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Mealtime

LIVE: Mealtime @ YES

WORDS BY FELICITY DELL

Opening the night were the two-piece Darcie, made up of the multi-talented Zigi and Tom. Throughout their gig, I felt vibes hailing from all corners of the musical world, with jazzy piano too ‘synthy’ atmospheric tones that resembled that of Jack Garratt. Both members had angelic singing voices with even Tom hitting some of the high notes.

As is expected from a two piece there is much involvement from technology and the absence of a drummer made way for a drumming machine. Despite inevitable technical issues throughout the show, the duo brought an air of humanity in the way that they made the issues a running gag. This was much to the audiences liking and was responded to with laughter from around the now filling YES Basement. In the final song, I was surprised by the choice of ending, a slow and emotional ballad. However, despite this choice, it paid off, the song in itself was phenomenal and really captured the essence of the band. Their best song was undoubtedly the brilliantly titled How Was She, according to Zigi this song was written about a guy who broke her heart and it really shows, the hard-hitting vocals and the head bopping beat, accompanied with chilling synthesisers and piano.

Up next are the Irish trio Wyvern Lingo, clad in orange they look ready to take on the world; and their music is a testament to that. From their first song, it was clear to see the duo were here to impress, the crowd was singing and chanting along. Mixing powerful women, jazzy bass, technical drums, and catchy drums, what could be better? About halfway through the set, the trio opted to add a cover to their set- in the way of an emotional hit by no one other than Drake. If they hadn’t already they now had the whole crowd on their front, pushing to stage. They announced their final song which was met with a roar of disappointment followed shortly eager chants for more songs. Again, once their set had concluded the crowd cheered-similarly to watching an arena band.

Manc charm, tangled wires and 6 members on a tiny stage. Makes for a fantastic set. The headlines were the elegantly named Mealtime. A band not short of members or drum machines, however unlike some bands every member is a pivotal part of the set, switching (if not difficulty) around the stage to give every member the limelight. ‘Start a synth band they said’, ‘6 members they said’, ‘drum machines they said’ put by the lead singer of the eclectically mixed 6-piece.

The entanglement of wires did become the butt of jokes throughout the set (to the joy of everyone in the room) however it was the entanglement of traditional Manchester vibes and futuristic ‘disco like’ sounds that was most prominent and gripping. Despite Mealtime being a relatively new band on the scene, the room was packed with fans whom of which sang along and occasionally shouted words of encouragement to the overjoyed group. When the band ended it was just too soon for the audience whom of which shouted and began chanting ‘one more song’ but unfortunately it was over. Mealtime had a profound effect on both me and the whole audience and it will be no surprise if they continually crop up on posters all around Manchester.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH: Mealtime

WORDS: HANNAH TINKER     PHOTOS: MANC WANDERER

Mealtime are the Manchester-based six-piece splashing a cotton candy coloured hue on to the grimy indie scene. With slots in the city’s smaller venues now under their belt, they’re soon taking to YES’ Pink Room for a full-frontal headline shake-up with Wyvern Lingo and Darcie, for the masters of promotion: DHP. Of course, ahead of this breakthrough, we wanted to sit down with the Mealtime organism. There were no shaking, quivering nerves here, pleased with themselves and humbled by the opportunity, Mealtime are keen to take the stage.

 

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Having started its days as Sam Craighan’s solo project, Mealtime is now a completely harmonious entity consisting of six creative individuals who each understand Sam’s process. “It happened naturally! I’m very lucky to have been surrounded by five songwriters and producers. The creative process is 100% egalitarian now.” They wanted to be different from the norm, something new in a sea of whining, politically-orientated singer-songwriters and even in each of their sets Mealtime switches it up. A different member plays a different instrument for each track (bar Sam and Georgia who generally tend to stick to the lead vocal roles), further switching up the stereotype.  

Of course, their sound is different too. Inspired by noughties pop and R&B their sound is not the colloquial, indie anthems, instead, theirs is a robust synth-boosted indie-pop set that catches your attention throughout. Backed up by impressive visuals, you need just take one look at their social media platforms and you can see that Mealtime are ever the professionals. Currently, it’s brightly coloured fruits against similar coloured backdrops. “We’re tongue in cheek, but we don’t want a gimmick. We’re constantly evolving.”

A headline slot at one of Manchester’s most highly admired stages is quite the feat for Mealtime – or any band for that matter – during their early days. We’re told that they’ve acquired quite the back catalog now, having worked on their setlist and technique for the past 6 months, compared to the two tracks they currently have on music platforms. Sam expresses their keenness to get on the stage later this month: “We’ve been locked away, crafting it, and we really looking forward to playing it live.”

If you look at it technically, they’re supporting act at YES – Wyvern Lingo have a larger fanbase and have built up more gigs under their title. But realistically, Wyvern Lingo is little known in Manchester compared to their native Ireland, whereas “although [Mealtime] is a new project, we’re all seasoned musicians and Manchester is where we’re based. But we’d love to support them in Ireland given half the chance.” Coming up post-YES, Mealtime are releasing new music and also have festival features too (but they’re all very hush-hush at the moment) whilst they plan to present themselves as more defined, more polished and “distinctly Mealtime.”

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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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