Manchester’s city-wide music festival Neighbourhood, hosted by some of Manchester’s best venues, including The Albert Hall, O2 Ritz, Deaf Institute, and Sound Control, returned for it’s second year on Saturday. Over 100 artists and bands played at the one-day event, which last year saw Blossoms, Circa Waves, Liam Fray, Twin Atlantic, The Sherlocks, The Pigeon Detectives and many more take to the stages. This year’s headliners included indie favourites Peace, and Ratboy at The Albert Hall, whilst other venues were home to stellar fresh acts such as Vistas (blog faves xxx), Superfood, Black Honey, and The Amazons. Here’s who I managed to catch at NBHD 2017 – enjoy x
The Bread Shed was emptier than I thought it’d be for Scottish trio The Xcerts, although looking back I’ve noticed that their set clashed with Peace‘s ‘comeback’ set at the Albert Hall so I’d imagine many of the other acts also unfortunate enough to be on between 4 and 5 were in the same boat. Regardless, The Xcerts still put on a high energy performance to a crowd who clearly have their priorities sorted. Frontman Murray MacLeod‘s vocals were absolutely insane, particularly towards the end of Feels Like Falling In Love – dreamy. They also played a yet to be released track titled First Kiss Feeling from their upcoming sophomore album Hold On To Your Heart, set for release in January 2018, and from what we’ve heard so far I have no doubts that it’ll be sensational. Seeing a set from The Xcerts felt like falling in love (sorry, i’ll show myself the door) – and I’m very very ready to do it all over again soon pls x
The Xcerts were also featured in my July Music Favourites post, which you can read here
I’d heard mixed reviews about this London alt-pop foursome before seeing them and very nearly didn’t go, a decision I feel I would have definitely regretted. I’d listened to their album The Loved Ones once or twice and really enjoyed a couple of songs but never really gave them much attention other than that. The Deaf Institute on Grosvenor Street (the coolest little venue ever btw) was packed for Flyte, who’s set got better and better as they settled into it. Highlights include two girls who were holding hands and jumping about together under the massive disco ball to Cathy Come Home, whilst a couple across the room grabbed each others faces and belted out the lyrics to each another. One thing I can confidently say is that nobody, absolutely nobody, does harmonies like Flyte, the vocals of Will Taylor, Jon Supran, Nick Hill, and Sam Berridge are equally rich and textured each blending magically, particularly in their acapella performance of Archie, Marry Me.
Flyte also featured in my August Music Favourite post, which you can read here x
Ethan Barnett, better known as Ten Tonnes, was meant to be next – but he was on in the same venue as Superfood meaning the queue was ridiculously long and riddled me with anxiety. I was a little gutted, but I’d have had to leave his set super early to get to Vistas on time anyway so I guess it kind of all worked out. However, I have seen Ten Tonnes a few times now and he’s been featured on my blog a lot over the last year or so, so definitely catch him live if you can because he’s crazy talented. His latest EP released in early July is full of bangers, and he recently released new track Cracks Between which was featured in my September Music Favourites post which you can read here x
It’s no secret that I utterly adore Edinburgh foursome Vistas, they’ve been featured in many of my previous posts and I’ve seen them live numerous times. Firstly, it was very, very strange to go from seeing Vistas play packed, sold out venues back home such as The Mash House and Liquid Rooms, to seeing them play Manchester’s Bread Shed today, a far emptier venue. Manchester, you’re missing out. Big time. Whilst it did fill up as the set went on, it was very strange to actually have space around me at a Vistas gig. The emptier venue meant that the crowd wasn’t as bouncy as usual, nor was I surrounded by people belting out the lyrics, but my Edinburgh favourites still gave their all and it was another fun filled, high energy performance on their part. It’s still insane to think they only formed just over a year ago now. I was at their first gig at Bannerman’s in Edinburgh so this set in particular definitely made me incredibly proud, but the homesickness was also REAL, and I feel informed enough to now say that nowhere does live music quite like Scotland. I have no doubts that if Vistas continue at the rate they’re going (which let’s face it, they show no real signs of slowing down), then Manchester will soon catch on and realise what they’re missing.
Leeds quartet Marsicans had without a doubt the sweatiest, bounciest, and busiest gig of the day at Factory 251. Their set had to be cut short as they started 20 minutes late for whatever reason, something I was initially a little annoyed at but their set more than made up for it in the end. Marsicans were first brought to my attention by a friend last year and I’d been itching to see them ever since. If you have the opportunity to go to a Marsicans gig – GO. I cannot stress how much fun their live shows are. Their set at Factory 251 was the perfect finale for Neighbourhood Fest. Even if they didn’t play Swimming.
And so Neighbourhood Festival 2017 came to a close and it was possibly one of the best last minute decisions I’ve ever made. One day of live music has fully reminded me why a career in the music industry is what I want, and totally reignited my passion for writing about it, something I’d lost a little over the last few months. Although this year’s line up wasn’t the strongest, and it seems the few acts I really did want to see were all on around the same times so the clashes were ridiculous, I still had the best time at each set I went to. Everyone in each venue was incredibly friendly and the staff were helpful and informed, something which is often lacking at a lot of festivals. It was also great to live right in the middle of some of the city’s best venues – it meant I could dash home between acts to get warm and down a lemon fanta before running out the door again to get to another set.
Neighbourhood 2017, you were great. x