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the starlight magic hour

EXCLUSIVE: MOLD – ‘The Death Suite’ EP

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER        PHOTOS BY THROUGH THE EYES OF RUBY

Fighting the good fight for a scene often misunderstood, MOLD present their new offering with EP ‘The Death Suite’. Due to be released Friday 5th October on a luxurious white vinyl, we’re happy to share with you an exclusive MCR Live preview of what’s to come from the radical renegades of Manchester’s blossoming music network. Tempted? Hit the link below and be engulfed by MOLD with ‘Apocalypse A – Go – Go’:

Featuring three tracks, the EP presents their politically minded manner, complete with maddening gyrations of guitar, bass, drums and hallowed, manic vocals from both frontmen. The collection of tracks, in particular the opener ‘Sterilise The Nation’ – or even perhaps anything by the act – gives the impression that Alex DeLarge is alive and functioning through the guise of MOLD, as their frenzied lyrics whir about a dystopian future. Menacing words speak of a daunting prospect where the megalomaniacs win.

“MOLD IS AN ABSURDIST REACTION TO THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
IN NATURE, IN YOUR KITCHEN, IN POLITICS, IN GUITAR MUSIC,
MOLD ONLY GROWS WHEN THINGS ARE STALE AND START TO ROT”

A growing collective, the act derive inspiration from The Fat White Family but with an artistic, masterful edge with aspirations to have a fleet of MOLD instrumentalists at their beck and call. In celebration of the eagerly anticipated EP that highlights a clear future for MOLD, they’ve enlisted comrades to join them at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen Saturday 6th October, under their gig promoter form: DENTCHA. The lineup incorporates a swarm of acts that have a footing in the DIY scene, including Slow Knife, The Starlight Magic Hour and Inland Taipan amongst others. With tickets at just £5 online and £7 on the door, where exactly can you go wrong? Support the scene and let MOLD swallow you whole.

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

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PREVIEW: Mold & POSA @ Fuel

What’s better than one DIY promoter? We’re about to tell you. This August sees the union of TWO like-minded event organisers Dentcha and Do Your Best presenting a UK tour to remember, with each date promising a concoction of aesthetically-moulded events in a gig-swap manner. Captioned “music to lose your wallet to”, the five-date tour will see the experimental Manchester-based outfit Mold and London-based POSA at the helm, with gigs and local supports across dates in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton before finishing at Liverpool’s notorious The Jacaranda Club.

POSA taken by Through The Eyes Of Ruby

Speaking of their promotional network, Dentcha founder Shane Dickinson has mentioned that they’re setting their sights high: “We want to open up a network of promoters that actually have a passion for it – rather than just money-grabbers.” With talks with Do Your Best now in fruition, there are further plans to spread their DIY ethos & movement across Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool (and pretty much anywhere else that will take them from there). We have every faith that – hopefully – their movement will catch on, and gone will be the days of “they don’t have the right image for this lineup/venue/festival” *delete as appropriate*.

Mold taken by Through The Eyes Of Ruby

For the Manchester leg of the tour Mold and POSA take to Withington’s Fuel Cafe Bar with comrades The Starlight Magic Hour, with more acts yet to be announced ahead of the date. One thing that has been important for both promoters is securing the right booking on their unique lineups – each act captures an air of something new about them; something unheard of, something unearthly.

Having been in attendance at one of Dentcha’s previous events, there’s a clear artistic influence as music seems to be just one component to the running of the night. Dentcha’s synonymous Chattering teeth and Bogzart‘s one-eyed creatures have been strewn across their (so far) three events. Take the modestly sized – yet feverishly keen – Fuel, and picture Mold’s slurring vocals with faces plastered in garish makeup. Then add POSA’s erratic, dysfunctional/functional punk-performance and top off with the unapologetically chaotic-lure of The Starlight Magic Hour, and you have the Saturday 4th August’s Northern installment of the Dentcha x Do Your Best collaboration. It’s going to be pretty nuts, and we’re quite sure you won’t have been to anything quite like it.

For a feast of the mind, get your tickets HERE

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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

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Starlight Magic Hour

The Starlight Magic Hour – Michael Cunningham (centre) and Dan Caldwell (right), photograph by Through The Eyes Of Ruby

IN CONVERSATION WITH: The Starlight Magic Hour

There’s a lot in a name. The Starlight Magic Hour conjures up the idea of the peculiar kid in class with the double-barrel surname, a lust for bigger spaces and even wilder daydreams. Watching this team on stage only pushes that idea further – the (currently) six-piece boast something new and unapologetically chaotic which grabs at the idea that you’re the fly on the wall of a overtly-friendly madhouse. “We’re in a band with kind, loving people. Opposite to the music we make and the image we perceive.” Michael Cunningham, Elliot Roche, Dan Caldwell, Mike Hughes, Mark Javan and Oliver Harrison are the mad men in question with the Mark E Smith quirk, twisted with a fresh, topical guise forged from friendship.

Front-man/pastor/preacher Michael and guitarist Elliot met at the age of seventeen before a few loops had been spun, with Michael recalling the first time he met Oliver whilst walking his dog past “that corner by Afflecks Palace. We started talking about bands and then I played electric for his (band) and then I quit”. Fortunately, Oliver soon followed suit and the founding fathers of TSMH were born. A medley of different musicians have entered the Starlit world and tried to reach the other side. Dan had only recently put together Mold when upon hearing a minute of the Hour before joining the guys at a practice on guitar & vocals but just as a fill-in-the-blanks space to cover the missing edges. Six months then turned into a year, which saw Elliot, Michael and Dan becoming housemates. This soon followed up with the addition of Mark on guitar; “when Mark came in it was our Christiano Ronaldo transfer, the eighty million pound transfer” and Mike on drums “then Virgil Van Dyke comes in here to save the defence.” Brothers in arms are often drawn together and the fateful Starlight meetings thankfully brought an easy amicable group together. “We’re all more like friends than anything and, whenever we play, the music’s not secondary but it doesn’t feel like just a band – it feels like family.”

Dan Caldwell (left) and Mark Javan (right), photograph by Through The Eyes Of Ruby

Not what you thought you’d hear? You wouldn’t be shoved kicked and booted for thinking that Starlight live up to their raw, turbulent, stage presence but as pointed out by the group: “the more aggressive and transgressive the music is, often the calmer the musician is.” When you hear the appreciative, admirable quips about one another you see the ethos that runs through The Starlight Magic Hour. An ethos beyond the classic ‘music’s-my-life-n-I’ll-deck-u-if-u-stop-that’ ideology of a multitude of musicians vicariously trying to live the ‘rock’n’roll’ lifestyle.

Mike Hughes, photograph by Through The Eyes Of Ruby

The Starlight family is growing and spreading even further – much like Drastic Decline label-mates Mold – the band are putting on gigs with Dentcha & their own outfit TSMH Promotions, having already put on three superb shows with the likes of Locean, Aldous RH and LICE in late 2017. More recently came the launch of their debut single under the guidance of So Young Magazine, which saw the grand introduction of the band through ‘I am the Swan to your Song (Kiera’s song)‘ at London venue ‘The Five Bells’, produced by the talented Margo Broom at Hermitage Works Studios. Looking closer to home (though there is some Northern border being tread) the band have filled a slot amongst the much-hailed lineup of Manchester’s Sabotage Festival, as well as the March warm up gig. The enchantingly and somewhat overwhelmingly ideal outcome/end game for The Starlight Magic Hour is to bring the light and love back to music: “an orchestra, full drum section – everything. No more anti-everything. The end would be putting on big productions – like an extravaganza – something more than being punk and being cool.” But in present climates, the inspiration comes from the mavericks around them, including LICE, H0nkies and the recent success of wild Starlight friends; shame.

Now, the place-mats are laid, the cogs have been set in motion and there are already a whole host of tracks for the band to pluck from their ever growing back catalogue. There are no set roles though – a band with two guitarists, a violinist and two lead singers aren’t apt to playing by the rules. “There’s no set songwriter, it’s an amalgamation of the six of us.” Despite being based in Manchester, they’ve currently got a heavy-focused showcase in London – one show being their upcoming support slot for Phobophobes at the notorious 100 Club – but by no means is this a shun to their hometown. “London’s been kind to us and hasn’t had any pre-conceived idea about TSMH whereas in Manchester there seems to be one.” That shouldn’t be being said. Preconception and whispers are the spikes that will make the music industry meet it’s demise. We’re here for the music.

Elliot Roche (Top) and Oliver Harrison (Bottom), photographs by Through The Eyes Of Ruby

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Yassassin

Review: The White Hotel presents: An All Day Ordeal

The raves and parties our city has seen are long thought to have died out. With Sankeys sticky dance-floors having moved to Ibiza and the Haçienda now a modern block of apartments, just a stone’s throw away from Deansgate Locks – it’d be easy to think that perhaps we’ve met our match. Perhaps Manchester’s history of psychedelic, never-ending parties is over? This isn’t true. Although we have a different Manchester scene now, we have one all the same. What we have now might not be the classics of the past but instead we have made way for: Canal Street’s endless frivolity; Northern Quarter’s hidden discos; boisterous student hub spots; Warehouse Project; Hidden; Victoria Warehouse; The White Hotel. The latter is one of our newest warehouse venues and home to a building fame for secret sets and underground artist showcases, brought to us by the latest in a new breed of promoter. These new support units – such as Now Wave and Hey! Manchester – aim to open Manchester up once more as the hub of the North for musical talent. Amongst these is Interior which, having worked together with The White Hotel, presented the first TWH festival: An All Day Ordeal.

There were whispers of a secret set from ‘special guests’ as well as a list of the latest emerging and unmissable acts including Leeds-based Autobahn who brought a Joy Division-esque Gothic twist of punk to their early morning (2am) set when feet and heads were loosened from the evening’s activities. Preludes to them were USA Nails with a heightened and provoking punk rock set, the essence of which felt expertly un-planned but resulted in a hauntingly brilliant 1am set to push those who dwindled after the excitement of our special guests. As for the special guests themselves, none other than one of post-punks most known current contenders were announced on the day of the event: Cabbage. With the atmosphere building up to the midnight set, there were high hopes for the main event. Any dash of doubt was soon wavered as, without drummer nor bassist, Cabbage were still the show-stopping act that they are known to be and as soon as word got out that the trio (formerly quintet) equipped with a drum machine were playing, I overheard rumours of friends now keen to attend The White Hotel’s notorious event.

Divide and conquer. A pared down @cabbage_band celebrate the witching hour.

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Prior to this, Phobophobes took to the stage with the entanglement of guitars and snarling frontman – their tracks astounded and helped in continuing the excitement of the night. There may have a trickle of a thought that there wasn’t a slight sense of girl power on the night but any thought of this type was blasted as soon as Yassassin headlined their slot. With tactfully coordinated outfits and an un-apologetically punk sound, their performances continue to amaze and even brought support from their friends and counterparts PINS who were seen amongst the audience. You might not have attended but it would be surprising if you didn’t hear the raw punk vibe brought by The Starlight Magic Hour.

On at 9pm, the six-piece are like a band of brothers, each mutually supporting one another and creating a raucous atmosphere brought together by the anthemic presence of their frontman of whom was backed by violinist, pacing drums and thick, deep backing vocals. Consisting of members of the more recently formed PhobophobesMeatraffle were one of the earlier acts but by no means did this make them any less brilliant. Their other-worldly take on a post-punk psychedelic mixture  has allowed them to be called “one of the greatest bands of our time” by Fat White Family. Earlier still (and presenting the evening ahead) were Yorkshire-based Drahla whose minimal punk sound blasted any idea that the other side of the Pennines is tame with their eerie post-punk collection. Reeling back to the earlier hours of the day still, first and foremost to take to the stage were MOLD who opened the night with their anarchic post-punk sound that caught the attention of any dull watcher whilst building up the pace for the night ahead. Amongst the mayhem, to keep the groove going between bands, The Beat Chics played their much-adored vinyl-only DJ set to eager party-keen attendees. Amongst the thrill of the evening which took twists and turns throughout (like any decent festival), The White Hotel was proven to be the perfect space for an all-dayer – the venue was packed out to the early hours cementing ‘An All Day Ordeal’ to be irrevocably sensational – this is not just my opinion, though, summed up with the fact that at 1am on that Sunday morning none other than Mr Mac DeMarco turned up at The White Hotel. And yes, he was lovely.

A post shared by Daisy Worthington (@daisydw) on

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