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Night & Day

LIVE: The Night & Day 27th Birthday Party

WORDS BY ABI MCREADY          PHOTO BY ALVARO GARDETA

Manchester has one of the most exciting, thriving and unique live music scenes in the UK, and has done for many years. At the heart of this scene is the Northern Quarter, bursting with independent music venues where not a night goes by without some of the newest and most exciting up and coming bands taking to their stages to perform their hearts out for eager crowds at the forefront of the scene. And standing proudly at the beating heart of Manchester’s iconic music scene is Night & Day Café, celebrating its 27th birthday. While bars open and close and open again all around it and phases come and inevitably pass, it has steadfastly remained an integral part of Manchester night life, lending its stage to old names and brand new bands alike, giving everybody an equal chance to be a part of the culture that surrounds it. And on Friday night, this institution celebrated its 27th birthday in the only way it possibly could; with an absolutely stellar line-up, and a big fat party to follow.

 

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photo by @alvarovelazquezphotography

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Perhaps the most colourful –no, the only colourful band to join in the party are Fruit Tones. Their unique sound spans decades and genres but is, above all, a hell of a lot of fun to watch. At its centre is distorted garage rock with catchy hooks and scuzzy vocals with a dash of classic rock n roll thrown in for good measure. Despite their sound being rough around the edges, they’re almost impossibly well-rehearsed and difficult not to dance to. They don’t take themselves too seriously and the fun they’re clearly having on stage flows out into the audience and quickly catches on as the venue fills up.

Next on are Mister Strange who, in an ode to the tight-knit community that is Manchester’s music scene, share a drummer with Fruit Tones, whose arms surely must be getting tired by now. They return to the scene of their first ever gig to celebrate the anniversary of its birth. Though their psych-rock sound is undeniably their own, they’re comparable to titans King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, if they were to undergo a sudden dark makeover. Each song feels relentless and dark and intense and captivating and is the perfect transition from the fun and funky Fruit Tones to the gloomy and foreboding headliner.

 

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@baba_naga @nightanddaycafe last night

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Baba Naga’s set is the highly anticipated end to the night and it’s immediately easy to see why. Everything about them draws you in and captivates your attention, from the intensity of the drums to the rhythmic riffs and effortlessly astounding guitar solos. One song blends almost seamlessly into the next in an ethereal and dreamlike way that may have become unsettling and possibly even boring if each one hadn’t been a journey into the unknown that was too promising not to pay attention to. Murky, trippy visuals swirl in the background throughout the set and compliment the gloom and complexity of the sound perfectly. Their music and its message transcends comprehension at times and is both inexplicably rooted in the very matter of the universe and frustratingly separate from it all at once. It’s the answer to a question which lies just out of reach.

And through it all there lingers a biter sweetness, as Manchester still remembers the life and mourns the loss of Night and Day’s founder Jan Oldenburg. This celebration, and so much more of what happens in the Northern Quarter on a daily basis, would never have been possible if it hadn’t been for the heart and soul that he poured into making the venue and its surrounding area what it is today. His is a legacy that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

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

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LIVE: Pip Blom @ Night & Day

WORDS BY CIERA LITTLEFORD

All the way from Amsterdam, Pip Blom bring a fun, nostalgia-tinged set to the intimate Night & Day Café. Starting solo in 2016, 20-year-old singer and guitarist Pip – the band’s namesake – began making music on her own, before putting together a band comprising of drummer Gini Cameron, Casper van der Lans on bass, and Blom’s very own brother, Tender, on guitar. Now 22, Pip and her band-mates have honed their sound, finding their niche.

The band gel well together, providing their short yet gutsy set a steady, invigorating energy that keeps us captivated throughout. A couple of songs in, the band launch into crowd favourite ‘Hours’, a lo-fi hark back to PJ Harvey’s early albums. Pip Blom, in all of their grunge glory, are reminiscent not only of Harvey, but also The Breeders, who they supported earlier this year.

However, the band’s youth helps to put a completely fresh spin on the indie genre; we all know there’s an abundance of guitar bands out there at the moment, but Blom and her band-mates are so in touch with the current musical landscape that every tune they put out – gathering an ever-growing fan-base here in the UK – is exciting and new.

 

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Pip Blom – my other Dutch faves. Amazing stuff. #pipblom

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This merging of old and new, and the band’s relationship with their instruments and each other, is evident on ‘Come Home’. The rolling drums and jangly guitar riff build in intensity, while Pip quips ‘I’ve lost track of what you think, I don’t mind, I think it’s quite amusing, we both know you’re not that type’ before jumping right into its catchy chorus. It all glues together brilliantly and the momentum never slows.

This youth and enthusiasm for music is translated perfectly on stage – Pip is always smiling, and the band are always exchanging exhilarated glances with each other; even some clothing is removed less than halfway through the set. These rising stars are a band worth seeing, especially if you can catch them now before their inevitable move onto bigger crowds and venues.

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

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LIVE: Barns Courtney @ Night & Day | 07.11.18

WORDS BY ABI MCGREADY       PHOTOS BY ADAM HARRISON

The man behind the noteworthy hit track ‘Glitter & Gold’, Barns Courtney took to Manchester’s Night & Day for a sold-out evening of debauchery. Opening for the main act, Stephanie Cheape takes to the stage and, as the early arrivals in the audience – of which there are a fair few, with more pouring in still – quiet their conversations and start to give her more of their attention the atmosphere changes subtly and a connection is made between singer and audience. This is when her full potential starts to come out and her talent reveals itself.

What we have here is an incredibly gifted girl with a truly breath-taking voice. Her lyrical style draws on the raw and emotional lyrics of early 2000’s pop-punk bands, but in a much more refined and stylish way. With a voice so stunning there’s no need to hide it behind heavy guitars and thunderous drums, so the music takes a back seat to compliment and support her amazing voice and is careful not to overpower it. By the end of the performance her confidence has blossomed and the effect it’s had on the audience is obvious. Anyone paying her their undivided attention is in awe, anyone not doing so is missing out on something special.

By the time the main event is due to begin, the room is fit to burst, it’s blisteringly hot and the audience move and shuffle and fidget under the glowing lights of Night and Day as the heat becomes unbearable and impatience grows. Eyes are fixed on the stage in anticipation of the show that’s about to start. When the room nears its boiling point, both in temperature and anticipation, Barns Courtney bursts out on stage in an explosion of charisma, leather and hair, to be met with a deafening roar of excitement from the sold-out crowd. Barnaby George Courtney to his Mum (probably) looks like he could have walked here today from 1980’s California just as easily as he fits into to modern-day Manchester and, before he’s even uttered a single word, has the whole room enthralled by his presence.

Despite opening with two brand new songs from an unreleased record, the genesis of his set is met with no shortage of energy and enthusiasm from the audience, whose response to both tracks gave the impression that they were lifelong fans. As the show storms on, sweat drips from every pore of every member of his band – as well as the audience – and soaks the walls and fills the air, making it hard to breathe but despite the temperature’s best efforts, the discomfort of a little (a lot of) sweat does absolutely nothing to dampen the mood of anyone in the room, either on stage or off.

Clearly a fan favourite, ‘Glitter & Gold’ has barely started before the audience recognise it and start bellowing the lyrics back. Barely a hand isn’t in the air, barely a foot not tapping. Surely not a single person not enjoying themselves. Each of Courtney’s songs as powerful as the last, they’re an ode to the power and exuberance of youth, and a fight song against anyone who would try and drag him from it. Both sound and singer are absolutely bursting with swagger, the small stage barely enough to contain them.

Though this is, on the surface, indie-rock, there’s no shortage of layers to be peeled back as the set powers on, anthem after anthem. His full force comes out in the form of belters such as ‘Champion’ and ‘Fire’ while there’s a softer, subtly psychedelic edge to ‘Golden Dandelions’ and a deeper, more intensely raw and vulnerable side shown in ‘Little Boy’. Courtney’s voice adapts to the mood of each song effortlessly, flowing from powerful and anthemic to soft and almost weary, his performance is moving and Courtney himself, is a force to be reckoned with.

As the set draws to its close in what feels like the blink of an eye – surely it hasn’t been an hour already – Courtney wanders down from the stage and wades through the audience to stand in the centre of the room. Kneeling at his command, the crowd surrounds him in a scene which, from the outside, must look almost biblical. At his second command, every person in the room, near exhausted from the heat and the amount of energy it takes to keep up with a Barns Courtney performance, jump to their feet and bounce with him as he bellows out the end to the last song, surrounded by a wall of fans so thick he becomes almost invisible, lost in a tangle of waving limbs and pumping fists. There’s no need for an encore. Nothing’s going to top that.

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

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COMMENT: The New Wave Of Psychedelia

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER       PHOTOS BY THROUGH THE EYES OF RUBY

The first album to define its own contents as psychedelic was the debut album by Texas garage rockers The 13th Floor Elevators, in October 1966 (The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators). Within a year, psychedelia had exploded across the music scene like a giant paint bomb, turning everything from monochrome to technicolour almost overnight and inspiring 1967’s epochal Summer of Love. The reverberations of the scene staked out in the Summer Of Love, are continually making waves in the pool of new musicians.

Four years since the first one, Manchester Psych Festival is now a fully fledged institution. With a selection of gigs promoted across the city each month under their moniker, it’s surpassed itself as a festival. Going beyond the boundaries of art and music the festival brings a like-minded community together in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Psychedelia is making a re-imergence into the scene, leaking through the dusky cracks of post-punk and indie-rock and oozing into the forefront of the music scene.

Slow Knife at Manchester Psych Festival 2018

As one of the most prominent festivals in Manchester with a massive influence on the music scene, Manchester Psych Fest is a clearly dedicated to the cause. Taking over 4 dedicated venues, the festival embraces the new and unique. Recently, the festival saw it’s 6th edition and of course, we couldn’t miss it. Starting early, Slow Knife scoop up the crowd and place them on a level playing field: knowing exactly where the day is headed. Saxophone, keys and strings at the ready, their post-punk sound makes for an entertaining first viewing for the day. Spoken word at it’s greatest in ‘Nuke The Moon’ echoes through the Soup Kitchen basement and out through the door. All hail the knife. This is what psychedelia is about.

A quick switch over to Night & Day Cafe and we’re with MOLD for their well-anticipated afternoon slot. The five piece bring a theatrical onslaught to the stage, equipped with face paint and satirical smiles. The psych genre is set to take hold of the scene and is breathing deeply through bands like MOLD that set the stage alight and stand for something new.

MOLD at Manchester Psych Festival 2018

But what exactly is psychedelia? The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as “music, culture or art based on the experiences produced by psychedelic drugs” which is a little reductive for such a grand institution. LSD might have been the original inspiration, but it doesn’t explain why psychedelic music is still being produced and enjoyed by people who’ve never dropped acid in their lives. Psychedelia is appealingly vague and open-ended – a merger of philosophies, colours and styles all happening at once. It’s about opening your mind to the myriad possibilities that we’re met with each and everyday. It’s about reconnecting branching out, seeing clearly and letting go. It’s exciting, but also a little bit scary. Psychedelia isn’t a destination; it’s all about the journey.

The type of bands that are connected with this new unearthly scene of new age psychedelics are the type that set apart from the ordinary and bring a whole new offering to the table – whilst simultaneously not giving a shit about what the rabble think. With this year’s Psych Fest as an example, it’s not just a simple one-trick-pony movement. The festival comprises one day of such musicians – with artwork featured by local artists who are set to break the mould – and sounds from guitar-bass-drums outfits stretching the possibilities of the standard rock band set-up to electronic artists. There are so many acts that it raises the question: is all music, if it’s doing its job right (experimenting, blowing minds), psychedelic?

Madonnatron at Manchester Psych Festival 2018

The classic music of the psychedelic heyday was rooted in social opposition, a countercultural vibe that resonated with baby boomers, students and protesters. The music was not exclusively political or related to your everyday stoner, but in a climate of diverging identity, these new sounds flourished hand-in-hand with the changing landscape. Evolving through the present day, psychedelic music and social commentary are mutually exclusive. With politics a common topic, the psych collective consciousness seem to weigh on the side of identity and social preservation.

It’s been a long, strange trip for the genre that came to fruition through various different routes, starting with the whir and buzz of the 60s and 70s and not showing any sign of stopping, having become embodied by a myriad of current acts like Madonnatron, Yassassin and Meatraffle. For the remainder of Psych Fest, we caught the likes of the Wytches, Baba Naga, The Cosmics, Holy and Josefin Öhrn, each with their own unique take on the psychedelic movement but with a refreshingly new twist. Psychedelia is moving but at it’s own pace, in a strong, independent movement that’s reaching the nook and cranny of each and every musical alliance – whether you like it or not.

Meatraffle at Manchester Psych Festival 2018

Already keen to go to the festival next year? Keep up to date with the latest news about Manchester Psych Festival 2019 over on their Facebook page 🌀

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UPCOMING: Dexys Midnight Runners’ Kevin Rowland
@ Night & Day

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Fast becoming legendary on the Mancunian nightclub scene, Let’s Make This Precious has seen a roster of talent provide DJ support for the night. Including the likes of Cabbage, The Orielles and the man himself Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners – the original team behind illustrious track ‘Come On Eileen’. Never one to shy from a stage, Rowland is making another appearance for LMTP on Friday 7th September at Northern Quarter’s Night & Day Cafe.

Besides the obvious headline character, this isn’t just any standard DJ set. Kevin steps out of the box from your regular, modern Spotify-playlist DJs and sings the vocals of the tracks that he plays. If his last set at the club night is anything to go by, the man of the hour will likely be front and centre on the stage of Night & Day, eager to please his audience.

After their glory days, Dexys made a return in 2016 with hit album ‘Let the Record Show’. Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul is a project that Rowland says he wanted to do in 1984, but the band unfortunately split before he got the chance. It’s a collection of Irish songs that have been reimagined alongside other ‘selected compositions’ that the band have chosen. The group, which now comprises of Kevin Rowland, Lucy Morgan and Sean Read, have gone to great lengths to explain that the album is not a stop gap. It is to be considered alongside the rest of the band’s material; as a new chapter added to their cannon.

Expect a fanfare, disco ball and soul-filled evening, taking Night & Day into the forefront of your Friday evening plans. Dexys days are never over and disco never sleeps.

Ready to boogie? Find out more on the event page 🕺

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glasshertzz Her's

Her’s Photograph by Glasshertzz

INTERVIEW: Her’s @ Night & Day Cafe

Rumour has it, it takes two to tango. But it also takes two to undoubtedly secure your summer playlist some 5/6 months in advance. Her’s are the latest group set to spearhead the music scene forward, beyond dusky days of scuzzy indie rock and into a glittering dream pop fantasia. Amongst bands such as King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, The Orielles and HMLTD, there is a new sense of fun that’s taken ahold of music recently, with a he-who-dares-wins attitude & a slick of fluro pink.

The pair played their first ever live gig in Manchester, at Oldham Street’s The Castle Hotel as support for Jawz – “a little Jawz not the big JAWS” – skip ahead a year or so and they’re just a bit further down the street at the infamous Night & Day Cafe, now headlining. Back to The Castle. Their first take to a stage set was a pacing calamity of four songs with the boys having booked the gig without having yet written any tracks, as a sort of motivator to get their gears going. Though one of those first tracks happened to be Marcel, the dusky and incredibly romantic – with a heart-line of surf-pop – three-minute tale of love loss (perhaps poured out by a man named Marcel, but we are none the wiser) which has become a key member of their collection of dreamy pop tracks.

Back to Night & Day’s sombre, hard-worn, basement green-room. Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading met at the Paul McCartney led acclaimed Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) whilst both studying a BA (Hons) in Music and, through divine intervention, miraculously had the exact same timetable. The pair recall frequently clocking each other and apprehensively nodding until they were soon pulled together coincidentally playing in the same bands through their friend Brad Mullins, drummer of Trudy and the Romance. The duo soon noticed that they are indeed very like-minded individuals, with a clearly similar outlook as summarised by Audun: “in music university you’re surrounded by people who take it very seriously which was pretty daunting. I’ve always been very passionate about music but not in such a strict technical way. I just like making nice songs and creating a nice vibe really.” Thankfully their mindsets are thus alike and the pair have joined forces to make “nice songs for nice people.” Their university years brought a change to their sound, moulded by way of the development of their studies and the emergence of new acts and artists that acquired merit on their radar. “We went through a heavy stage of The Beatles.” mentions Stephen, with Audun quipping about the natural driving force within Liverpool: “you go to sleep and think of The Beatles, you wake up and think of The Beatles.”

If only this normality belonged to more than fantasy

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When it comes to current acts, their preference falls upon the likes of the eclectic Ariel Pink and Sean Nicholas Savage, amongst others. Throughout their already remarkably heavy-ladened tour schedules, they’ve found favourites in those they’ve accompanied, such as Kagoule, Wild Nothing, Dutch Uncles and London-based band Happyness – “not an obvious fit for us at first but that was a really good, loud and goofy tour.” Beyond their similar music and life tastes, the pair are quite mismatched in terms of their hometown, which equally don’t seem to conjure up their glistening dream-pop theme. Stephen is from Barrow-In-Furness, known for “building submarines. Everyone builds submarines” and Audun is from Kristansands in southern Norway known apparently for Julius; a famous monkey that calls the local zoo his home and even has a bread named after him. A world away from their hometown’s perhaps not-so sunny reality, Her’s have a sound that they describe as dreamy, unpretentious and – in the context of a fruit – either a mango or a pineapple; “the hard exterior with a bright, juicy middle” says Audun, which Stephen chases up with “if it were a drink, I’d probably say Fanta Fruit Twist.”

👋🏻 @thatbandofhers at Hello 2018 @theoldbluelast last month

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In terms of their sound and overall persona, the choice to have two lead men and a drum machine instead of a drummer seems to have been a completely natural fit. A skilled drummer, when it came to crunch time for their first gig, Stephen came equipped with a drum machine so it was easy to slot amongst their scarcely practiced, short set-list, performed by a similarly minded pair; “We naturally like hanging out as just two people, so it’s easier to write music as two people and add the little drum machine.” Though, when it comes to hardened music fans favouring a more traditional set-up, there isn’t often a favour for technology; “we often get asked, ‘did the drummer not show up?’ which is pretty ridiculous because we can do so many more elaborate sounds with a drum machine, in terms of our music.” Other than this minor mention, Her’s are favoured by all that seem to encounter them.

Having performed with many, and in front of a building fan base that only seems to grow bigger by the day, the surf-pop pair are going from strength to strength with upcoming gigs as far as Paris with Boy Pablo & Bangkok with Beach Fossils, alongside their own headline tour which kick starts a little more close to home at Fulford Arms in York on Thursday 12th April. Festival-wise, Her’s are stepping in at Live At Leeds and Great Escape festival, with promises of a debut album coming out this year. With one of the pair living on the top floor and the other living on the bottom floor of the exact same Liverpudlian apartment block, life ahead for the duo seems idyllic, particularly as it’s met with a packed-out Night & Day and an audience that appears to know the words to every single one of their tracks. The future is bright for Her’s and we can’t wait to experience it.

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