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


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:


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 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!


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.


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 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.


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.


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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Beers were flowing, Christmas hats were being worn and good times were had. The crowd was engaged and excited, there was a general feel, as there always is in December, that everyone was in the party spirit – it is the most wonderful time of the year after all.

Cave Girl is first on, bringing their psychedelic, indie-glam vibes to Jimmy’s. Swirling, all-encompassing guitar riffs coupled with prominent drums and cool snarling vocals. Their debut self-titled single is out now and is well worth a listen. They’ve nailed their sound, it’s familiar enough to be immediately on board with and fresh enough to feel new.

Spilt were next up, Runcorn grunge/psychedelia fusion, they’ve recently supported MCR Live favourite, Halifax band, The Orielles. They’ve also played with iconic LA surf rock four-piece, FIDLAR. Singer Mo brings raw onstage energy and an impressive presence. With heavy, dirty guitar riffs, they’ve established themselves as an exciting new band. They’ve already released their scuzzy singles onto their SoundCloud and live, they were truly captivating.

Headliners, Good Foxy appears to have taken influence from the halcyon rock of the ’70s with obvious and welcomed nods to The Doors and Led Zeppelin. Hailing from Clitheroe, they brought big retro guitar riffs to the northern quarter. Atmospheric and almost dreamy, their set feels kind of like being on an acid trip, in the best way possible. They’re a little bit bluesy, a little bit psychedelic and a lot of fun. Their 2015 self-titled album is in desperate need of a follow-up and we’re beyond excited to see what they do next.

The night was a rousing and apt send-off for Sabotage’s last gig of the year. Their next gig will be in February at The Castle Hotel with Deja Vega, Psyence and Deh – Yey. See you in the queue.

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


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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Dylan Cartlidge, Slowhandclap,
Scruffy Bear, Octopus | 29.08.18


Following on from the success of the debut Sabotage Festival back in April, the gig promoter has continued to conquer Manchester with another enviable lineup. Wednesday 29th August was a partnership with Free Vibes – another promoter set to ignite new artists. Now a classic amongst those in the know, FV 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.

Free Vibes x Sabotage is an ideal pairing that brought together an amalgamation of likeminded folk interested in the movements of the new waves in music. Setting the scene on the evening were self-proclaimed ‘Tentacle Rock’ act Octopus with their infectious shoe gazer sound that oozes a level of experience beyond their years. Britpop at it’s finest and then some, Octopus welcomed the fast-filling main room of Band On The Wall with open arms.

Following on and keeping up the pace – if not heightening it – psychedelia hits and Scruffy Bear appear. Theirs is a sound which is equally transcendent of their years but in a different manner. It’s the melodies themselves, the riffs and hooks with their psychedelic haze. Blues and psych merge together entangled in a rock n roll shell, equipped with a mesmerising stage presence that can’t not catch your attention.

Bringing the outright noise are SlowHandClap poised and ready to go just ahead of the headliner. If you’re fortunate enough to have seen them yourself, you’ll know they’re not a band to be reckoned with. Raw energy and passion erupts from the trio for a mystifying performance reminiscent of fuzzy early Nirvana gig videos. If you’re a Dinosaur Jr fan, keep your finger on the pulse with SlowHandClap – you’re in for a treat.

Last but certainly never least, alternative rapper Dylan Cartildge hosts as the headliner. He’s making waves in his field, with Huw Stephens a notable fan, as well as having had the famed musician Jamie T accompany him on hit track ‘Up & Upside Down’. Notably Dylan is a multiple instrument player – paired with his charismatic stage presence it makes for a live set that hums with an easy solace. His vocals echo, along with that of his backing singer, to a completely entertained Band On The Wall that’s singing every word back to him. He’s just done Reading and Leeds and you can be sure there’ll be no stopping him soon.

Want to see more? You’re in luck. The next Sabotage curated gig takes place at The Castle Hotel on Oldham Street, Saturday 29th September. It’ll be the first headline set from Manchester favourites La Mode, hot off the heels of their recent EP release which fuses modern indie with 60s rock in an eclectic manner that’s not often found. Oxford-based Self Help present their twist of garage and punk that cuts an original figure, whilst the fresh and fledgling Thin-Skinned who only have one track released are set to introduce themselves. Tickets are only available on the door and at just £5 a pop, we’ll meet you at The Castle.


PREVIEW: Sabotage Festival

Festival season is just over the horizon and the glitter is already crushed into your eyes, with mattered hair tucked into that old sweatshirt. Before the calamity of the Summer, there are metropolitan festivals and all-dayers to wet the appetite and get the feet pacing. With the likes of Stay Fresh Fest, When In Manchester and TWH All-Dayer, Manchester isn’t short of in-depth music sessions popping up around the city. The newest to the flock is Sabotage, an alternative rock festival with it’s debut on 28th April 2018. The day-long event promises to showcase the latest talent from across the country at Soup Kitchen and Night & Day Cafe, with the likes of Catholic Action, Good Foxy, and more intriguingly fresh acts.

Ahead of the main event and conjuring up the idea that Sabotage won’t be a once-a-year-and-that’s-all-folks occasion, was an evening at The Castle Hotel. If this warm-up/practice/dress rehearsal is anything to go by, Sabotage won’t be anything short of outstanding. The dusky somber setting of The Castle often makes for a gig like none before, with the high, intricate ceilings of a room that you could easily just walk past and not notice. First to the stage were Leeds-based duo: Push. With a hint of inspiration from Drenge, their raw sound oozes straight out of Yorkshire and can be imagined in Huddersfield’s Parish or Leed’s Oporto, with a hive of activity supporting the not-just-another-indie-band twosome. Think of Weirds and Wet Nuns and you’re there. Still young and still set to make their own mark, the pair seem keen to get going and keen to please outside of their York-heavy stumping ground for introductory gigs.

Chasing the pair and not letting down the alt-rock laden evening were the unapologetically scouse rascals, Wild Fruit Art Collective. Airing out their anarchic, divergent psych-rock with self-deprecating laughs and oh-so-rock-n-roll swigs of a wine bottle. The Liverpool band have all the makings of something great, with that hint of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard stirred in with the Sleaford Mods. But, there’s a subtle feeling that they’re not quite there yet, they’ve not hit their pick and not hit the nail on the head. Time will tell whether this rowdy gang will appreciate that they’re good at their craft but need to refine the edges. Headlining the night were Manchester’s own: The Starlight Magic Hour. Their sets each unanimously surpass the last, with growling, deep vocals and an orchestral-like amount of instruments, it’s clear that they’ve renovated their sound in the past year or so they’ve been active and have hit the pinnacle of a spawning band.


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Although this wasn’t one of their larger sets, such as their recent voyage to London’s infamous 100 Club – which saw them play alongside Phobophobes – this was an incredible set all the same. The Castle makes for the perfect alter to the rising success of the alt-rock six-piece, built upon comradery and set to go further afield in achieving their plans for collective-like dimensions. If this warm-up was anything to go by, the main event will be an eclectic occurrence of unmissable proportions. The lineup speaks for itself, with a hive of current alt-rock bands including Glaswegian matriarchs of indie rock who count Rita Ora and The Libertines as fans: Catholic Action alongside Bloody Knees, Husky Loops and our own The Starlight Magic Hour, as well as many more.

Tickets are available for just £13, but you’d best act quickly as Tier 1 and 2 have now sold out – HERE