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La Mode

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

WORDS BY ALEXIS PANIDIS

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:

FEET

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

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!

LA MODE

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.

DYLAN CARTLIDGE

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

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.

SELF HELP

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.

BLACK MIDI

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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LIVE: Hey Bulldog @ Jimmy’s | 27.10.18

WORDS BY BENJAMIN CASSIDY      PHOTOS BY JOESY LOWESY

Before the Hey Bulldog gig, at Jimmy’s, last Saturday, we chatted with Ben, Matt and Rob, who, collectively, are rock trio Hey Bulldog. We covered all sorts of topics and I managed to find out aspects about the group’s individuals. There was no shortage of banter either, including some cheeky interpreting of questions too, to keep me on my toes. It was as good a way as any to calm those pre-gig nerves, on what was a huge night for this lot. Plus, it’s good fun!

Earlier today I was having one of my little talks with my partner’s eleven-year-old daughter, Lily. She asked me what’s my favourite instrument that I can’t or haven’t played. So, I put it to you.

Ben: Well, I wouldn’t mind having a crack at a big organ.

Rob: Probably a grand piano, if I could learn to use the foot pedals and everything – I’m alright on a keyboard or electric piano, but a real one would be amazing to learn to play fully. That would be amazing! Yeah, grand piano would be mine. One of the reasons to want to live forever is to be able to learn every instrument.

Matt: Saxophone, or trombone. Something from the brass section of an orchestra, that would be cool. I’ve never done it, other than the recorder at school!

Is the name of your band inspired by The Beatles song?

Ben: Yeah, it is (Ben beams proudly), getting it in before anyone else.

Matt: Yeah, we’re all Beatles nuts. When we started playing it wasn’t as well known as some of their other songs. We were called that before the Beatles re-issue stuff came out. Now everyone’s got Spotify, or whatever, it’s listened to loads.

Rob: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it was obscure, but, it wasn’t a hit or anything. We just loved the name. 

Guys, any new releases coming up?

Rob: We’ve just recorded a new single.

Ben: It’s just finishing being mastered now.

Matt: (It’s called) ‘No Future Part 2’.

Ben: We’ve got another single being released around February time too.

Rob: Yeah, we’ll probably collate it, along with some other tracks into an album, next year. We’ve released around four or five singles in the last few years, so, we’ll use some of those and put it with some new stuff, too.

Matt: I’m looking forward to holding a vinyl copy of our album, having pressed our own record. That’ll be very nice.

How do you find the Manchester music scene?

Matt: It’s wonderful. Like a proper community. It didn’t used to be that way, it was quite insular when I first moved from London about ten years or go. It’s great now, everyone knows everyone and there’s a lot of love for one another.

Ben: The bands supporting us tonight are mates, we just met through gigging and chatting to.

Rob: The only kind of rivalry now is the sort you want. If we go and see local groups we know, and, they’re absolutely nailing the night, we want to go out at our next gig and smash it too. That’s positive though, and, inspires you and encourages you.

Matt: We all help each other out, where we can – with rehearsal space and even equipment, etc. We go and see other groups play and they come to see us.

Last one now, then I’ll let you go: Last gig you went to?

Ben: Deja Vega, last night. We all went.

Rob: Before that it was Brian Jones Town Massacre, last Saturday.

Well ahead of the first support act going on, there was a sizeable crowd, downstairs at Jimmy’s. It’s a venue known for quality acts and some of the best band nights around; tonight’s gig proved no exception. After a DJ set from Mike Denton (of Lucid Dream), La Mode were the first live act on the bill. They got things going with a heavy rock sound, the backdrop to a strong, raw vocal from the lead singer, who, thrashed around the stage utterly owning it as their own.

The drums clashed and clapped pulsing rhythms, alongside meaty guitar riffs that ripped the atmosphere open, declaring intent. They were here to make their mark and did exactly that. Far more than just a thud of drums and screaming guitar work, they had a bluesy feel to them too, often slowing down to offer what were well written and equally well delivered love songs, mournful and pained, fused with an electricity that was their unpredictability. After a year long hiatus, they’re back. You can catch La Mode live, in December, when they’ll be the main support for Carnival Club, in The Deaf Institute on December 15th.

 

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Next up were Gardenback. Jangly guitars and a traditional “Madchester” sound base was this group’s modus operandi. They’re a tight outfit and reminiscent of some of Kasabian’s stuff, with their guitar work. That’s not to say they didn’t have uniqueness, though. The vocal harmonies were a defining part of their onstage sound, one they’d honed and gotten down to professional standard. It worked brilliantly on stage, acting as a sort of live “double-tracking” effect.

Gardenback let the songs do the talking and played the type of music that makes people get up and jump around (that’s exactly what happened). On top of their game and with some songs sang back to them by their followers – flattery and appreciation doesn’t come much bigger than that. They played for around half an hour, but, could have gone on with plenty of material and more than enough in the tank.

The main event. Whoops, cheers and a blistering start, by Hey Bulldog. Straight to it. It’s hard to believe that they are a three piece, with the power of the punch they pack into their performances. Drummer (Ben) and bassist (Matt) combine to make a sound that easily filled the bottom floor of Jimmy’s. Rob, (lead guitarist and lead singer) was the lungs and the nerve centre, tearing it up with riffs and lead lines that were electric.

A diverse sound, that fuses elements of 60’s psychedelia with brilliantly creative song building, performed with imagination and a very clear understanding of how to best incorporate technical trickery, to add to their sound. A huge aspect of their sound is their relentless and frantic energy, with Rob dropping to his knees and grinding out solos, Jimmy Hendrix style. The performance was an inspiring one and what Saturday nights are made for. The basement of Jimmy’s was well and truly theirs, and the fan’s now. A real den of sound, made by the group and built upon by the audience, who were having an absolute riot, yelling, clapping and jumping up and down.

At around two thirds of the way into their set, Hey Bulldog seemed to shift gear, again and up the ante. It was as if they were challenging themselves to ensure there was nothing left they’d have to give by the end. That sort of commitment to music, to the fans and to themselves is something special, indeed. It really was an athletic performance and one that showed what this band are capable of. They explode into action, in what appears to be instantaneously, then, hold everyone present in the palms of their hands, by creating sheer emotion by way of vocal and slowed down playing. It was amazing, how they could slow down a moment and keep you in it. Absolute wizardry and astounding artistry, all happening in front of you. As Hey Bulldog reached the end of their set, the silence was deeply felt. They’d made it able to be forgotten what quietness was – there was barely any between songs – the set, around an hour and ten minutes, was non-stop.

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UPCOMING: Sabotage Presents: La Mode, Self Help & Thin Skinned @ The Castle | 29.09.18

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER     ARTWORK BY KANE TOWSEY

Rapidly making a name for themselves in the city, Sabotage have become curators of the music scene alongside the likes of Interior and Strange Days. A recent collaboration with another ignitor for local acts – FREE VIBES – at Band On The Wall presented a showcase for the gig promoter, with varying acts that fulfil their ethos: to exhibit a selection of national talent from every level of a musicians journey.

The last gig the promoter held at Northern Quarter’s The Castle Hotel featured Liverpool’s Wild Fruit Art Collective, fresh-faced Leeds duo Push and Mancunian favourites The Starlight Magic Hour. In a fittingly similar pattern at their next gig on 29th September, Sabotage bring another Manchester band to the headline slot, swaddled by acts lesser known to the city.

Opening act Thin-Skinned hail from Manchester and currently only have one track released to the world. But it’s an atmospheric, ambient indie single that traces each echo with vocals reminiscent of earlier Maccabees tracks. Following up are Oxford-based Self Help, having cultivated a following further down the country, they’re brought to The Castle for their first Manchester set. Regularly featured on BBC Introducing their raucous, scintillating live shows present a spectacle to the eyes and ears if ever there could be one. An original amalgamation of punk/garage/indie, there’s little left to the imagination with this Southern four-piece.

With their first ever headline show, La Mode, step outside of the box with their four-piece rock outfit, that presents a fusion of modern indie and 60’s rock music. A debut EP soon to be announced, the quartet began with brother/sister pair Millie and Calvin Sproston and soon developed into their own collective. There’s a feeling that the whole of Manchester are excited for the comeback of this act and of course, another Sabotage instalment wouldn’t go amiss. How do you get in? Tickets are exclusively available on the door and are £5 each on a first-come-first-served basis – with doors at 7pm, we’ll see you in the queue.

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