LIVE REVIEW: Scruff of the Neck Records Pop-Up Festival, Sale

Scruff of the Neck introduced us to their pop-up festival this time last year and what a lovely day it was, for all the low-down on what happened last year head here. This year’s festival proved to be even bigger and even better than last year’s. Scruff of the Neck proved just what you can achieve with a great line up, a good location and a heart full of passion for the music of emerging and under-the-radar musicians.

It’s safe to say that this year’s festival fell on the most erratic of day’s weather-wise. Starting the day off with rain and lots of it, but that didn’t stop the festival from going on, oh no! Bear in mind though, I only got to experience some of the bands that were playing on the day, there were plenty of other great acts on over the course of the day that aren’t featured below, but that are still worth checking out.  Particularly, the likes of Skinny RollerThe FeversJohn Ainsworth and Matt Fryers.

The Loose Cut

First up was the newly-formed, The Loose Cut, from Leeds. The band were one man down but still managed to prevail over the sodden backdrop of the festival, giving us something rather special. The Loose Cut is the product of the two founding members of The Scandal, alongside an addition of two new members.

After rising from the ashes of The Scandal, we are introduced to the new, leaner sprouting of The Loose Cut, giving us a clean jolt of smoky blues rock. It’s clear that this transition has refuelled them with a new-found sense of drive and creativity, showcasing lots of new material in their set. You can’t help but be proud of this band, when you’ve followed their progress for the past few years, to see them realise their full potential is very satisfying and something quite powerful to see.

The band have found their stride even more so in their new formation with a heavy artillery of new songs and a real growth to their sound, expect big things to come from The Loose Cut.

The Loose Cut Set List: 1- Untitled new song, 2- Soul, 3- Loose Cut (working title), 4- Untitled new song, 5 – Black Rope, 6- Come Around

Mercury Field

Manchester’s Mercury Field returned to the festival for the second time gaving us another stellar live set. The sheer ferocity of their music rippled off the stage sending the crowd into a dancing frenzy, fronted by the ever-charming, Josh Jones, they are in good hands.

Mercury Field presented a masterclass in unadulterated rock, delivering stone-cold, riotous rhythms with a heap of passion and energy, they had everyone eating out of the palm of their hands. Ending in style with ‘Anti-Fragile’ complete with a front row of raised middle fingers, as he sang “So where the f**k is your revolution?” empowering the young crowd.

Mercury Field Set List: 1- Voices, 2- Pleasant Apathy, 3- Gloves Are Off, 4- Stolen Drone, 5- Anti-Fragile

Alastair James Dickie

Local singer/songwriter Alastair James Dickie gave us a set brimming with rich blues melodies and sweet vocals. A particular highlight had to be one of his original songs ‘Colour & Noise’ which showcased Alastair’s intelligent songwriting and sumptuous, warm vocal harmonies courtesy of some excellent loop pedal work.

Now I’ve seen Alastair live a fair few times and what we experienced at the festival was surely his best show to date. There’s a new sense of refinement to his set that works wonders, and his sunny persona is just enough to make you forget about the rain pouring down around you.

Alastair James Dickie Set List: 1- Colour & Noise, 2- 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Richard Thompson cover), 3- Dear Delta, 4- Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits cover)

The Reveurs

Manchester’s The Reveurs are a band that I’ve been wanting to catch live for quite some time now and I wasn’t disappointed. The Reveurs have already gained a steady following of dedicated fans across Manchester and further afield. They are still quite a new band, only having formed last year, but with the release of their début self-titled EP and a few tracks on the SOTN mixtape, they have some solid tunes behind them.

If you think their recorded material is good, well you have see their live set, it’s immense. The songs come to life in a fury of fiery indie rock, with tracks like ‘Shade of Grey’ and ‘Control’ it’s easy to see why. The thrills come in fast and heavy, their energy flows right off the stage and hits you right were it hurts. The band were met with a warm reception from the happy crowd, the fact that sun also decided to rear it’s head for their set, made it even sweeter.

The Reveurs Set List: 1- Hide and Seek , 2- Escapology , 3- Shade Of Grey, 4- Afterglow, 5- Saint Marie, 6- Control


Sheffield’s Polkadodge are a welcome delight, another band that I had yet to experience live but had heard lots of positive things about. They charged ahead with a slurry of streamlined indie anthems, which made for a polished live set and it created a lot of excitement within the crowd. Frenetic guitars, thundering drums and feverous bass make for an all-out dance party.

The band are heading to Tramlines festival next week, gracing the stage at the magnificent Leadmill. It’s just a matter of time before this band head out of the shadows and into mainstream success, I have faith that it will happen.

Polkadodge Set List: 1- The Other Way, 2- Borderline, 3- Natural Heat, 4- Fever, 5- Sing, 6- Laughing In Spanish

David Liversidge

Next up was our favourite local singer/songwriter, David Liversidge. With a 4-song set, it can be quite difficult to perfectly convey all the sides to your live performance but what David Liversidge showed us is that it is possible and it can be done with such ease and finesse.

Now I’m no stranger to a live set from this singer/songwriter, but what keeps me going back is his outright passion for his craft and of course, his insanely addictive tunes. He puts everything he’s got into his performances and because of that, you always know no matter what he’ll bring a good show.

His exuberant and joyful persona always shines and his songs come to life in fluorescent hues, which are all good signs of a successful live act which Liversidge is. He closed his set with his staple cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’, always the crowd pleaser and it proved once again triumphant, ensuing in an all-out sing-a-long with the full capacity crowd. The thing about a Liversidge set is that you always end up leaving with a smile on your face, it’s uplifting, it’s good fun and it keeps you wanting more.

David Liversidge Set List: 1- Another Way, 2- Far From Home, 3- The Voice, 4- Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac cover)

Manchester’s King Kartel were up next with their arena-ready sound. This band fit perfect with a festival setting, they came to life and stormed the audience with an all-out indie dance party.

Next week, they are heading to the biggest new festival around these parts, Blackthorn Music Festival playing on the Friday, opening the festival. It promises to be a good time with King Kartel’s rush of anthemic indie rock and tight live set, it’s something that you don’t want to miss out on, trust me.

King Kartel Set List: 1- Shine On Me, 2- Inkjet Paper Dreams, 3- Superficial, 4- Run, 5- Not Done Fighting, 6- Gunslinger, 7- Attack Dog

Glass Caves

Yorkshire’s indie guitar four-piece, Glass Caves are a band I’ve been hearing a lot about around the webosphere for a while now, but never had the pleasure of sitting down and listening to, until now. The band came to the attention of Scruff of the Neck through a chance meeting when the band were out busking in Manchester and immediately caught their attention, and booked them for their début Manchester gig.

Glass Caves delivered a confident and tight set revealing a band with a lot of potential and ample stage prowess. They looked so comfortable up on that stage that their set passed by too quickly. Armed and readied with a catalogue of slick, indie anthems, they are on to a winner already and their vocal harmonies are to die for. There’s no question that they are a band with a very bright future ahead of them, if they catch all the right breaks.

Glass Caves Set List: 1- Why Stay, 2- Tonight, 3- Driving Home, 4- Breaking Out, 5- Out Of Control

The Nankeens

The sun was on its last legs, but the crowd were in good spirits, as The Nankeens took to the stage, smashing through crowd favourites and indie classics like ‘I’m Not Playing’ and recent SOTN release ‘Scenester’. The Nankeens are completely in their element up on stage, commanding respect instantly and in turn, gaining a lot of love from the crowd.

The Nankeens make it look so easy, gaining the crowd’s full attention in mere seconds, they had them in the palm of their hands for the whole set. A band that have already built up a strong, dedicated army of fans and understandably the reason for this being that they have the material and the live show to back it up. A victorious set from Manchester’s finest.

The Nankeens Set List: 1- Waiting, 2- Rules, 3- What Goes Around, 4- Whispers Down The Phone, 5- I’m Not Playing, 6- Breaking Bad, 7- Scenester

The Slow Readers Club

Our headliners were the mighty The Slow Readers Club and in true SRC fashion, they proved why their music is clearly meant to be heard in places much further than our ears in Manchester with their arena-ready back catalogue and sensational new tracks, they have everything they need to succeed in this industry.

The pulsing energy of a SRC live show always gets you dancing and moving, and with powerful lyricism to back it up and melodic excellence, it’s hard to find fault with this band. Lyrically, as a listener, you’re torn apart inside, it’s that sweet disposition of nostalgic familiarity mixed with a deep sense of longing and melancholy. Making for the perfect combination in my eyes.

A SRC set leaves you invigorated and ready to take on the world with open arms, there’s not many bands that can do this and they achieve it every time. This band define what it means to be a live band, simply magnificent to watch.

The Slow Readers Club Set List: 1- Sirens , 2- Fool For Your Philosophy, 3- Days Like This Will Break Your Heart, 4- Don’t Mind, 5- Start Again, 6- Forever In Your Debt, 7- Feet On Fire, 8- One More Minute

Scruff of the Neck managed to pull together a line up that showcased the very best of Manchester’s music scene and they also brought us the best new talent from neighbouring cities – Sheffield and Leeds.

Links Section:

The Loose Cut Links: Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

Mercury Field Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

Alastair James Dickie Links: Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

The Reveurs Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

Polkadodge Links: Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

David Liversidge Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

King Kartel Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

Glass Caves Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

The Nankeens Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

The Slow Readers Club Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Soundcloud

Scruff of the Neck Records Links: Website . Facebook . Twitter

Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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