Last night (Saturday 22nd Feb) saw Gullivers host Manchester’s finest Puppet Rebellion and their EP launch gig along with a whole slew of other excellent bands. The venue was packed to the rafters and I can safely say we all had a blast.
For days, weeks, even months leading up to this night the buzz surrounding the gig had been increasing tenfold from the bands that were playing to the fans attending, we all knew it would be something special and it really was. When you’ve got such a solid line up like this though it’s impossible not to be hyped about the prospect of it.
Opening the night, was one of our favourites here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies, the bearded singing wonder that is David Liversidge and of course like you come to expect from this fellow, a passionate, upbeat, melodious set followed. With a plethora of pedals at his feet and an acoustic guitar in his hands, he can create some of the most beautiful and emotionally driven songs I’ve heard. For the whole of his set, there were two men stood in pride of place directly in front of Liversidge who were donning fake beards just for the occasion, as an ode to the man himself. Liversidge bantering with them said “It gets warm with these beards, doesn’t it?”and thanked them for partly making his dream come true, as he said he’s always wanted to make a music video with a room full of people with beards, so he was pretty impressed with them.
He can make such an impact on an audience with just the power of his impeccable songwriting, friendly and charismatic presence and THAT voice. He has a falsetto that could stop trains on their tracks. There’s so much passion and emotion in his voice and performance that you can’t help but be swept away by it, he literally puts you in a trance.
David Liversidge Set List: 1- Take My Hand, 2- Far From Home, 3- Another Way, 4- Millie and Me, 5- The Voice, 6- Art Cafe, 7- Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac cover)
But most of all, his set is really fun, you can always guarantee after you’ve seen a live set from David Liversidge, you’ll have a smile firmly on your face, His set is filled with contrast from sing-a-long, melodious moments with songs like Art Cafe, The Voice and Another Way, which create a ray of sunshine in a dark room. Then, you’ve got more personal, delicate moments from songs like Millie and Me, which is an absolute stunner, it was a stand out moment of his set for sure. A great way to open the night.
The Wax Collection was the only band on the bill that I didn’t already know much about, so for me, they were the wild card and they really surprised me. Their set was a great segway from Mr. Liversidge, a solo acoustic performer to the introduction of the full band set up and a much fuller sound. Their set had all the peaks and troughs you could wish for, it was full of melodious tunes with enough groove to get you dancing and moving, and it had quieter moments that had you swaying and deeply fixed on the band.
When watching this band it immediately comes clear that they have a tight stage presence and solid catalogue of songs. They have a diverse sound of what they call “Lolloping, semi-psyche bourbon-beat-folk”, their sound is arguably very much influenced by the music scene of the 60’s, you can hear some hints of The Kinks and The Beatles coming through in their music, which is great in my eyes. There’s a real sense when watching this band that they have the potential and ability to breakthrough and become megastars, all I can say is their set takes you on a real musical journey.
Somerset’s alt rock darlings, The Darlingtons, were up next. I think it’s safe to say opening your set with a new song that will be virtually unknown to anyone is not only a bold move, but it’s ambitious, the song was their upcoming single, Rotations, and it sounded large, definitely one to be on the look out for. The Darlingtons from the get go showed this crowd their game changing and fearless nature equally in good measure and it worked sooo well. I was expecting an epic show from The Darlingtons after having previously seen them live before and knowing that they have a game changing live presence, but frankly they went even further than I thought could be possible. I think to even attempt to describe their set is impossible, you just can’t do it justice, it’s one of those things you just have to experience for yourself to fully grasp it, but I’m going to try.
The Darlingtons Set List: 1- Rotations, 2- Ships at Sea, 3- Don’t Give Me Hope, 4- A Song For Someone Else In Time, 5- Everything, 6- Watch Yourself, 7- Sirens and Flashing Lights
They are like juggernauts when they take to the stage, a performance from this band is never uneventful. They have a fury inside of them that they just seem to let out and uncage in their live sets. They have so much energy to give off, it’s impossible as an audience not to feel that and reciprocate that back at them. Like Interpol and White Lies do so well, The Darlingtons also take melancholy and flip it on it’s head, their lyricism may be moody and downbeat but the melodies are raucous and uplifting, it is the catalyst that sparks that energy and euphoria. One thing I can’t stress enough is how tight as a unit this band are, even though each one of them is equally enthralling on their own, as a unit they are unstoppable. They bounce off each other and take cue from each other: at the core you’ve got Chris on drums, then to his right you’ve got Alex on bass and on the left you’ve got Dan on lead guitar, and then finally Kiran at the centre, his sonorous vocals echoed out across the room making it easy to loose where you where for a second or two. The crowd couldn’t get enough of them, the atmosphere was rampant and wild.
The wall of sound coming from the stage swallowed the room whole, The Darlingtons have a fiery stage presence and they are literally fearless on stage. I don’t think anyone could’ve anticipated what was about to hit them before they took to the stage and it proved to be a totally magnificent performance from this young band, to say they took the night to another level is an understatement. A great precursor to the night’s hosts and headliners, the mighty Puppet Rebellion.
By the time Puppet Rebellion was about to go on, the heat in the room was intense and the crowd were elated and well up for it. A wave of cheers and applause surrounded the room, as they hit the stage. Opening the set with fan favourite, Chemical Friends, they had everyone’s attention immediately, a whole frenzy of dancing and singing followed. Front man, Simon Monaghan emerged amongst a sea of people, standing on anything that he could find, just so people could get a glimpse of him from the back of the room.
He went on to state that this was the “first gig we’ve put on ourselves” and to see that kind of reception from the crowd was amazing, it was a completely sold out show and it just affirmed why Puppet Rebellion are local heroes. Moving on to Pirouette the energy didn’t dip one bit, next was Cupboards Painted Red which took a slight change of pace, this heartfelt, mellow number was exactly what people needed, as Monaghan belts out “I’m broken, so can you help me, can you help me, can you help me?” it was one of the most intense and magnificent moments of the night, one that will stick with me forever.
Puppet Rebellion Set List: 1- Chemical Friends, 2- Pirouette, 3- Cupboards Painted Red, 4- The New Twenty, 5- Loner In Disguise, 6- Time To Lie, 7- Green Eyed Monster, 8- Tame Imposter, 9- The Greatest Lie Ever Told
With the closing line of The New Twenty “and you might get invited to younger days, no one can bring you down”, Monaghan cemented “and we’re gonna prove that tonight aren’t we, you old f*ckers!” just showing the light hearted banter that becomes accustom to a Puppet Rebellion show. Despite the intense heat that was circling in the room everyone was on top form, the band and the crowd, the atmosphere couldn’t be beat. Later on in the set, they treated us to a brand new song called Time To Lie, it sounded great, definitely one to be on the look out for, a good addition to the set.
Green Eyed Monster brought the energy back up, Simon mid way through the song stands to the side as he lets Paul and Craig take centre stage for a guitar solo. Simon stated adamantly that he hates encores but the rest of the band outvoted him so he couldn’t argue with that, and they finished on their staple song, The Greatest Lie Ever Told. Which was the night’s anthem, people took to people’s shoulders, there was an uproar of clapping, cheering, jumping, fists went up in the air, people even joining in on the action on stage, basically just total madness let loose, and it was a full on love fest, it was the perfect end to an amazing night. Puppet Rebellion showed us exactly why they are the best band in Manchester.
Puppet Rebellion succeeded in not only putting together arguably one of the best line up’s I’ve seen in a while, with some of the best talent from around the UK, but they did it in style. Making it almost like a family affair as such, they love to connect with their fans and do so at every opportunity they can. So, in true form they continued the night over at South nightclub for the after party and took everyone that was willing along with them. It’s nice to see a band that cares and doesn’t put barriers between themselves and their fans, it’s all about camaraderie for Puppet Rebellion.
You can catch Puppet Rebellion next in Manchester at the Academy 3 on 19th April 2014, tickets are available here for the pocket friendly price of £8.
For more info on the bands, check out the following links below.