The best thing about discovering a band at the start of their musical journey is the opportunity to watch them improve, grow and evolve. Man Made are back in their hometown, for what seems like the thousandth time, but I’m not certainly not complaining.
First up is Brighton newcomers Brain Queen, they’ve driven 9 hours to arrive on a drizzly Manchester evening. It’s a good thing more than just their mates have braved the rain to watch them play. Brain Queen naturally emit cheeky and dirty indie, the psych filth of Ty Segall mixed with the obviously English rock of Placebo. Springy guitar riffs and distorted vocals seamlessly delve into cool peaceful indie in the blink of an eye. Brain Queen and their Brighton peers (could have made a pun there but I won’t) are smashing out some of the country’s most exciting proper guitar music at the moment. Their DIY-hyped single ‘Better Off Dead’ is immediately a hit in the room, let’s hope it clicks with everyone else.
Seize The Chair are up next; having already shared the stage with Dredge, Menace Beach and most recently TRAAMS, Seize The Chair should have no problem blowing our socks off. Seize The Chair’s noisy fuzzy psych rock is accompanied by some appropriately trip backdrop visuals; a rainbow river streams calmly as the spirally riffs smash back and forth, the beats that refuse to cease and cause your body to bop slightly in that agitated but eager manner. The crunch of a guitar is overpowered by the booming bass, it’s a shock the speakers just don’t overflow with the levels of delay draped over the vocals. If King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard had only 4 members and had the Northern attitude of lads from Sheffield, you’ve got Seize The Chair. Who could turn down that combination?
Tonight’s show has been a wonderful display of what England has to offer, and it’s topped off with Manchester’s own Man Made. And no, it doesn’t stand for Manchester Made – a question jokingly asked by Brain Queen’s guitarist resulting in a rather stunned silence. Man Made start off with a collection of presumably upcoming album tracks, their debut TV Broke My Brain comes out in less than a month. The whirring riffs and vigorous drums do not tire the band, even though this hometown show is the last of this leg of tour. Absolute troopers.
New single ‘Raining In My Head’ is a belter – melody-driven indie rock at it’s best. The band have mastered the structure of a brilliant song. That’s the truth of it. As a track I’ve heard live more times than I’d care to mention, it still packs as much punch since my first listen. This experience goes for Man Made in general, constantly touring for the past few years, gig after gig, each time more determined to play better and better. ‘Carsick Cars’ to ‘You Never Know How It Feels’, Marr’s sun-kissed guitar tone defines their sound, friendly and welcoming, dragging you frantically into their unstoppable melodies.
Nile Marr is clad in his signature glittery outfit – free glitter was provided on the door if you wanted to join the look. It’s a thing. It flickers and shines in the stage lights, helping the emotive performance of old song ‘Slowdance’. Although the audience isn’t quite connected enough to “put your hands up” as the chorus requests, the sentiment is still there. They stand still and pay close attention until the moment comes to put hands together and applaud the band’s brilliant set so far. Marr does a short speech on the importance of coming out to small venues, as Manchester does seem to be one of the few cities where our music venues are still going strong. To finish off, it’s eponymous album track and killer single ‘TV Broke My Brain’.
Aptly or ironically I’m not quite sure, tipsy members of Brain Queen run to the front attempting, and succeeding to start a mosh pit – finishing the night off with fun and frolics. Man Made remain just as excellent as the last time I saw them. If you can’t see them live, their debut album comes out 15th April via Cobalt Music, that would be a good shout.