LIVE REVIEW: Larkins at Band On The Wall, Manchester

Reputation unblemished, the soaring expectations set by Larkins for their homecoming live show – after a heavy summer of festivals and tours of Germany, and the UK – are at rocket level.

Having not played a hometown headline since the pivotal sell-out at Gorilla in February, the prospect of the indie pop four-piece alone is enough to conjure a buzz in the legendary Manchester venue.

The night is opened by local boys, Matter Of Mind, whose set manifests a solid alternative rock boot to kick-start the show.

They are followed by Indigo Velvet, who use their free-flowing performance to fuse a harmony of folk and funk, showering the dancing front rows in indie pop sparkle. The Edinburgh quartet work to twist and shake overcast Manchester into a Caribbean beach with folk chops and calypso drops.

Indigo Velvet throw tropical moves with singles ‘Mona’ and ‘Easy Love’, as they deal the adolescent audience backing vocal responsibility. It’s not the last to be heard from the young Scotsmen, set to play their own momentous hometown headline at Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh in December, via a return to Manchester at Night & Day Café on November 4. 

The stage is set for Larkins’ return. The capacity crowd is a hub of energy, as the hotshot four take to the stage and harmonise into the fluid freedom of latest single, ‘Sugar Sweet’. It’s satisfyingly under-tempo. Lax and chill, with stomach-kicked bass, it signals a special show, as the band slam to a finish, before kicking back in for crowd-jolt delights.

They cover the stage with a confidence supreme. Its theirs from the off, physically imposing themselves on the historic turf with natural height and swagger. Larkins shape and craft a fusion insatiable, as ‘Blind’s’ funk licks facilitate tastes of the vintage venue’s jazz roots.

They drag the smile-laden crowd twisted and shouting through a journeying setlist, as ‘The Tale of Cassandra’ activates singalongs and shuffles, while stand-out jam track ‘Velvet’ summons up an angry carnivore sipping a cocktail, unleashed to the sweet screams of Dom Want’s guitar solo.

More than anything, their live performance Pollock-splashes a collage of genre, as they tumble gutsy rock tremors into sensual funk, resonating with The Meters while styling their own sonic distinctiveness.

Every track is a sugary treat; as the set conclusion, a combination of ‘Wasted Years’ and ‘Sapphire’ paint pictures and unwrap gifts with shimmery guitared ambience, and bulldozer drums and bass which platform glistening vocal harmony shine.

The band leaves the stage, before towering frontman, Josh Noble returns for a bitter sweet acoustic performance of ‘Let Your Hair Down’, triggering the final hurrah of encore track ‘Hit and Run’.

Larkins’ storming story is still perhaps embryonic, however having come so far to have performances such as this under their belt, one may only dream of where they can go.

Larkins are confirmed to appear at Ramsbottom’s Head for the Hills festival, taking to the stage on 15th September 2017. Tickets are on sale now.

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