, the lovely guys from dream-pop outfit Her’s. They were EXACTLY what I wanted them to be. The Dynamic duo play their unique sounding music to a packed out crowd at Gorilla, (told you we went to more than one place) and in trademark effortless-crooning style, somehow manage to capture the full attention of every single person in the room.

Arriving to the venue a while before the band took to the stage, thankfully we decided to perch on the balcony at Gorilla which soon filled up to the brim, to give the band our full attention. Her’s smooth indie-pop tunes didn’t get lost on stage thanks to their incredible stage presence, and a sweet camaraderie, guarantee a great time for everyone in the audience. If you haven’t listened to them yet, get on it – you won’t regret it.

Spector

spector neighbourhood

Photo – @freyagorton

Running over to Manchester Academy in order to catch the whole of Spector’s set proved somewhat of a challenge (meaning we missed a couple of songs). Here though came the equal-highlight of my day,  when – somewhere in the beginning of Chevvy Thunder (which was around halfway through their set) – it hit me that I had actually seen Spector before, and I was suddenly taken back to being Twenty Nothing again (if you know, you know). Suffice to say, this was a very special moment, and they absolutely owned the stage for their entire set.

Finishing off their set with an extended version of the impeccable All The Sad Young Men,  Spector had everyone in the venue singing along from start to finish in an emotional outpour and an ode to our teenage years all in one. Perfect. (My personal highlight from their set actually came the day after. After they finished their set we went down to get a drink and to decide who to see next, our Head of Music was a big fan of Spector as a teenager and the best way she could honour them was to hum their closing song (a few drinks down, in a banjo style for all of her Instagram followers to see no-less), only for it to get reshared by the band the next day. Pure cringe.)

Swim Deep

Swim Deep Neighbourhood

Photo – @imshaunabtw

So here we are, headline act time. Sadly, as I mentioned, there was a major clash in scheduling throughout Neighbourhood – to name but a couple, Everything Everything & Lady Bird both playing at the same time. So, how do you choose which one to see? Well you don’t, you end up finding out that the person you went with was a MASSIVE fan of Swim Deep when she was 15 and you go and see them, to bring back those memories of youth (and already being at the venue proved to be a big help in this decision). But the late 80’s/early 90’s surf-pop stylings of Swim Deep held up – even though I wasn’t as familiar with them as I was with Everything Everything or newcomers Lady Bird, it was still a great experience.

 

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I hadn’t heard Swim Deep before the night, so I ended up sitting on a step outside the venue being taught about their greatest hits so that I could enjoy the set as well. And it’s these intimate moments you get with your friends between the bands that really makes festivals like Neighbourhood special; because the venues are so spread out, you have time to travel between the bands you want to see. It might mean missing bands, but it also means time to make memories & time to enjoy some great bands that you didn’t know about, (or perhaps forgot you knew.)

< SPECIAL MENTION – DEEP FRIED CALZONE >

One of the great things about inner-city festivals when it comes to the age-old debate of ‘camping Vs city’ is the ability to dip out and dip back into the festival “site”.Unsurprisingly we had to take a little break from the music part-way through, partially because we needed to rejuvenate some energy and partly because there weren’t any bands playing that we were really excited about (and partly because I needed some food).

With no street-food vendors in sight around any of the many venues, we took a detour just down the road to Albert Square – luckily for us, the timing of Neighbourhood was paired with Manchester Food & Drink Festival. My life changed in that moment, I was introduced to Deep Fried Calzones. (Aside from the music, the memories and the fun had, the Calzone was so good it deserved its own chapter.)

 

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Neighbourhood

Preview: Neighbourhood Festival 2018

5 Bands to look forward to this Neighbourhood!

WORDS – DARYL GORMAN

Manchester’s Neighbourhood festival is on this weekend and this time it is bigger than ever. Like Dot To Dot, the event spreads itself across some of Manchester finest music venues such as Albert Hall, Deaf Institute & Gorilla, alongside the brand new Now Wave run-venue YES (and loads more) with each location hosting performances from some killer acts old & brand new.

With so many great acts playing across the city, we know how overwhelming it can be to decide just exactly who you’re going to see – there is just too much choice! Luckily, we’ve been kind enough to pick out our own top 5 acts that you absolutely HAVE to see from this incredible lineup!

The festival is this weekend, tickets are still available but hurry!

 

Everything Everything

This one obviously goes without saying, I mean the band is so good they named themselves twice. Shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize twice (and robbed of it both times), the Manchester favourites have gone from strength to strength. (Plus, bassist Jeremy is low-key one of our favourite Resident DJ’s so it would just be a little bit rude to ignore them from this list, right?)

If you’re a fan of alt-rock mixed with some funky pop stylings, then this is one set that you really don’t wanna miss out on!

 

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Having performed under a few different names, Sam Duckworth has brought back his moniker Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly for latest release Young Adult which sees the singer-songwriter in a refreshing new light.

If you’re a fan of alternative/indie folk tunes this is the one for you. Personally, seeing GCWCF is going to be a highlight for my Neighbourhood experience this year – Get Cape was one of the first gigs I ever went to growing up and I can’t wait to relive those memories as a Young Adult.  (Pun intended).

 

Lady Bird

Lady Bird are a three-piece punk band signed to Slaves own record label, Girl Fight. Though one of the newer names on the bill, Lady Bird are one of the acts we are most looking forward to – all of their songs have an air of suburban unrest told through a narrative that we can all relate to.

One track we have had on repeat is Spoons, a single with metaphors surrounding the UK pub franchise (and every UK student’s right of passage) Wetherspoons – it really is amazing as it sounds. Lady Bird are definitely one to catch if you’re in the mood for a thoroughly entertaining three-piece punk act with some aggressive riffs mixed in with poetic lyricism.

Patawawa

Something a little bit different now, but a band we have loved since we first heard them at the start of the year, Patawawa are a musical trio describing themselves as disco-tinged-indie. But it is much more than that. The three-piece bring their disco/pop styles and fuse it with some glittery guitar riffs, rhythmic synths and some solid bass lines topped off with powerful but soothing vocals.

Their debut EP Bedroom has sealed their position as one of the most exciting new acts and after their performance earlier this year at Salford’s intimate Eagle Inn I cannot wait to boogie along with them!

Asylums

The band was created from their own DIY label, Cool Thing, the self-created label spills out into their musical stylings giving a really nice feeling to each song. They recently released their second album and it’s all killer.

Asylums combine the Alt-Rock stylings of Weezer with their own Agri-pop influences sticking their finger up at social trends.

There are loads of great bands playing, and this is just a small selection of my own personal highlights. The festival is this weekend, tickets are still available but hurry!

Check out the playlist below & let us know who you’re looking forward to seeing!

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