LIVE: Radkey @ Night People

WORDS BY ROB HUDSON     PHOTO BY EDWINA HAY

It’s Saturday night in one of Manchester’s finest more recent venues Night People where Sheffield based indie-punk outfit Radkey, a trio consisting of three brothers from America are playing. As always, I arrive early, the venue is already at full capacity, occupied of anticipated fans. This is the first time in three years that Radkey has toured the UK making a gig in an intimate venue like this is a rare one.

From Guildford now, Sheffield based Blackwaters are the first and only support of the night. Having only heard a few of their songs I was not quite sure to expect, but whatever my forethought expectations were, they were blown away. Frontman Maximilian Tanner comes on stage sporting an oversized grey suit, probably around 3 sizes smaller than David Brynes during the golden era of the Talking Heads. Underneath the baggy yet somehow fitted jacket is a Bowie tee, as people around the country celebrate Bowie’s two-year anniversary death this deems to be a fitting choice of apparel.

Their set is full to the brim of indie-punk slammers, following in a similar style of the likes of Hotel Lux and Shame but adding a more creative edge to their sets and music, with songs such as ‘People Street’. The energy performed by all members of the band goes unmissed with the guitarist and bassist joining in on songs every now and then really helps create a wholesome and inviting sound. Tanner’s stage presence is like watching a compilation of live performances from the most exciting lead singers in punk and rock ’n’ roll. He has the Ian Curtis epileptic dance but can instantaneously delve into an Iggy Pop-like presence, smooth yet unhinged.

 

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Radkey are up next a band that some of the audience have been waiting years to see, the anticipation has expired and their hopes can be met. Sporting an all-American outfit, the three-piece are ready to perform their anthemic-punk bangers. The crowd is bouncing to the somewhat heavy tunes the band play, these guys are professionals in their field and perform an incredibly tight set never missing a note which keeps the momentum going throughout the gig. Despite the professionalism the band performed with, this made the gig a bit too clean for a supposedly ‘punk’ gig. Performing long-winded guitar solos that some of the older audience enjoyed sadly come across dated and almost dull in parts.

With such a strong start, their set became padded out with what felt like similar tracks forced into the set. Dee Radke is a truly significant vocalist, with such a strong vocal set I was surprised that parts of the gig felt rather monotone, resulting in the some of the crowd to become disassociated with their performance. Though there were still many people moshing and clearly enjoying the antics. Perhaps I was biased as I am not a fan of the classic rock clichés with ‘blistering guitar solos’ and so forth. That said songs such as ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Homeschool’ and ‘Love Spills’ carried an explosive punch, a vibe I was expecting much more of.

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