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Tag: Manchester

Live Review: Maribou State at the Albert Hall

From humble beginnings in Hertfordshire, Maribou State found their musical niche in 2015 with their critically acclaimed debut album Portraits. Now four years later, dance-music duo Chris Davids and Liam Ivory electrified Saturday night at Manchester’s Albert Hall on their sophomore album tour, Kingdoms in Colour. Maribou State were clearly still feeding off the buzz from playing London and Bristol just a few days prior, but still seemed stunned at the energy Manchester had to offer.

The stage was set. Spotlights of blue and white bow their heads, illuminating the balconies, the back wall and finally the floor beneath them. In the gloomy glow the band takes their positions behind keyboards and guitars and drums as the crowd roars in anticipation. It would only seem fitting that they began with the very first song of their first album. The song “Home” is appropriately named: you feel acquainted with the sound. Yet woven into the song are distorted hums and moans to inflict feelings of unfamiliarity.

Kingdoms in Colour features previous collaborators like Holly Walker in “Nervous Tics” and “Slow Heat” as well as U.S. group Khruangbin co-producing one of the album’s two singles “Feel Good”. Walker made her appearance for fan favourites like “Steal” and “Midas”. As she grooved from left to right on stage, smirking to the band as she did, it was clear that their relationship between her and them was more than professional: a bond strengthened by similar visions.

The album is vastly more ambitious than its predecessor. After a Portraits world tour, Davids and Ivory scoured the globe for inspiration. Each song builds to a combination of unlikely instruments in what can only be described as some sort of neo-orchestra. “Nervous Tics” is quickly becoming a personal favourite of the album. It blends Walker’s falsetto with the Guzheng, an obscure Chinese instrument found on their worldly travels. Her voice becomes increasingly indistinguishable from the crescendo of melancholy drums.

What is personally intriguing about Maribou State is that their music somehow suits a rainy Sunday afternoon as much as the depths of Saturday night. Across the crowd you could watch people losing themselves in the music, while others felt comfortable just bobbing their heads. Maribou State is music for whatever mood you’re in.

Their sound is one that begs to be seen and heard live: the performance engages the eyes as much as the ears. Shoddy earphones whilst on a bus will not do the songs justice, but watching them on stage is a delight. They’re young, they’re cheeky, and they’re comfortable in the spotlight.

It’s clear that the group sought to tell their story in their set-list. This is what we were, and this is where we are now. As a last hurrah, the band was cheered back on-stage with “Turnmills”, the second single off Kingdoms in Colour. The song is a slow build-up, but at its peak it’s a club banger and a wild send-off to end the night.

Maribou State has this unique skill of making their music feel alive. Portraits was the same, but listening to Kingdoms in Colour, feels fresh and exciting while also embracing the technicolour empire of sound that made them famous.

Review by Byron Gamble

Photo by @SamNeillPhoto

Interview: Boyzone’s Keith Duffy

Keith Duffy is a founding member of Boyzone, one of the UK’s most successful bands (his words, not ours) and this week he talks to Fuse FM about Boyzone’s farewell tour, his continued success with offshoot Boyzlife (with Westlife’s Brian Macfadden) and their upcoming collaboration with student favourite Bongo’s Bingo. Our interview starts off on a rather awkward note as a misunderstanding on who is calling leads to what we expect to be an extremely short “interview”. However after a few unanswered, and admittedly rather creepy sounding ‘Hello Keith, how are you?’ the Boyzone star realises we aren’t cold callers from The Daily Mail and everyone begins to relax. Throughout the interview Keith excitedly rattles off the places he’s performed in during his illustrious career but for someone who has toured the world several times, the singer is surprisingly more down to earth than you would expect.

Keith puts this to his upbringing, citing the bands “strict Irish mothers” and “God-fearing working class backgrounds” in helping him to stay grounded throughout the continued success of Boyzone. He also praises the atmosphere of the band as well, revealing that if anyone ever fell into the traps of success “there were always three or four of the other guys to help pull you back up.” Even when we tell Keith that a lot of our female friends were extremely jealous that we were interviewing him he seems surprised and says he never understood the attention he received after Boyzone blew up. “We never saw ourselves as any different from the lads we grew up with” claims Keith, “when it all happens so suddenly you can’t process it too much- you can’t get too confident because if it all came so quickly that also means it can be taken away just as quickly.” It was only on Boyzone final tour with the album ‘Thank You & Goodnight’ that Keith truly realised how involved the band had been in people’s lives. He tells us that it was during the meet and greets fans had told him how his songs had been used for first dances at weddings, songs that people’s children were conceived to and even at funerals. “It really made me think for a second, whatever the critics or cynics have said over 25 years of Boyzone, we’ve been really involved in our fans’ lives and that’s something truly touching.” On the decision to call it a day on Boyzone, Keith reveals it was important for the band to finish on a high, saying their last album is “the best work we’ve ever done, it took us two years to record the album compared to a time where we could make a record in two weeks.”

Keith also opened up about the loss of bandmate Stephen Gately, who died of a congenital heart defect in October 2009 and who’s death had an overwhelming impact on the mechanics of the band. “We were all so close we didn’t really know what to do” says Keith, “we finished the album out of respect and called the 2009 tour ‘Brothers’ in his memory but we were falling apart at the seams.” Stephen was even featured posthumously on 2018’s ‘Thank You & Goodnight’, with the band remastering unreleased songs that Stephen had written whilst also sampling his vocals on the tracks. This acknowledgement of the past is crucial to keep the fans engaged says Keith, “its about giving the fans what they want. Don’t just be self-deprecating and play your new songs, its when you play the old hits that people feel young again, it takes them back to when they were 17 and didn’t have any responsibilities.”

Since 2015 Keith has partnered up with Westlife’s Brian Macfadden to perform a collection of their bands’ hits under the moniker BOYZLIFE. This March they will be featuring in Bongo Bingo’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations and the boys seem to know the hedonistic reputation of the event, calling it “a great night… but crazy! We’re really happy with what we have planned for our St Paddy shows.” Boyzlife have gone from strength and strength and sold out their UK shows in a matter of days when tickets were released earlier this month, but Keith says there’s more in store including “another tour this winter, followed by our debut album which will hopefully come out by the new year, followed by an even bigger tour in 2020; my diary’s pretty full.” It does indeed, Keith, it does indeed.

Interview with Noah Matthews and Harrison Brown

Interview: The Stranglers

The Stranglers frontman Baz Warne discusses the state of rock and roll, his distaste for genres and how to
maintain a rebellious image in a sanitised pop landscape.

After Hugh Cornwell left the band in 1990, The Stranglers struggled to replace the hole he left so
when you joined the band in 2000 was it daunting taking on such an iconic role?

I never thought about it that way because I was in my mid 30s, I had been a fan of them for many
years and had even toured with The Stranglers in 95 and 97 as their support act. They made me
feel very welcome and we were so busy touring straight away that I didn’t even get a chance to
think about it. The dust settled after about a year and then we all moved into a farmhouse to write
the next record.

The Stranglers were known for their notorious, punk persona, even appearing on stage in 1978
with dozens of topless female dancers. Do you think bands have to worry about being politically
correct when trying to also maintain their rebellious image?

I think it’s just the times they [The Stranglers] were living in, i think if you try and be right on and PC
you’ll never get a chance to say anything to anyone; you’d end up having to call a manhole cover a
person inspection hatch- to be fair that is a really extreme example, funny though! We are who we
are, and it worries other people more than it worries us.

The Stranglers have touched upon some hard hitting topics in their songs, are there any more in
particular you want to tackle?

Well, subject matter just comes to you at the time. I mean, there’s plenty to write about at this
moment in time; we’ve got some US gigs in May and we’ve just got to watch what we say because
I’ve already written a few songs about the cartoon character they’ve got in the white House. It
happens naturally so you don’t really plan ahead, you just save up instrumental bits and someday
you’ll fit words to that.

So do you have pre-made lyrics, then? Or is it more impulsive?

Different sides of the same coin: you should never through anything away, always write it down,
often on a mobile phone which is crucial to musicians nowadays. You might listen back to it in 6
months and think that’s crap and say “I don’t remember writing” that “I don’t want nothing to do with
that shit” but sometimes you’ll listen back and think it’s great and wonder why did we never
recorded it before.

Did you expect the success of Big With Coming?

Big Thing Coming… that was one of the first thing we did together. To be fair we laboured long and
hard on that record actually. I don’t know, it would’ve been easy to follow the same direction of the
90s album which the other guys would admit was a bit ‘wishy washy’. New blood is always good: in
a football team, for managerial staff, anything; anyone coming at something with a different outlook
is bound to bring something new. Living in this farmhouse altogether, it was like The Young Ones, just trying to learn each other’s personalities and how we worked and Big Thing Coming just came
out of that situation.

Did you grow up listening to The Stranglers?

Well I had no internet- just top of the pops. It was so sanitised and mindless but every once in a
while you’d get a band like The Stranglers- their sound was so unique and no one sounded like
them, and no one probably ever will. That is what you want in a band, 45 years later and we’re still
doing it, so that’s gotta count for something.

Have you noticed a change in the demographic of your fans over the years?

The teenage fans from 1970s are all parents now so naturally yeh. And a lot of the fans, the
vociferous fans, who and eat and sleep the band have clearly got their kids into us too. So in the
crowd we get men in their 60s, all the way down to small kids down by the barrier who are being
lifted up so they’re not squashed and just eating a bag of crisps and watching the show! There’s
this one kid who’s been coming to our shows since he was a wee ginger lad and now he’s grown
up with a beard and a girlfriend, it’s fantastic!

What do you think about bands moving away from traditional rock music, like Arctic Monkeys’ last
album ‘Tranquility Base’, or The 1975 finishing off their recent round of UK arena shows with a
massive ‘Rock is Dead’ sign?

Ah! Well how do you mean by genre, if you had to use that awful word. They’re just boxes and
pigeon holes so that music is quantifiable. I tell you what lad, you come and see us and you tell us
that rock is dead. In London, Manchester, Glasgow, there’ll be thousands of leather jacket wearing
lads just waiting to rock out. Basically, it’s just about how it makes you feel, it’s not rocket science,
its very simple to be honest- you might catch yourself humming a tune that you accidentally hate. If
you don’t like rock go and listen to some bloody acoustic guy or some Ed Sheeran and then you
can tell me you don’t like rock music.

You’re primary fanbase is in the Uk but you also have big fanbases overseas, such as in France,
do the type of fans or atmosphere change country to country?

That’s what happens when you have a French bass player! Yeh we love playing there and we do
very well in France. When you go to places you haven’t been to in years- like our US shows which
will be the first in 6 years- the venues are absolutely rammed and alive because people have
missed us. We’re also off to Japan for first time in 10 years and one of the things I love in Japan is
the politeness, they’re so polite! The stage times are earlier too so you go on at 6pm and end by
8pm, they literally come straight from work and then go home straight after we finish- you wouldn’t
have that in the UK would you.

How to stay on the straight and narrow having such a crazy job?

We’re about to get in a bubble for 6 weeks recording and its important to not get up your own
backsides. Eating good, not burning the candle at both ends, get up, shower, go to the next town,
play the gigs, done. Its just a pleasure to still do this, I know that sounds cliched but we just feel
honoured to be able to still play to our fans. We won’t have played for 5 months by our next gig
which is too long and in the studio we all have massive smiles on our faces, so if we ever aren’t
smiling thats a sign to stop, but we aren’t there yet!

Doing this for so ling, have you guys developed any traditions?

Well of course they’ll be specific pubs or restaurants in specific towns that you want to visit but our
only major tradition is we all have a nip of rum and blackcurrant before going on stage. It’s an old
working mans club trick- the rum opens up your sinuses and blackcurrant coats your throat; a bit of
medical help works but just don’t do 6 shots of rum otherwise you won’t give a crap what you’re

Did you have any particular inspirations?

To be frank anything with a guitar in it but it didn’t always have to be guitar music. Great guitar
solos used to stick out to me on the radio, like ACDC, Motorhead, Sex Pistols and The Stranglers
but I wasn’t into the Jam or The Clash because they always felt too manufactured for me. As I got
older I even started to listen to Neil Young but to be honest whenI finish work and I go home I just
want to sit with my wife or go ride my motorbike through the Yorkshire dales. Music is my job but
don’t get me wrong it’s also my pleasure and a luxury too.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music then?

I read a lot as I’ve gotten older and I’m a very passionate football fan even if we team [Sunderland]
is now in the First Division; I’ve from a working class background where football was all pervading.
My grandchildren are great- I love being able to play with them and then give them back when they
get too much. Also as I mentioned I ride so maybe when the weather gets better we’ll get the
motorbike out and have some fun!

The Stranglers have dipped into so many different musical styles, what can fans expect from the
upcoming tour, any surprises?

Well you just have to play ourselves, like some old songs that the band haven’t played every or
haven’t played for 30 years; we call them the black jukebox. I could tell you the setlist but I’d have
to come up to Manchester and silence you! There are some secret surprises coming up but
likewise they aren’t public so I don’t wanna piss anyone off by revealing them to you.

The Stranglers play the 02 Apollo on March 30th as part of their UK tour.

Interview by Noah Matthews and Harrison Brown

Live Interview: Tin Pigeons at Jimmy’s

Walking down the stairs into the neon-lit basement of Jimmy’s to meet indie duo The Tin Pigeons ahead of the final show of their ‘You’re No Fun’ tour, I became painfully aware that I might be interrupting their sound check.

Nevertheless I waited for a slight lull in the music before completing my descent and introducing myself, which was met with an enormous grin from frontman Fraser. This tells you all you need to know about the Rutland-based duo, that they are genuinely one of the nicest bands you could ever hope to interview.

Whilst watching the rest of the sound check, I was particularly struck by the performance of their fantastic latest single You’re No Fun. The song combines the upbeat synth-driven indie rock from bands like Blossoms with the self-reflective lyrics from the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, making arguably one of 2018’s best indie releases.

The Tin Pigeons were first catapulted into success during 2016, after a song from their debut EP Sparks was playlisted as Radio 1’s track of the week, something that the duo still can hardly believe to this day. What followed was a massive festival tour, including a much-coveted slot on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds, and lasting level of national recognition.

Talking to them about their numerous festival appearances, it was clear that festivals are one of their favourite places to perform and, according to Fraser, “one of the nicest things about playing music in the UK” in general. They are also both clearly in love with touring, with Fraser estimating they’ve done at least 150 shows this year alone.

When I bring up their latest tour, which took the pair around the length and breadth of the country from Brighton all the way up to Glasgow, their obvious enthusiasm shines through yet again. As we discuss their touring musical choices, Tom explains their growing fondness for Bob the Builder on account of their vehicle of choice being a white transit van. In addition to their attempt to create a ‘musical wrap’ by only playing songs with the names of burrito ingredients in the title.

Their unique brand of ‘bouncy’ indie music has proved to be a fascination for me, so I was intrigued to find out more about its origins in their musical choices whilst growing up. Whilst Fraser’s weren’t particularly surprising with the likes of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell amongst his favourites, Tom’s were almost unbelievable. Starting with the revelation that he used to be a Goth and continuing with his inspiration to play bass coming mainly from Korn and Limp Bizkit.

Sticking with the theme of their music, something I was also struck by is the autobiographical nature of their lyrics with each song almost being a self-contained story from their lives. When I put this to them, Fraser, attempting to not be too ‘wankery’ as he put it, explained that their music is usually based on a mood or a vibe so it has to be something that they’ve experienced.

Finally, given their extensive touring schedule in 2018, I wondered if there would be any respite in 2019 but this was quickly met by Fraser explaining their plan to get straight back out on tour again in the spring. Followed by them both agreeing that it is ultimately the best part of being in a band (except for the frequent visits to McDonalds).


Interview and written piece by Josh Sandy

Live Interview: RUEL at The Ritz

Just over thirteen years ago, Ralph van Dijk and his wife, Kate, packed their bags from London and moved to Sydney, Australia. Taking their three-year-old son Ruel with them, back to the country of their birth, they left behind most of their extended family. Ruel was enrolled in a local school and his parents returned to a lifestyle they were more familiar with: warm winters, even warmer summers.

Origin stories often become infatuated by the small details. Ruel has now spent the majority of his life in Australia; he learnt to read and write there, indeed he discovered his musical talent there. But you do ask yourself whether things would have turned out differently for the sixteen-year-old starlet – who’s now being touted widely as Australia’s answer to Justin Bieber – if his family hadn’t emigrated to the other side of the world.

Or, actually, you could ask Ruel himself. “It probably would [be different],” he candidly told me as we sat in backstage at the O2 Ritz in Manchester.

“Living the lifestyle that I have done in Australia has definitely shaped my influences, my experiences and – most significantly – my relationships.”

And it’s the relationship he seems to have with his family that resonated most in our conversation. Having relatives scattered across the other side of the world has appeared to give him an understanding of what he finds most important in life. “We like to make an effort to come back to England all the time – my grandma lives in…”, he ponders his UK geography, “…Bournemouth, I think, so we are going down to see her tomorrow.

“I think that’s what I like the most. The fact that, when I’m on tour particularly, I have family that I can visit to keep me sane. One of my parents will always travel with me so it’s nice to be able to share my experiences with them.”

Ruel, who combines typical teenage pop production with a mature and, often earnest, soul vocal was in the UK for almost two weeks as he supported Mabel on a tour that covered nine dates across the both England and Scotland. After greeting me personally at the stage door on a torrential night in Manchester and having an off-the-record chat about the varying international success of Devonian singer-songwriter Ben Howard, we pitched up next to each other on a small leather sofa in his blow-heated greenroom at the back of the venue to talk about the sixteen-year-old’s journey so far.

“It was my dad who sent tapes of my voice to different labels and studios, before M-Phazes took an interest,” he recalls. “When I met him, I had no idea he was this huge producer – I was pretty oblivious and super outgoing, which is quite funny looking back!”

Gaining recognition at the age of twelve by M-Phazes, a Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked with the likes of Eminem and Zara Larsson, was a break that nobody really expected, even Ruel himself. “He must’ve just thought I was some random kid from Sydney – my voice hadn’t even broken then,” he admits. “You’d never assume someone like him would take much of an interest.”

That interest ultimately meant a record deal and, two years later, the release of his debut single “Golden Years”. The success of this track and the follow-up single “Don’t Tell Me”, along with a breakthrough live appearance on national radio station Triple J, gathered momentum for Ruel and landed him a Top 100 hit on Australia’s main music sales chart.

Within the space of a year, Ruel had transformed from your average teenage boy with a voice beyond his age, into one of the most exciting pop talents on the emerging world-stage. And you wonder how that affects him, both personally but in terms of ‘RUEL’ as a brand image. He responds in a characteristically mature approach: “From day one, I’ve always wanted to keep everything about my image to be focused on the music.

“When I first got social media and put out my first little releases, we made sure to not put out anything to do with my face or focusing on how old I was. We put nothing out apart from just music and I guess that just resonated with people.”

Overnight, instant success is becoming increasingly synonymous with the Millennial generation of emerging talent across the world, a route modelled most famously by the likes of Justin Bieber, and Ruel seems intent on ensuring that his credibility as an artist is rooted deeper than in just the novelty of his youth. “Everything I put out now is still all about the music. I think that’s what keeps me credible and makes sure I remain an artist instead of a gimmick.”

A crucial factor so far in Ruel’s journey towards stardom has been the recognition he received from an artist whose musical journey also began in their teenage years. “I was in my locker-room at school, by myself after lunch,” Ruel recounts, “I just opened up this message and Elton John’s face was on it. I started freaking out, I’d been put on the radio!”

Ruel is referring to when, in September 2017, ‘Don’t Tell Me’ was aired on Beats1 Radio; a specific selection from Elton John. “The weirdest feeling” came over Ruel as he listened to John describe him as astonishing, live on international radio. “I had a little dance party by myself. It was a music legend, talking about me!”

“We then, later in the year, met in Sydney and chatted for hours about new music. He gave me some real good bits of wisdom.”

And those bits of wisdom seem to have rubbed off on Ruel, who hit his Sweet Sixteen only a matter of months ago. You get the sense that a series of wise moves have been what shaped Ruel’s path so far: the initiative to send out music to record labels, the choice to originally post music under a pseudonym.

In fact, perhaps his father’s decision to up sticks from London and move to Australia was a wise one after all.

“These parts two years have flown by and it all feels like my whole journey has happened in a week,” Ruel finishes up with. “But my family – and the things they’ve done for me – have helped me so much.”

“I suppose that’s what makes sure that everything feels normal in what has been a pretty crazy couple of years.”


Interview and written piece by Adam MacDonald

Live Interview: Saint Sister at The Castle Hotel

Saint Sister is an Irish electro-folk duo comprised of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre. On Friday 14th December they played Castle Hotel in Manchester. This venue itself created an intimate setting and feel to the evening, enhanced by captivating harmonies and sounds created by the duo.

The two met at Trinity College Dublin. Doherty recalled, “We were both in Trinity at the same time and met towards the end of our degrees, and we both were looking to make music in some capacity – I didn’t even know what kind. It was that weird time after college. But Morgan reached out and we just went for it. We just started playing together and did what felt most natural, which at the start was just using our two voices and using the harp, and we built it from there. That was about four years ago now.”

Their Manchester gig did not feature their band who often play with them. However, if one were to close their eyes during the set you would not believe you were listening to only two people.

The duo created loops onstage comprised of voices, harp and thumping rhythms, producing a sound that filled the entire room. The emotion and meaning behind their songs are evident when they play, and this held the attention of the audience fully throughout the one hour set. The audience remained in complete silence other than to applaud and cheer after every song. MacIntyre, who writes the lyrics, stated “All the songs are emotional for me and all of them ring true and that stops them from going stale”. In particular, McIntyre says she enjoys playing ‘The Mater’ live, due to its stripped back and intimate nature; “It’s the easiest one for me to tap into the reasons why I wrote it. Because it’s quite a sad song, it doesn’t ever feel like I have to work hard to get into that mood when I’m singing it and trying to deliver it in the appropriate way.”

Manchester’s show was not the most intimate the duo has played throughout their tour, which began in September. Doherty recounted that during a show in Mullumbimby in Australia there was a power outage, “There had been a tropical storm. It just happened as we landed, maybe an hour before our show. So, when we walked in to set up, [nothing was working]. The whole town was out, so [it wasn’t] our fault… I feel like everyone becomes very forgiving in that instance; when all of a sudden it’s everyone’s [problem] to deal with together. There was a guy in the audience just shining a torch up at us. Everyone else was just so quiet, and they sang along if we were playing a cover. They were really with us, even though they probably couldn’t hear a thing!”

Saint Sister’s songs all tell a story, and not just through the lyrics. The instrumentation feels like an extension to the stories told, complimenting the lyrics wonderfully. Doherty explained “We do quite separate things; Morgan focuses on lyrics with the melody a lot of the time, and I’ll work on production or instrumentation and arrangement. We come together quite early on in a song. We both have different roles, and it works well”.

Saint Sister have a unique sound that is a perfect representation of Ireland in 2018; it’s modern but the folk roots are still prevalent. The duo finished their set with a beautiful acapella cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’. Doherty and MacIntyre’s voices blend together to create rich harmonies, and this cover perfectly highlighted that.

It is clear The Cranberries’ music has had an influence on Saint Sister. When asked which artists they are currently listening to, MacIntyre described a game taught to them by Ciaran Lavery, who opened for Saint Sister during a number of dates on their tour. “He introduced us to a game called ‘Good Song, Better Song’, where you just think of the best song you could possibly think of. My first one was ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Dire Straits. You think it’s the best song, and then someone comes up with an even better song, and you just keep going. [It’s] good because it can go off in different genres, and then someone [throws] a curveball. We also do this thing, we call it ‘Irish Hour’ and everyone has to pick only Irish acts.”

Saint Sister’s debut album ‘Shape of Silence’ came out in October 2018; if you have not already listened to it, you are missing out. Saint Sister is one to watch.

by Hannah Montgomery

Live Interview: You Me At Six

You Me At Six are headed out on their epic 52-date World Tour. This is nothing new for them, but this tour is extra special because selected dates are also part of the Take Off Your Colours 10-year anniversary tour. This was their very first album and so they are playing it in full, alongside some of their newer hits. This didn’t stop them from throwing in a lot of their old songs on their first night at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, despite it not being a Take Off Your Colours night. The crowd was with the band for the whole show, but it is safe to say that these older songs got the biggest reaction. In particular, Save It For The Bedroom and Reckless were particular crowd favourites. Their staging included huge video screens with animations and lighting effects adding to the atmospheres of each song.

Frontman Josh Franceschi prefaced an emotional performance of Take On The World with a speech about his love for Manchester. As well as his admiration for the resilience and community solidarity shown in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. You Me At Six were supported by The Xcerts and Marmozets, both of whom delivered electric performances and quickly drew the audience in, gaining more than a few fans.

Ahead of the performance, I sat down with guitarist Chris Miller.

Fuse FM: You just dropped the Back Again music video, it just looked like you were having a laugh. What was it like to film?

Chris: Yeah, to be fair, it was a lot of fun! We just got to bowl all day and chill and dress up in stupid outfits. We’ve done too many videos now where we’ve taken it too seriously and try to be ‘the cool band’ and we just aren’t!

FM: Do you get a lot of input in the videos then?

C: Yeah, the ones on this campaign in particular! Especially 3 AM and Back Again, they were both our ideas and then we worked closely with the director, came up with the treatment together and we’re now good friends. So, it’s just like coming up with a crazy idea and then seeing what you can do. The 3AM was just supposed to be like how you think you’re doing on a night out, whereas in reality you look like an idiot! Then Back Again, we just wanted to take the piss out of a film basically. We all thought The Big Lebowski was a good one to do, because we thought it was a bit of a cult classic. So, if you’re a bit younger you might not know the film, but you could still get something funny out of the video. Whereas, if you have seen it, you sort of get both sides of it.

FM: This is obviously a huge tour, what’s your favourite thing about touring?

C: I just like being in a different city every day to be honest. It’s nice just going around, having a walk and seeing stuff. We’ve obviously been to Manchester loads now but we went to the Trafford Centre today, and I’ve been to Manchester thirty or forty times but never been there! It’s like Vegas in there! It’s ridiculous! So yeah, I just like seeing the different sites, especially when we’re abroad. There’s obviously loads of touristy stuff you can do or just kinda find some locals to take you about and show you what’s good!

FM: You’re doing the two nights in Manchester with different sets, how do you think they will compare?

C: I don’t really know, I’m sure quite a lot of people will come twice. It’s been fun playing the old stuff, it’s definitely fun for the crowd, because some of the songs off the first album we haven’t even played live before. Call That a Comeback, we’ve never played that live ever! So, tomorrow night will be like the fourth time we’ve played it! It’s a weird one for us and we obviously enjoy playing both of them but it’s nice for us to see the difference of playing the first album and then we chuck about 8 or 9 more songs after the first album at the end. So, people get a bit of both!

FM: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

C: It changes all the time, personally, as a songwriter, I’d really like to write a song with John Mayer, I think that could be really cool. I’m sure Max would probably say someone in the hip hop world, like we’re really into Anderson .Paak at the minute. Which is really cool because it’s got all the rap elements but still a proper band in there. I think we’d go for something completely wild and unexpected and see what happened.

FM: What’s been the best thing of your career so far?
C: There’re so many things! On every album we’ve released there’s been some defining moments. I think back in the day the first time we ever headlined the London Astoria was a big deal for us; because that’s where we grew up going to see bands. It’s not there anymore, so I’m glad we got tick it off the list quite early. Then moving through, moving up the bill at Reading and Leeds is a big thing for us, and being on the main stage there. Number 1 album was a big thing for us as well for Cavalier Youth, it’s just really cool for a British band that play guitars and isn’t in the pop world, to actually be number 1. We’ll just keep aiming high now and see what happens!

FM: You finish up the tour and then play Neighbourhood festival next year. It’s such a musically diverse line up, what’s it like playing shows in that setting?

C: Yeah, I think our day is us and Nothing But Thieves and then like George Ezra and other people like that. Our favourite shows to play are shows where we shouldn’t really be on, like ones that are a bit of a weird line up. When we first started, every show we played in our local scenes was just metal bands, and we were sort of just the pop band on the metal gig. I think for us, we really enjoy playing the first few songs and maybe the crowd’s not that into it, but by the end, everyone’s loving it, so we know then that we’ve done our job.

You Me At Six are on tour in the UK until 9th December before moving on to the European and American leg of the tour.

Interview by Sophie Stevens

Live Review: Goodness x Bok Bok at Soup Kitchen

As I walked down the stairs into the Soup Kitchen basement, there was a feeling of excitement in the Mancunian air. Friday night saw forward-thinking promoters Goodness bring some energy to the city in the form of bass-heavy duo Bok Bok & L-Vis 1990 with warm-up duties on the night coming from the equally as talented Bolt and Afrodeutsche. As the temperature outside began to drop the basement of soup kitchen was just heating up.

Soup kitchen has been racking up some impressive bookings recently and is surely becoming a real favourite for Manchester’s music lovers/party goers. With its dimly lit basement, it seemed one of the more fitting places in the city for the night’s festivities. After spreading their wings to Manchester earlier this year, following success in Oxford and London, Goodness have brought some fantastic artists to the city including Hessle Audio’s Joe and Timedance main man Batu. Both occasions have proved to be riotous affairs, so I knew I was in for a treat.

As I arrived BOLT, a member of local collective VAM was handing over the reins after a well-received set to Afrodeutsche, who dived headfirst into a blend of electro & techno, easily grabbing the attention of the room. Her set was a definite nod to the old Detroit electro legends but it was combined fluidly with her own unique sound; the Manchester-based artist showed real talent and I am looking forward to seeing more from her in the future.

This was my first time catching the night slugs head honchos, and after rinsing their boiler room from way back in 2014 I was looking forward to seeing them in the flesh. As Bok Bok & L-Vis 1990 took to the decks at around 2 am it didn’t take long before the basement was shaking. With a genre-spanning set from UK funky to grime, no area of the bass music spectrum was left untouched, the following couple of hours were extremely entertaining.

In a Noisey article earlier this year, L-Vis commented on the way Night slug sets don’t really have a ‘peak time’ as such: “Our sets are not building to one specific moment, it’s more about different waves of energy throughout the set”. Energy was something that definitely wasn’t lacking down in that basement. The reception from the crowd was warmly appreciated by the DJ’s who looked to be enjoying it as much as the revelers on the other side of the booth. The front of the crowd was feeding off this energy as the tempo was upped and classics such as Lil Silva’s now legendary ‘Seasons’ got a predictably huge reaction alongside new productions that had the crowd roaring.

In an industry that sometimes struggles with representation, it was also great to see an equal split of genders on the line-up without the promoters using it as some kind of marketing tool. Hopefully, this positivity can continue throughout the scene.

I can happily say I struggled to find any negatives about this one and I look forward to the next Goodness event. Smiles were aplenty as the crowd headed up the stairs into the cold Manchester morning.


Review by Adam Parker

Live Review: Kamaal Williams at Gorilla

It is unusual to enter a concert and be greeted by a completely silent room. At first, I thought the first act hadn’t started yet and the crowd wasn’t feeling very talkative after a busy Tuesday. Then the ethereal sound of Madison McFerrins voice filled up the entire space under Gorilla’s industrial railway arch. As more layers of her voice appeared, I realised she was using a loop pedal to create acapella melodies over which she would eventually sing. The crowd were encapsulated by her ability to craft her tracks with her voice as the only instrument. It would be easy to think that she was performing with multiple performers if I wasn’t watching it live. She also included the crowd and set a nice buzz for the rest of the night. It was a much-appreciated start to the evening and brought a soulful female twist and a new discovery for me. She’s an artist I will be following from now on.

Next up was the main event, Kamaal Williams: with Henry Wu on the keys, Josh McKenzie aka McKnasty on the drums and Pete Martin on Bass. From the first few notes I could tell these three were going to work well together and I was excited to hear what was in stall. The crowd was quickly whisked into motion with fast paced drum beats and skilled keywork. This would be the theme for the first half of the performance: a jazzy fusion that people couldn’t help but dance to.

There was a clear artistic relationship between Henry and Pete, they seemed to be challenging one-another with high intensity, pushing the speed and complexity of their sound to a high energy crescendo at multiple points. Around half-way into the performance a repetitive loop was played on the keys, blending jazz with house music. It’s something I haven’t seen live before and by body noticed before I did. I found myself dancing with a two-step, thinking that this wouldn’t go too far awry in the second room of bona fide techno night.

With that in mind, the performance was not fast paced throughout, with a guest appearance from the Manchester based duo Konny Kon and Tyler Daley, otherwise known as Children of Zeus. They managed to incorporate singing into a performance which I was expecting to be strictly instrumental. With hip hop and soul influences, the crowd certainly sounded impressed.

Next up on the stage was Mansur Brown, he was a welcome addition to the stage. He brought a mature, dignified prescience with a calmer flow compared to the start of the set. This worked extremely well and introduced yet another dimension to the performance.

There was many members and a high amount of energy on stage – each member had different vibe but it came together in the music, giving a multi-faceted performance that I’m very glad to have seen.

Review by Adam McCarthy