Cabbage are no longer strangers to topping the bill at venues like Manchester’s o2 Ritz, yet Saturday night would prove to be special even for them. Before we get to them though, we have a smattering of bands from different ends of the British music fringes. Five will take to the stage in the main room, with the same number plying their trade in the basement; a dark and sticky asylum-like the room, strangely fitting for the event.
Those disinterested with the Royal Wedding take refuge from the news sink into the synthy-psych sounds of Afghan Sand Gang, who open the main room. The darkness in the tunes is well received by the small gathering who have arrived and suddenly becomes more apt for the locals, as United are confirmed as the FA cup’s losing finalists.
Despite all the events of the day the basement room is heaving by the time we make our first journey down, at which point Lady Bird are gearing up for what will prove to be the best surprise package of the day. Cabbage frontman, Lee Broadbent, had claimed he was most looking forward to this band when we spoke to him before the gig, saying their ‘aggressive live energy was right up his street’.
The room suits Lady Bird perfectly as they belt out ‘Spoons’ in front of a surging dance floor. Behind the sound desk, teens climb on top of the padded barriers to get involved. The set seems to be over just as it is starting, but that is the beauty of this event. Get in, introduce your music, get out. Something new bands need more opportunity to do on this kind of stage.
Back up the stairs and we find The Rhythm Method midway through their set. They are the one act who bring a somewhat lighter atmosphere as their oddly enthralling combination of synthesisers and spoken word lead an infection of dad dancing. By the time they launch into a World Cup track, the whole room is swaying, and you cannot stop that voice in your head screaming “IT’S OUR YEAR!”
With the entrance of The Blinders, we are into the final run of Manchester locals that will take us to the climax of the night. With trademark eyeliner smeared down both sides of the frontman’s face, they are the first act to stir up the sort of frenzy in the main room that everyone expected when we saw the lineup for the first time.
They are already becoming acclimatised to playing in front of adoring crowds, and the view of their echoing indie reverberating around a venue like the Ritz has the crowd pining for more. There is much more to come from these boys, and you should get in now if you want to see them playing in smaller venues, because soon? They will be nowhere near them.
PINS are the penultimate participants in this celebration of all things happening, and a punchy rock band just about sum up what this event is all about. PINS make great music and after their show at the Ritz, it’s just the rest of the world to take over now.
Finally, we reach the crescendo of the night. As Lee, Joe and the rest of Manchester’s newest hometown favourites Cabbage take to the stage you sense we could be in for something that will stick in the mind for a long time to come. With two of the band donning Love Music Hate Racism T-Shirts, we are launched into ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade‘.
Both ‘frontmen’ had described to us before the set ‘how they felt their method of constant writing and releasing had given them a rich tapestry of music rather than stockpiled hits’, and you can feel that from the start in this performance. A handpicked and meticulously-ordered setlist swoops through the fan favourites from the newest album, Young, Dumb… and even older tracks.
The room jumps in unison as the ‘Dinner Lady‘ riff batters away at the walls, and are seemingly just as pleased to throw their first up to the gritty new tracks, such as our personal favourite ‘Exhibit A’, which makes it in.
After such a day of fun and frivolities, the question becomes; how do you end this? How about three people on stage dressed in full camo, balaclavas on, and ‘Terrorist Synthesiser’ pouring out to where the comrades below muster up one last tirade of energy? Yes, that.
Words: Sam Wright – Gigslutz
Pictures: Nidge Sanders – Trust a Fox