“Pathetic, absolutely pathetic” spits Blackwaters’ frontman Max Tanner to the Manchester Club Academy basement, after the voices gathered below his band managed to fall flat-on-their-faces when attempting to bounce back a chant of “Ah, yeah, fuck yeah”. This, however, only caused a serious surge of irate energy, and the second band to perform on the Manchester leg of This Feeling: Alive 2017 tour sky-rocketed expectations out of the water. This was one serious zone for a Sunday night.
Champions of the underdogs, the unknown and the brightest sparks in the game, This Feeling waves the flag bold and proud for something we have been lacking in the U.K since the NME was hijacked many moons ago: faith in new music. The real faces of the future are being given a platform and, whether it be inside a festival tent, or in a dingy pub, This Feeling is behind them every step of the way.
This Feeling Alive 2017 tour, taking place throughout October, is made up of three core acts – the previously-mentioned Blackwaters, alongside heavyweights Bang Bang Romeo and psychedelic songsters, The Shimmer Band – with an additional support act (plucked from the This Feeling roster) bringing their sweet, innovative sounds to venues across the country.
The night itself was opened by Gigslutz favourites, Proletariat. Currently, on tour with their Mosley brothers, Cabbage, Proletariat are intensifying with talent as their number of fans rapidly increases. Their short-yet-extremely-saccharine set opened with their latest, explosive single ‘Ignorance’, and was quickly followed by the likes of ‘Kiss Of Death’ and ‘Nobody Believes’. The latter track was only bettered by Proletariat’s closing song, the dominant-driving-force ‘Mr. Brown’. Featuring a menacing guitar line and a chiselled, elongated vocal, ‘Mr. Brown’ still remains Proletariat’s greatest output to date. The boys began the night with a bang, setting the bar to an almighty high.
The calmness which quickly settled over the crowd post-Proletariat lasted less than fifteen minutes, as the guttural kings of disorder, Blackwaters, invaded the stage. Shaking things up, Blackwaters unravelled and released a whirlwind of anarchy in true punk style. Equipped with twinkling eyes and enthusiasm to boot, the well-oiled machine fashioned turmoil through, ducking, diving and barrier hopping, which also seen an intense guitar solo take place in the middle of the floor. If these lads are so good so young, what have Blackwaters got in store for us in the next 5 years?
While every act that had been carefully selected for this tour was more than worthy of a place on this stunning bill, head-and-shoulders above the rest in terms of professionalism, however, as The Shimmer Band. The nights headliners sulked on stage looking moody, excited and dare-we-say slightly nervous? The Shimmer Bands’ frontman, Tom Newman, adorning a pair of Kurt Cobain-inspired white sunglasses paused, drank in the crowd, and then roared into action with ‘What Is Mine?’
With a reputation for being crowd pleasers, The Shimmer Band’s signature set was of course lined with effortless style and concentrated and-crafted energy. The room was treated to startling renditions of ‘Freedom’, ‘Shoot Me Baby’ and ‘Jacknife and The Death Call’, as well as an intensely emotional, tear-inducing performance of ‘Sunkick’. A ‘pinch-me-I-was-there’ moment – The Shimmer Band’s set at Manchester Club Academy will wedge itself in the minds of fans for perhaps an eternity.
Being sandwiched between two acts with such mega reputations like The Shimmer Band and Blackwaters would seem like a sombre affair for any band. However, when that group that is filling the slot is Bang Bang Romeo, there is no chance of anything less than a spectacular showcase of talent shining through.
“You in the orange jumper move in” cries Bang Bang Romeo’s frontwoman, Anastasia Walker, beckoning bodies into her reach. A freestyle instrumental before the grand finale of ‘Invitation’ lead to widening smiles and an air of anticipation. When the words “I’m gonna’ tear you into tiny little pieces” punched through the air, there was no doubting that this woman’s voice, and this bands energy, is simply unparalleled. Bang Bang Romeo, as they always do, blew the roof off of the venue.
To sum the This Feeling Alive 2017 tour up in one word, you could use tremendous, or staggering or phenomenal. However, we are opting for refreshing. The Libertines always said that if you ‘lost your faith in love and music, the end won’t be long’. If you have misplaced this faith, get yourself down to a live show from Blackwaters, Proletariat, Bang Bang Romeo or The Shimmer Band, and rejuvenate that passion.