By Freddie Bruhin-Price
Some of the finest acts in Britain came to Manchester on Saturday to play at Neighbourhood Festival 2017, attracting thousands of music fans to the city.
Neighbourhood Festival, in its second year of existence, saw venues across Manchester host some of the nation’s biggest acts, alongside some stars of the future. This year’s headliners included Peace, Cabbage, and Declan McKenna, and further down the bill, The Blinders and Northern up-and-comers The Orielles.
Manchester Met’s Student’s Union was the location chosen for Neighbourhood’s launch party, and although it can be disconcerting to walk into a dark room in the middle of the day, from rainy Manchester to what is, for all intents and purposes, a nightclub, it was the perfect venue to kick of the day.
With a schedule running an hour and a half later than billed – the Neighbourhood crowd didn’t seem to mind, with a hubbub of excitement emanating from them stemming from the sight of a harp and glockenspiel on the stage honorary guests Blossoms were about to take to.
Sophie Ellis Bextor was on the stereo, everybody was sober as a judge, wondering what’s going to happen next, and suddenly Blossoms appeared. They performed acoustically as a two-piece, with just Tom Ogden (lead vocalist and guitarist) and Charlie Salt (bassist) from the band playing.
Teaming up with the RNCM Ensemble, Blossoms played ‘Get Away’, ‘My Favourite Room’, ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘For Evelyn’, as their drummer Joe Donovan took pictures of them from the balcony.
The Blossoms lads seemed pretty humble considering the success they have had this past year, as they cracked jokes with the crowd, and there was a very convivial atmosphere.
Over at the Sound Control Basement, The Orielles were very dynamic. Their music is propelled by attack, intent and diversity. In the more sensitive moments in the middle of their set, they really excelled. Originally from Halifax, they are undoubtedly one of the best bands in the North at the moment. Drummer Sid, who works extremely hard, is seen flitting between kit and cowbell with razor-sharp accuracy. As a three piece they make more than enough noise to fill the Sound Control basement. Bassist Esme has a really growling bass tone and her voice impressed the crowd.
New venue The Bread Shed on Grosvenor Street, formerly known as Pub/Zoo, welcomed The Blinders, a three-piece hailing from Doncaster, who arrived wearing all black and satanic makeup. One of the most striking things about the set was the drummer was his ability to stare at the crowd throughout the whole set while playing some pretty heavy drums. The bass player looks like a cross between Steve Buscemi and Nick Cave and the lead singer was pretty good, if a bit shouty, but all together it suited the music. Their sound is very primal, something like Royal Blood without the finesse. The Blinders had the crowd in wild abandon, moshing. It was a very good atmosphere for a gig at half past three on a Saturday afternoon.
Up next were local lads Cabbage playing at the Albert Hall, the venue was getting full, and by the time they finished their first song it was heaving. They played songs from their first four EPs – including crowd favourites ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ and ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester.’
They have been touring all over Europe recently, and working incredibly hard, and their Manchester return saw them put in a fantastic shift. Vocalist/guitarist Joe Martin was in good voice, delivering an excellent version of ‘Terrorist Synthesizer.’
Cabbage are always a good spectacle. Principles don’t change the times, personalities do, and Cabbage’s individual and collective personalities are what make them arguably the most exciting live prospect in England right now.
By the second song the whole crowd was moving. A Cabbage crowd is full of carnage, and the atmosphere was one of anarchy. It was a fitting end to a day which had seen Manchester overrun with music fans from around the country.
Following the event, fans were swarming Twitter proclaiming the success of the event. Fingers crossed Neighbourhood will be back once again this time next year.
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