The last time I saw Swim Deep was when they supported Spector here in Manchester, in November of last year at the very same venue that they headlined last night. But since then Swim Deep have played numerous headline gigs in Manchester at venues like the Soup Kitchen and The Deaf Institute and with the release of their début album, Where The Heaven Are We? Swim Deep are the band on everybody’s lips nowadays and I can safely say, after seeing them live before I knew that we were in for a treat and last night’s gig was no disappointment.
First up was Circa Waves, who currently are quite elusive online but they assure us that new music will become available very soon. This Liverpool band are quite exciting really, with a surfy indie edge to their music, they made a rainy day in Manchester seem like the middle of summer. They have a sharp stage presence and flew through their set with ease, they are effortlessly cool and I bet this time next year they will be the band on everyone’s lips. All I can say is whoever didn’t turn up early, really missed out on a great band.
London’s indie darlings Wolf Alice brought their blend of stylish grunge rock n’ roll to Manchester as well. This tour with Swim Deep is quite a significant step for Wolf Alice to make, as they have travelled to Manchester before on their own headlining tour earlier this year, but they have never played a venue of this size and magnitude before, so it was quite special really to witness their ‘coming of age’ in a way.
With the success of their previous single Fluffy and subsequent single, Bros and the hype surrounding their upcoming EP, Blush, out 7th October. They are standing on solid ground and are ready to be launched into mainstream success any day now. By the time Wolf Alice were taking to the stage, the room was filling up quite nicely and there was an air of anticipation for what was to come from band of the moment, Wolf Alice. When Wolf Alice graced the stage, they received a welcoming reception from the crowd, just one song in and it was already a love fest, a theme that continued on throughout the night, “You’re amazing Manchester!” the band were made up to see such a positive response from the Manchester crowd.
The band have a very energetic and fiery stage presence, there’s no doubt at all that this came through in their closing number, Fluffy, a personal favourite of mine. The set also featured songs like crowd fave, Bros, “grab your friend and have a dance” and new single, Blush, which was just the icing on the cake for me, a delicate song that’s fragile and atmospheric. The only question that was on my lips is why they chose to sing mostly lesser known tracks than opt for ones that they knew would get a big response from the crowd, but nonetheless Wolf Alice played a blinder of a set. Their set was really the definition of ‘all killer, no filler’.
After two great support acts, it was finally time for Swim Deep to join in on the fun. By the time Swim Deep were to take the stage the room was packed and for a mid-week show that’s pretty good going. Swim Deep appeared from out of a red green haze to greet the excitement of many happy fans. The crowd were immediately energised and ready to go. Opening with Francisco, it was a lovely way to start their headline set off with, next up was Honey which was met with a surge of applause, a track that perfectly sums up Swim Deep in one: sun soaked, dreamy indie pop. After a couple of great album tracks, we were treated to a surprise cover of Cyndi Lauper’s, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, it was a sing-a-long moment for all of us.
Their colourful set continued on with The Sea, which received the biggest reception so far, it all kicked off during the climax of the song, and everyone went wild. The party vibe continued on throughout the rest of their set, After the madness of The Sea, Austin exclaimed “Manchester we can definitely call you our second home”. The love is mutual. I think the band and audience were both feeding off each others energy by this point. Next up was She Changes the Weather which closed their set, that was a very special moment, out came the lighters and the atmosphere was magical. Just before they left the stage Austin said “One second, thank you very much” and they left the stage for their encore.
They came back on stage and surprised us all with a lovely duet with tour buddies, Wolf Alice. Swim Deep closed the night right with King City. The crowd went wild and confetti erupted from the stage, the atmosphere was electric, it really did feel like a home coming, the band felt it and the crowd definitely did. I think everyone felt like they had experienced something pretty special and magical. The whole night was a triumph in my eyes. I left the gig feeling pretty pleased with myself that I was able to be apart of such a gig and my head was full to Honey, it’s definitely a song that sticks with you. This show having been bumped up to The Ritz from the Academy 3, and having witnessed the gig really cemented the reason why.
Swim Deep’s Where the Heaven Are We? tour rolls on throughout September across the UK, there are still tickets available for some of the dates so get them quick if you don’t want to miss out.