(Photo by Niall Lea)
Having become a vital day for new music since it’s inception back in 2016, Manchester’s biggest multi-venue festival Neighbourhood Festival took over the city centre again this past weekend with another jam packed line up.
Spread across the likes of YES, Albert Hall, Gorilla and o2 Ritz, 2019’s lineup may not have lived up to previous years yet still brought a buzz to the streets of Manchester with fans excited to catch the likes of Miles Kane, The Blinders, The Big Moon and Easy Life; as well as over one hundred of the best up and coming bands of the moment.
As we’ve all come to expect from multi-venue festivals, venue capacities caused disappointment as most rapidly reached one in one out within a couple of hours of opening times, which undoubtedly is something organisers should be looking into for future years.
Queueing aside, this year’s choice of venues, all of which within reasonable walking distance gave most a chance to catch their favourites bands in rare intimate settings, creating fond memories for most. Catch up on our highlights of the day below.
Revolution was absolutely electric in anticipation for Blackwaters, they took to the stage with massive cheer and ecstatic energy that fit their melodic punk incredibly. An incredible front man performance kept every eye captivated as Blackwaters’ half an hour set flew by in the blink of an eye. The room contained the tension of a spring, as a wound-up audience moshed around Revolution, taking no prisoners. People Street took the set to another level as every single lyric, guitar riff and “La” was belted by a lamenting audience, to a front man who strutted up and down with a swagger clearly destined for a stage, triple the size.
(Photo by Jack Kirwin)
Hitting venue capacity and leaving Gorilla one in, one out within minutes of starting their set, Liverpool’s SPINN had their Neighbourhood crowd wrapped firmly around their fingers. Opening a mosh pit inducing, singalong set with Shallow and Who You Are; frontman Johnny Quinn’s down to earth, charismatic stage presence combined with his now infamous dance moves could have charmed even the most stubborn of gig goers.
Despite being a band still new to most, the four-piece pulled off a set which could easily have taken place at a much bigger venue later on in the day. Ending with more crowd interaction than most fans could ever ask for and a mosh pit taking over the centre of Gorilla’s sweaty back room Notice Me gave the impression that SPINN are ready for much bigger things.
(Photo by Niall Lea)
Warnings for YES’ over capacity being advertised a good twenty minutes before Inhaler even took to the stage, and queues spilling not only down the stairs from The Pink Room into the main bar, but a good fifty yards or so down the street outside it was no surprise that the Dublin quartet pulled off a performance so tight it could easily have been mistaken for a legendary band who’d been performing together for well over ten years, never mind just three.
Gracing the stage with a confidence rarely seen as of late, frontman Elijah Hewson’s vocals took control of The Pink Room with ease; particularly with the anthemic sound of latest single Ice Cream Sundae, which induced a mass singalong capable of convincing anybody in the room that the four were far more established than they actually are.
(Photo by Jack Kirwin)
The Big Moon
Opening The Albert Hall in the early evening, The Big Moon truly proved their progression during their Neighbourhood set. Smashing through potential hit after hit, from early releases Silent Movie Suzie and Sucker to the newly released It’s Easy Then and Your Light, The Big Moon are that band who give you that “I wanna be in a band!” feeling.
As always, the four looked to be having genuine fun on stage while providing a performance stronger than a solid majority of their peers. In an industry where girls really need a confidence boost, The Big Moon are not only a band to admire but one who inspire; all while having genuine fun and performing quality, crowd pleasing performances.
Closing YES’ Pink Room later in the evening, HMLTD’s return to the live scene was welcomed with open arms at Neighbourhood. Their genre spanning sound and chaotic yet mesmerising stage presence the Londoners’ explosive performance gave festival goers a taste of their cut throat riffs and wit throughout new single Loaded, and fan favourites Proxy Love and To The Door. Truly their own in comparison to the rest of the lineup, HMLTD’s set was a treat for both dedicated fans and those catching their set for the first time, leaving appetites firmly wet for more.
(Photo by Niall Lea)
The floor bowed, rattled and rocked as The Blinders entered the fold at Albert Hall. A room that’s stood for over a century bounced within the foundations as the Doncaster natives ripped through Gotta Get Through, L’etat C’est Moi and 40 Days And 40 Nights, leaving the packed venue dripping with sweat as every person bounced. A brilliant rendition of Free The Slave held the crowd completely capsulated into I Can’t Breathe Blues, following the album’s setlist had the crowd perfectly dictated without instruction. It’s surprising the floor coped due to sheer mosh volume during Brave New World, as The Blinders stakes their claim as the most exciting band around at the minute.
(Photo by Anthony Mooney)
As the time edged closer and closer, a familiar phrase echoed around Manchester Academy, “Miles, Miles, Miles Fucking Kane”. Prior to the drop of the lights, the room pressed ever closer to the stage, impatiently. Finally, the time had come. Coup De Grace opened the set as the crowd out-sang Miles word-for-word; clad in an open shirt, vest and chain, Kane strutted through Can You See Me Now, where every last note was yelled by the audience. Any break in the set was dominated by chants lamenting the Wirral frontman. Fan favourite Rearrange displayed how incredible Miles is with melody, before a heart wrenching version of Wrong Side Of Life, as most of the crowd’s previously heartbroken members unknowingly shared a moment.
Come Closer and Inhaler gave Manchester Academy a venomous injection which caused some one of the biggest mosh pits that floor had surely ever encountered, as the man himself sings “entertainment’s a trademark”.
Sporting an acoustic guitar, Killing The Joke introduced the encore as 2500 music lovers wrapped their arms around each other and belted lyrics at the height of their lungs. The set concluded with an extended edition of certified anthem: Don’t Forget Who You Are. The chorus lyrics rang around Manchester for what seemed like hours following the set, Miles Kane had certainly left an impression on everyone who saw him at Neighbourhood Festival and if that was anything to go by, future tours are shaping up to be insane.