Back to the top

Band on the Wall


Flora Jackson and Rob Paterson are the duo that makeup one of Manchester’s most-promising, and incredibly unique bands, The Vanity Project. With an emphasis on performance, the duo sit somewhere between pop clowns and cabaret cult leaders – if you can imagine such a thing. Using infectious pop hooks and drawing you in with tales of hallucinogenic soft drinks and fascistic seaside towns, we can’t wait for the two-piece to join us at Band on The Wall for our latest Free Vibes takeovers.

But what can you expect? The Vanity Project have not only been championed by the one and only Marc Riley on his 6Music show, but Everything Everything frontman Johnathan is also a big fan, citing that ”they put on a great show’. And of their set? It promises to be a live performance full of monologues, costumes and the occasional dance routine. If they’re good enough for Johnathan & Marc, we cannot wait to see what they’ll bring to the night.

Joining them on the bill, the two-piece will be wonky-psychedelic Springfield Elementary, Garage-punksters Chupa Cabra and the mysterious weird-funk of guano on Thursday 25th April at Band On The Wall. Our last Free Vibes SOLD OUT the 600 capacity venue, so make sure you RSVP now!

Before then, and to give you more of an idea of what you can expect from The Vanity Project, we asked Rob & Flora to pick out 10 tracks which best describe them… see you there!

I NI SOGOMA – Dinosaur Feathers

Dinosaur Feathers are a New York band we discovered a year or so back, and the way they balance strange off-kilter rhythms with catchy melodies is something that we’ve often tried to emulate, to variable success.

HAPSBURG LIPPP – Everything Everything

EvEv are definitely who we started off as, and it’s still difficult for us to shake the desire to break into a Jonathan Higgs falsetto at any given opportunity. He name-dropped us once in an interview with a Cumbrian local newspaper. True story.


If we started off as an EvEv tribute band we’re metamorphosing into an XTC one. Rob and I fell in love with Skylarking a couple of years ago and both that record and English Settlement have massively influences our writing styles.

BABOO – Pixx

Pixx‘s record The Age of Anxiety was one of the most underrated releases of the past couple of years, and the willingness to experiment with weird sonic pallets while still always remaining pop is something we try to replicate.

Radio Silence – Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby‘s been a musical touchstone for both of us for ages, and although in general, he’s a lot synth-ier than us, this track, in particular, fits our vibe pretty well.

Oily water – Blur

Blur‘s a weird band to cite as an influence because it could really mean anything. Are you a straight Britpop band? A Kinks-a-like? Heroin addicts? Do you just know Song 2? We went for this angular oddball cut from Modern Life Is Rubbish.

The City – Dismemberment Plan

The Dismemberment Plan changed a lot of my perception of chords; they love 7ths and open strings and taking one shape and moving it up and down the fretboard for eerie effects. One of our songs was even just called “D-Plan” until we eventually found a name for it.

NO PLACE – Ezra Furman

Transangelic Exodus was Rob‘s favourite album last year (my favourite, Daphne and Celeste Save the World, is maybe not appropriate for this playlist). This track has a brilliant atmosphere to it, but the real reason we picked it is we’ve just launched our night called No Place, so think of this as its unofficial theme song (tho, cough cough, we came up with the name way before, ahem ahem)


We’re both big FJM fans and though musically we walk different paths, the defeatist humour he uses in his lyrics is a strong influence on ours (though I like to think we’re at least slightly more optimistic…)


Finishing off the playlist comes Tune-Yards, who along with Owen Pallett taught us that you can do things with a loop pedal that isn’t just, well, loop pedal music. And by melding frantic but catchy melodies with weird rhythms, we’re right back where we started…

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


LIVE: Cloud Nothings @ Band on the Wall


Sitting just on the outskirts of the city centre – as well as the buzzing gig hive of the Northern Quarter – it only makes sense that Band on the Wall has found itself inching into the touring rock band arena as of late, with no better ambassadors for niche millennial punk angst than prolific Cleveland noisemakers Cloud Nothings.

The cosy bar area and relatively ornate architecture lend a sliver of prestige to tonight’s scruffy clientele, who betray an excitable buzz over cold pints and warm chatter. In the imposing main stage room, Salford-based newcomers Chew Magna lead the charge with some spiky, rough-hewn alt-rock, doling bristly power chords underneath softly pining vocal melodies. If you’re confused about the name, you aren’t the only one; lead vocalist and guitarist Simon takes a moment to mention how most listeners know them as ‘Chew Magma’, rather than the namesake of a parish of Somerset.

A few more numbers are led with masterfully slacker-esque soloing, bringing to mind the sunniest of Dinosaur Jr. cuts, but it’s the lengthy closing track that most deftly weaves together their disparate influences, with a driving krautrock bassline and skittery drum work – just a touch more honing, and the group will most definitely be ones to watch for 2019.

The crowd of denim and indoor beanies swells with fervor for Cloud Nothings, who tease some mournful, airy chords before launching into some ferocious, heart-wrenching punk rock. Bandleader Dylan Baldi’s endearing rasp is stricken with soulfulness and pain, trading tender harmonised melodies with the rest of the group and building to fevered emotional climaxes. Unmoving from a tight, intricate stage formation, the band unleash a slew of blood-pumping hits from last year’s excellent ‘Last Building Burning’, as well as some moodier and more contemplative cuts; the audience remains oddly passive, however, opting to soak in the experience, despite a number of inviting, repetitive lyrical snatches just begging for a crowd singalong.

This eventually falters into some aimless between-track noodling, which builds for just slightly too long into a pumping, yet tuneless one-note riff – a rare glimpse of the band’s rhythmic prowess over its melody. “Now time for stuff that would appear on a Greatest Hits, if we had one,” Baldi teases, before an array of songs from a steadily-growing back catalogue; culminating in a somewhat rusty performance of Stay Useless, a tightly-crafted, crunchy power-pop number, which pricks up most of the crowd’s ears.

Come to their closing track and the group successfully leave the room clamouring for more – gratefully obliging, it’s a rousing encore of the epic Wasted Days, played with a burning intensity, which rounds off tonight’s successful Manchester stop. “It feels good to do something today,” Baldi muses at one point. “We didn’t do anything today.” What more could a touring indie rock band ask for?

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

eva band on the wall

LIVE: Inner City Waves #15 w/ Eva Bee + support @ Band on the Wall


If one of your new year’s resolutions isn’t to seek and discover more homegrown music, then it should be. Manchester is an exciting place to be right now for emerging talent across the genre spectrum. One group facilitating the exposure of the sounds of tomorrow – Inner City Waves – hosted their fifteenth show at legendary Manchester venue Band on the Wall last Friday.

Since their birth almost two years ago, the aim of their game has been to advocate the best underground vocalists, rappers, DJ’s and producers in the North West – a game which has proved fruitful for all involved, punters and participants alike. Bulldozing their way into 2019, show #15 saw none other than Manc soulstress EvaBee headline the evening, with support from Savvy, Hana Malik, Kamali and DJ Ben Jac.

Band on the Wall has been accountable for the spawning of many a Manchester musical legacy – a suitable location to fit the Inner City Waves ethos. EvaBee reiterated this early in her set, projecting how she had longed to perform on a stage with such local heritage. Known for its refined acoustics, Eva’s magnetising tones filled the room as an eager crowd revelled in the performance. Showcasing unheard gems and dusting off old crowd favourites, Eva treated us to an exhibition of what can be achieved through hard work and persistence on a passion.

Although she quite easily could have stole the show all by herself, MCR Live resident & A Broken Camarilla band mate, friend and artist in his own right Ceeow shared the stage to perform new track ‘Stranger Things’, taken from the aforementioned band’s forthcoming EP: Tides. Ceeow re-joined the stage for the penultimate track ‘Wave’; an A Broken Camarilla anthem from yesteryear. MCR Live resident TMNMS was on selector duty – a DJ and producer in his own right, responsible for the crisp production on some of EvaBee’s more recent tracks.

Eva’s charm and individuality stems from her effortless ability to capture the crowd with ethereal pitch-perfect harmonies – and in the same breath – spin the room out with her raw energy and feel-good spirit, making the synergy between the stage and the floor something to behold. Her outputs vary from deep emotional themes to lighthearted depictions of things she simply loves, resulting in a noticeable inclusivity about her music. Eva’s performance of new track ‘Morgan Spiced’ was a prime example, going down well on the night in more ways than one.

Eager to leave the crowd with one more song beyond her planned set list, Eva confessed her hesitation to do so due to being a little under the weather. Some crowd encouragement and a wave from her on-looking family was all she needed to jump down from the stage and perform unreleased track ‘Lets Go Back’ to absolute perfection – arguably her most impressive piece of work to date and certified to make serious noise when it drops later this year.

If that wasn’t enough to kickstart her year, EvaBee will releasing her first single ‘Full Circle’ on 15/1/19. Inner City Waves #16 goes down at Band On The Wall on 31/1/19 – get involved and keep the scene bubbling!

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

sequin sally


Newcomers to the electro-pop scene, Sequin Sally are bucking the trend against pop acts alike. Synthesizers and shell-suits match their pared-down melodies and ethereal vocals that depict the tumultuous events life throws at us.

The band has already amassed a cult-like following around their local hunting ground of Manchester, selling out shows across the city. With their refined sound and established presence on the local music scene, you’d be forgiven for assuming they are well seasoned within the industry. Their first EPis all set to be realised in 2019, produced with label Uncommon Ground; it is a confident and well-positioned step into the professional music scene.

Ahead of their slot at our highly anticipated Free Vibes on Saturday 5th January at Band On The Wall, the newcomers selected their top tracks for an ultimate playlist with us:

sequin sally

Active Child – Hanging On

My ultimate favourite song. Sonic bliss.

Wild Nothing – Partners In Motion

I can’t stop listening to this at the moment, it’s that riff.

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

I owe a lot of myself to this song.

Britney Spears – Break The Ice

The pop slag in me can’t say no to a bit of mood boosting Britney.

Bicep – Glue

Sadness you can dance to, the vibe of my newer songwriting tbh.

Death In Vegas – Your Loft My Acid (Fearless Transhouse Single)

Not gonna lie I re-watched the entirety of Skins from the beginning and this song was in an episode and I’m obsessed.

Robyn – Honey

Robyn’s return with an album full of heartbreak to thumping beats was exactly what I needed this summer. Thanks for being the real MVP Robyn x

Depeche Mode – It’s No Good

Newer stuff I’ve been writing is more dark and moody, I feel like these lyrics are extremely relatable for me right now.

Tommy Genesis – 100 Bad (Charli XCX Remix)

I hate that I love this so much. I first heard it on the light up dance-floor of KIKI’s. Scatter my ashes on that dance-floor while this song plays when I’m dead and gone. I am trash.

Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas

BASICALLY thank you to this band for paving the way for my songwriting and sound. A perfect song that feels like a film. Timeless.

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


UPCOMING: FREE VIBES x MCR Live | 05.01.18


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 👀


LIVE: Jah9 @ Band On The Wall


Jah9 is a perfect choice for Band On The Wall with her powerfully unique vocals and endearing stage persona. I’ve always been a fan of the more intimate venues when it comes to live music, and the relaxed atmosphere of Band On The Wall will always be one of my favourite Manchester venues for fitting the intimacy criteria so perfectly. With no barrier between audience and stage, any band that performs at this venue can effortlessly engage with their people in such a way that you would soon believe they are there for you and no one else.

Accompanied by her four piece backing band The Dub Treatment relaying sultry reggae rhythms with the occasional virtuoso burst on each instrument, all was set for a peaceful evening of cheerful reggae tunes. The Dub Treatment’s look matched the classic reggae aesthetic, with dreadlocks, baggy clothes as well as green, gold and red colours typical of their genre. Watching them perform together instantly knocked me in to a good mood. They would gently sway and regularly smile at one another, making it feel as though the audience were sitting in on a casual jam session in the basement of The Dub Treatment’s house.

Jah9 entered the stage wrapped up warm for the cold streets of Manchester. Band On The Wall may be a small venue, but it certainly felt quite cold inside. It only took a matter of seconds for Jah9 to accentuate the pure power and tunefulness of her voice. With reverb and delay effects occasionally being added to the mic, her voice filled the venue and bounced off the walls around her, engulfing the swaying audience as they watched in awe. Before some songs, Jah9 would address the crowd with a rousing spoken word interlude urging us to feel unique or stick together.


View this post on Instagram


@jah9online ___________________________________ . . . #jah9online #africanqueen #reggae #thedubtreatmentband #livemusic

A post shared by sub6xty (@sub6xty) on

The theme of feminism shone through perfectly as she addressed the ladies of the crowd and encouraged them to join her on certain tracks. It was clear that Jah9 had a few political views to express, but she did so in such a way that it felt like part of the music, rather than the sardonic ramblings of a bitter front-woman. Ending with popular track ‘Steamers A Bubble’, Jah9 had parted with her coat and was parading around the stage with pure energy, projecting musical notes from her voice with raw power. The Dub Treatment took it in turns to perform a short solo each, showing off their musical virtuosity, before Jah9 left the stage allowing for the band to finish off as they had started. Leaving the audience feeling relaxed, cheerful, and somewhat inspired by Jah9 ’s impressive vocals and the power she brings to her performance.

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


LIVE: Matt Maltese @ Band On The Wall


Matt Maltese wooed Band On The Wall with songs from his latest album ‘Bad Contestant’. Opening with ‘Guilty’ he showcases his tongue-in-cheek lyrics with an alternative sense of romance – “8am and my poor heart sure feels tender”. Sensitive and wise beyond his years, he’s been ushered into the genre of Schmaltzcore along with his counterpart, Tom Misch. Jaunty piano riffs and dark humour-filled lyrics are metaphorically splendid and very reminiscent of Father John Misty.

Support came from FUR, their dreamy guitar riffs swirled around the iconic Manchester venue. They play dreamy DIY pop with a folky edge which acts as a perfect warm up for Matt Maltese. Backed with dreamy heart shaped lighting, it seemed Maltese was making an almost ironic statement as he sung of Shakespearean-style heartbreak. He expertly tackles themes of melancholy and depression; with these themes immaculately depicted on the sardonically named album ‘Comedic Life’.

‘Greatest Comedian’ is a set highlight, which is slightly rockier and breaks up the ballad-heavy setlist. With a fuzzy bass-line, whirring guitars and melodic backing vocals it brings the set to an undeniable peak. It also allows Maltese to leave his keyboard behind and be up on his feet for the first and last time in the set.

Before giving a rousing and emotive performance, ‘As the World Caves In’ he introduces it by saying, “this is about being eighteen and heartbroken”. The theme echoes that of Father John Misty’s ‘I Love you, Honeybear’, with dramatic declarations of love, he builds up a perfect picture of theatrical romance with “Yes it’s you I welcome death with/As the world caves in” but there’s a sad sense of unrequitement.

Endearing himself to the Mancunian audience he tells a story of when he’d agreed to go ice skating with his mother but it was the morning after a bender and “taking too much of a stupid drug”. He seems so human and has an undeniable gift for summing up the intricacies and sometimes just plain ridiculous parts of human existence. His stories and lyrics of one night stands, love triangles and giving into peer pressure enchant the crowd with their overwhelming realness.

Although he seems to be an old soul, Maltese captures the confusion and sense of “fumbling through life” which is so familiar to anyone in their early 20s. There’s a comfort to his words and a sense of unity amongst his fans, which is sorely needed in a time of such uncertainty.

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


LIVE: Josef Leimberg @ Band On The Wall | 07.11.18


A six piece jazz band comes on stage. Most striking is the electric bassist dressed in a half face mask, du-rag and leopard print leggings. Josef Leimberg himself appears to be wearing a blue turban. But they are from California so that can be excepted I suppose. Mr Leimberg is part of the extended West Coast Throwdown, a contemporary of Kamasi Washington et al and someone who has played on very many famous Hip Hop and Soul records.  Someone many people will have heard play but could not name. But he arrives in Manchester as a Jazz bandleader and highly rated horn player.


View this post on Instagram


Peace to @josefleimberg and the Astral Progressions Ensemble. It’s a small world… #astralprogressions

A post shared by Jordan Rodgers (@jordanthetwin1) on

Spiritual Jazz / Jazz funk are mercurial musical forms. Sprawling, life enhancing and difficult to access at times. The disappointingly meagre 40 people in (the 350 capacity) Band On The Wall on a Wednesday night seem to be widely varied in their response. It has to be diffIcult for any band to come out to such a small crowd and still get the energy back to motivate their best performance but it also has to be the name of the game when you make music in a non commercial genre and you are trying to spread the gospel. ‘Astral Progressions’ was such an accomplished modern Jazz album and his role in the recorded output of ‘T Dot’ and the like so significant, that expectations should be high.

In truth, both sets are like pallid musical landscapes, primarily in a languid tempo. The palates being constantly touched at and dabbed by the deft drummer and pianist whose sparse additions serve as flourishes to the dominant and dread-locked saxophonist on the left of the stage. This is occasionally added to by Josef Leimberg‘s clear sharp trumpet runs. In these moments all becomes clear, vital and full of flamboyant life. But these moments are just not often enough and he spends a considerable amount of time with percussion instruments in hand sat on the floor or standing adding light touches to the overall sound. This is not what you might normally expect of a band leader.

In the second set something occurred very early on that sums up the evenings events. The elaborately dressed bassist (mentioned earlier) stepped up to do a very long solo which seemed pretty self indulgent . This came to a very sudden end mid note and without an explanation other than him declaring his hands were cold. He then continued into the next track, which was a gentle rendition taking in the motifs of Vince Guaraldi’s ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ like nothing had happened. Quite odd indeed.

I should make special mention of both the excellent Saxophonist and the lead guitarist both of whom looked older but who played with great skill and delicious control of their respective instruments. They brought a well needed quality and maturity to a quite strange night. Overall I think the low numbers and tepid audience response combined to create an atmosphere that led to stellar musicians playing in a manner that suited the vibe. Stilted.

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


LIVE: Pan Amsterdam @ YES | 23.10.18


Though the crowd was streamlined on the night, support act Blind Mike attacked the show with a no-holds-barred approach. Delivering a high quality barrage of energised jazz-trap. His style effortlessly merging rap, vocal melody and storytelling with some gems of introspective wisdom. All this from a man who seems to be way beyond his years in ability and insight. He was a fitting support act for what was to come.

Pan Amsterdam were initially the subject of much speculation. Before their identities were revealed all that was clear was that there was a definite Jazz musicality, beats for days and a Sheffield producer (Thatmanmonkz) seemingly being name-checked in the lyrics. The delivery of the rhymes was laconic and relaxed with almost a Doom-like cadence. There was also reference to a Jazz musician dying so Pan Am could be born.

So what they would do on stage was pretty intriguing prospect prior to the gig. Held in the beautiful Pink Room of YES with its crisp new sound system. Hi-tech and Lo-fi beats ranging from the Boom Bip ‘Madlib’ vibe to the  loose West Coast Fly-Lo vibe were met with a stream of spoken word.


View this post on Instagram


Check this fella out, Pan Amsterdam. Worth a listen 🤙 #panamsterdam

A post shared by AlisonL (@alisonjlittlewood) on

Just imagine if George Clinton wrote raps inspired rhythmically by nursery rhymes you would be some way there. Each tune eased in mid sentence as Leron guided the audience through what felt like a wholly spontaneous showcase. Every song played out with him masterfully reminding us of his jazz background, with the flawless trumpet solos that turned the audience away from their smartphones and into stunned astonishment .

During the gig Leron and Martian fought through power outs and ugly feedback with the charisma to still bring the funk. Pan Amsterdam have fallen short of being purely a hip hop act and landed somewhere much more interesting in-between that and a unique juxtaposition. Its hard to imagine one component without the other now and the limited material available to the duo right now did not stop them telling their story in vivid cryptic manner . This was the first tour so it had the air of a work in progress but the prospects are very promising based on this performance. Go check the album and  keep your eyes peeled for the new recorded material in 2019.

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


UPCOMING: FREE VIBES x MCR Live | 20.10.18


Now a classic amongst those in the know, Free Vibes is a monthly slot at Band On The Wall that 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 Sabotage and Amazing Radio so of course – it’s our turn.

With such a wide selection of talent across the country it was nigh on impossible to narrow down the amount of acts we had available to us – the choice was no where 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 20th October are London based dream pop-sters Honey Moon. Making shapes with Manchester independent record label Heist Or Hit, the quartet are gracing us with their first Manchester gig and what better a place than the iconic Band On The Wall stage. Sultry dream pop oozes from each track they’ve thus far presented, including their recently released EP ‘Four More From…’ which has been met with adoring praise from fans of the up-and-coming “boys from the big smoke”.

Also on the bill are Manchester five-piece: URF, with their technicolour of female-fronted neo-psychedelic shoegaze. Just two days after, the diversity of this group holds it’s own as they support the one and only Brian Jonestown Massacre on the Sheffield leg of their current tour. Theirs is a sound unlike no other with theatrical vocals and powerful drums juxtaposed against a wave of spiralling guitar and keys, held together by a sturdy bass-line.

Earlier on in the evening are another fiercely female represented act in the form of Écru. Ambient, downtempo, and atmospheric, their sound presents a welcome calm to our Free Vibes evening, presented by the mesmerising vocals of Manchester singer Jade Mannion – a heavyweight amongst the ethereal, acoustic scene.

Last but certainly not least are the North West’s most promising new act, Saint Ivy, who recently made for a phenomenal headline set at Night & Day Cafe with their achingly-indie soundtrack that is sure to capture the attention of the floor each and every time they are presented. 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 👀