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Live Review: Superorganism at Gorilla

Superorganism have exploded on the scene and true to their name, have evolved a sound far more experimental and technical than most other artists. True to form, their live show follows the same ambition, sound, and audacity seen in their debut album.

Upon arrival at Gorilla, I was greeted by a real mix bag of gig-goers. There was a healthy dose of students, a few Brewdog-sipping, earplug-wearing 6Music dads at the back, and some younger teens with chaperone dads at one of their first gigs. This mismatch of people really helped generate a relaxed atmosphere, which suited both Superorganism and the support act, Pi Ja Ma.

Pi Ja Ma is a French act specialising in upbeat alt-pop songs, but it must be said that at Gorilla they performed to their absolute limit. Singer Pauline de Tarragon’s vocals pierced through the room, grabbing everyone’s attention, even the Brewdog-sipping dads. Even between songs there was no reason to head to the bar. The back-and-forth between de Tarragon and the guitarist was witty, engaging, and nicely warmed up the crowd before the entrance of the headliners, Superorganism.

Superorganism arrived to a cacophony of noise, strobe lights, and excitement. First up was “It’s All Good”, which then bounced straight into “Nobody Cares”, keeping the rhythm going. Through the whole set the backing vocals of B, Ruby, and Soul kept the rhythm going, and the dancing nicely complemented the feel of the gig.

A special mention must go to lead vocalist OJ, who was struggling through the night with a severe sore throat. Telling the audience that she was in tears during her soundcheck for the BBC earlier in the day, she powered through the gig (with a side-order of tea as a boost) with an impressive performance, sounding as engaging as the debut album does recorded.

The only negative of the show was the length: for a band with one album of only ten songs and 32 minutes in length, I expected a full play-through of the record. However, the band only performed nine songs, missing Relax (a personal favourite). This did mean their whole performance was just over 45 minutes, and for a £12 entry fee, some fans may have felt short-changed. This obviously will change as the band release more records, but some nevertheless may feel something was missing.

Overall, Pi Ja Ma and Superorganism served up an eclectic mix of new sounds, art-pop, and a stunning light show that will live long in my memory. Superorganism are pushing the boundaries of pop music, and their live shows reflect that.



Ethan Davies for Fuse FM.

Live Review: Tom Misch at The O2 Ritz

The Tom Misch gig at The O2 Ritz on Friday 2nd March sold out immediately – the 22 year old artist is one of the biggest names to rise through the ranks and he keeps on delivering. The Ritz isn’t usually our go to on a Friday night but on the 2nd it was the hottest ticket in town. 

Misch plays a mixture of funk, soul, hip-hop and jazz and the gig promised to be slick and effortlessly relaxed. The whole performance was smooth start to finish. His melodic voice was met with screams as well as many audience members standing back and appreciating the great music. 

Misch brought a young crowd to the Ritz but there was no shoving or competing for the front – the Ritz was full of music lovers and the atmosphere was filled with nothing but positive vibes. 

The gig was made extra special by the fact that it really was a family affair. Mr and Mrs Misch were screaming at the back and got numerous shout outs. We were also graced with the presence of Misch’s very talented sister, Laura, during ‘Movie.’ The instrumentals and Misch’s excellently executed guitar playing evoked warmth and calm, along with his smooth voice. 

There was talk that his best pal, Loyle Carner would make a guest appearance. Though it didn’t happen, Misch more than delivered, playing a new array of songs amongst old favourites. ‘Movie’ was magical and ‘South of the River’ was absolutely brilliant.

After dropping the new track with De La Soul, ‘It Runs through Me’ just a day before, Misch was switched on and every song was delivered with energy, invoking positivity throughout the gig. 

I’ve been waiting to see Misch for a long time and he did not disappoint! Ending on a high with ‘Watch Me Dance,’ Tom Misch left the stage of the Ritz with fans chanting for more. However, he left us in anticipation – hopefully he’ll be back in Manchester ASAP. Overall, great, great gig.  


By Jodie Bryant for Fuse FM.

Live Review: Hollie Cook at Gorilla

Hollie Cook leaps on stage to begin her first headline tour stop in Manchester. The support band ‘General Roots’ begin a deep and sonorous rhythm to get the stirring crowd moving, who had become slightly languid from the wait. The warm beat they lay down is then split-open by Cook’s voice, with an excited ‘Hello Manchester!’ to accompany her elated stage-entrance. Driven by her evident excitement, the crowd fixate on the stage and the night begins.

Despite her new music’s increasing departure from classic reggae rhythms and sounds, the musical style of the night emphasises Hollie’s sustained relevance on the reggae scene. Although her new album, ‘Vessel of Love’ confidently demonstrates her self-proclaimed tropical-pop nature, the tough reggae-rhythmic backing on the night established a firm grip on the roots of her musical style. New songs such as ‘Stay Alive’ and ‘Angel Fire’, which lean more towards her euphoric and ethereal tropical persuasion, are re-moulded and re-rooted in a ‘dubby’ grounding, emphasised not only through the use of digital dub effects, but so too through the inclusion of King Tubby style ‘version’ endings to each of her songs. “Are you ready for a reggae party” she shouts with a nod to the roots reggae enthusiasts present in the crowd.

Hollie’s assertion that she will bring “sunshine in the form of music” is nothing short of fact, bearing in mind the icy sleet outside. At this point, she still hasn’t introduced herself. Whether through a cheeky confidence or an excited amnesia, she waits until the end of the fourth song to explain who she is. Of course, the crowd are fully acquainted with the divine-voiced enigma on stage, yet the humble and gripping affability of her personality that I had experienced earlier in our interview was now made clear, as she spoke to the crowd with a refreshingly genuine tone.

Moving onwards, General Roots begin the melody to ‘Desdemona’, one of Hollie’s most enchanting songs. Accompanying this, she reveals a new side to her stage personality. Replacing her near-bashful illusionary aura, the looming strings of ‘Desdemona’ bring a menacing and alluring presence to the Gorilla stage. This mystifying twist continued as a theme throughout many of her songs, giving the night an excitingly sinister edge; something her new album has slightly forgotten. ‘Milk and Honey’ begins, and the exceptional skill of ‘General Roots’ is accentuated, as once again they strip back melody and enter a dubbed-up version of the song, now allowing each band member an introduction and solo.

They finish, and the encore procedure ensues, this time returning with a firm favourite, ‘Postman’. Hollie explains how Manchester had always had a “special energy”, a comment that taken out of context may seem predictable, yet the glow of excitement on her face asserts its genuine origins. With an ecstatic stint on the keys, reminiscent of her days playing with ‘The Slits’, Hollie finishes the song and leaves the stage, allowing General Roots the stage time they deserve to end the night. The evening provided a musical oscillation; a journey between her newer tropical-utopian-pop and her former dub-inspired entrancing works, each one crisply executed alongside her distinctly cordial charm.




Louis Blatherwick for Fuse FM.

Live Review: Rex Orange County at Gorilla

The sold out Rex Orange County gig at Manchester’s Gorilla definitely lived up to expectations. 

Rex Orange County, otherwise known as Alex O’Connor and is one of 2018s most exciting new artists. The release of his first two albums bcos u will never be free and Apricot Princess have set the bar high; the gig did not fail to deliver the slickness and charm of the records. 

The set was very short, but effortlessly cool and laid back. O’Connor impressed by accompanying his own singing regularly on the keyboard and guitar. The whole gig had an air of relaxation about it. He switched from instrument to instrument and graciously said “thank you” after every song.

A mixture of his first two albums, O’Connor’s songs really brought the crowd together. Picking up the energy with songs like ‘Never Enough’ and ‘Best Friend,’ which induced energetic moshing and some dancing on shoulders provided the gig with excitement. Whereas he also really toned it down and introduced the slower paced tracks such as Corduroy Dreams and ‘A Song About Being Sad.’

A definite credibility moment was when when he asked audience members to put down their phones and just enjoy the music. It was easy listening and one of the most laid back performances I’ve ever seen. O’Connor switched instruments and chatted into his songs effortlessly. He sounded exactly like the studio albums and you could just tell that he is a genuinely talented guy. 

‘Sunflower’, ‘Loving is Easy’ and of course, ‘Uno’ reflected the loyalty in this fanbase; the crowd was word perfect. He was very humble and the trumpet and saxophone players had impressive, individual solos. As well as this, he brought out his girlfriend to sing some stunning vocals during the set. It wasn’t self indulgent at all.

The gig ended with ‘Happiness,’ bringing with it an explosion of energy and screams. Much to the fans’ disappointment, cries for “One more song!” at the end were ignored. 

Short, sweet and simple, just wish the set had been longer.


Jodie Bryant for Fuse FM.