LIVE PREVIEW: Neighbourhood Festival 2019

It’s that time of year again, as we reach the end of September the UK’s Northern climate becomes increasingly more seasonal, outdoor living starts to feel less practical, so we retreat indoors, and fill the hallowed spaces of cosy back rooms with renewed warmth. Just as festival season appears to be over for another term, the reemergence of gig season kicks off and its business as usual. Back again for another day-long shindig of live music and commune, Manchester’s Neighbourhood Festival will once more ignite the city in a bustling panorama of sound, vision and atmosphere, to the concertos of over 100 artists. The multi-venue festival returns for its annual get together on Saturday, 12th of October.

Occupying 15 of the city’s most beloved and eclectic venues, ticket holders will experience a collection of varied dwellings which incorporate fully-stocked bars and eateries, perfect for mid-afternoon socialising or late-night merriment. With each venue offering a distinct mood and custom decor, there’s much more than music to keep your interests piqued, from student boozers to reliable purpose-built establishments, to the echoey charm of repurposed refinement. This year’s roster includes Manchester Academy, Manchester Academy 2, O2 Ritz, Gorilla, Albert Hall, Deaf Institute, Yes The Pink Room (18+), Yes Basement (18+), The Bread Shed, Revolution Oxford Road, Night People (18+), The Refuge, Thirsty Scholar (18+) and Zombie Shack (18+).

Onto the music. Big draws of festival include Miles Kane and The Sherlocks, both of which will assuredly bring headline sets to cap off the event in style. Further filling out the primetime slots are Neighbourhood veterans Yonaka, indie rock icons The Twang, forever-polarising chaos crew Fat White Family and local indie-pop heroes Larkins. The extent of notable bookings reaches far beyond what we can reference in list form but here are a few more: The Big Moon, The Blinders, VANT, Snapped Ankles, Easy Life, Ten Tonnes, Sports Team, The Academic… the list goes on.

Focussing on the new and emerging segment of Neighbourhood’s confirmed artist roster, we highlight a few acts to invest in. Scroll down to hear a portion of their sonic output so far, alongside a few words on why each of these artists should be mainstays in your schedule.

Working Men’s Club

Post punk meets new wave meets drum machine, take a few teens from the Calder Valley and unite them under the banner, Working Men’s Club. Since launching at the top of 2019 with debut single, ‘Bad Blood’ – a groover of tight mechanics and insistent melody – WMC’s trailblazing ascent from local unknowns to national flag-bearers is symbolic of the music community’s yearning for bold, bracing sounds as well as testament to the group’s inimitable talent. The country-wide recognition that has befallen them is just the icing on the cake. Catch the band performing at this year’s NBHD for an up-to-date slice of glorious optimism.

Sick Joy

These Brighton fuzz-rockers keep the spirit of grunge alive via grisly spells of distorted sonic overdrive and husky, strung-out lyric lines. The cuts hit hard and fast, and go down like fizzy pop (full of spirit and bubbles aplenty, not a touch of deflation). Their recent EP, Them Days shows the band at their most free and confident embodiment, every moment feels alive and true without sacrificing the viscerality of its impact. We’ll definitely be waiting upfront for this one, hope to see you there. Catch y’all in the mosh pit.

Mirror Fury

For all lo-fi lovers, Mirror Fury brings ambience and to-the-bone storytelling. It’s a family affair with added expanse, headed up by Carina Bragg on vocals and songwriting duties, alongside Beaudine Bragg and Ed Thomas. Together they create a poignant vision, blending piano ballad form with broader strokes of full production and rapturing voice. We expect a lot of new material will be unveiled during their NBHD set, since the majority of their music dates back to 2017. An exciting prospect.

The Goa Express

This Lancashire-bred band settles on a timeless garage-psych fusion of classicisms and modernity, a listen to their recently dropped single ‘The Day’ reveals sprite energy and new wave euphorics alongside reams of vibrant, elastic instrumentation. Fast-moving synth lines zip between the rambunctious bedlam of a heady rhythm section and raging, raw riffery, it’s beautifully chaotic and wonderfully alive. And just a taste of what The Goa Express have been cooking up behind the scenes, the live show promises excitement, highs and much anticipation. A must see.

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

Cardiff-hailing Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard reimagine ’70s rock, blistering and sun dappled. Recent single, ‘Love Forever’ is a hazy, blitzed-by-reverb gem. They take the intricate route preferring substance over flash, opting for a softer pace of delivery which allows the ‘song’ to really breathe and connect on a deeper level than most rock of today. They’ve already accumulated quite the catalogue of songs (and caught the ear(s) of Miles Kane and Noel Gallagher) so expect a brimming dose of professionalism, along with a killer stage show. Simple and pleasing, two cornerstones of quality music.

Sophie and the Giants

A rousing group that endorses unity rather than discordance, songs like ‘Break the Silence’ and ‘The Light’ vocalise meaningful messages through powerful alt-pop musicality. The young four-piece show their maturity through lyrics that illustrate an active sense of worldly awareness: political, personal, and otherwise. With a live show that commands attention, the band’s slot at NBHD is guaranteed at the very least, to be busy, if not fully subscribed. Highlight this set ahead of time, we suspect it’ll provide inspiring motivation for the day/night that follows.

Be Charlotte

With a message as pure as the glistening pop music she makes, Dundee-born Charlotte Brimner offers a bright alternative to the monotony we often hear in the charts. Her songs encourage listeners to find their inner strength by revealing autobiographical details that act as unflinching reference points of touching resonance. Baring all in her lyrics, the surrounding instrumentation doesn’t have to try too hard, but it is in fact packed with hooky elements and modern sensibilities, her vocals tie everything together and ultimately sound like clouds of velvet. Be Charlotte’s immersive confessionals are just the palette cleanser you need when faced with back-to-back rock, punk and indie music. Be there.

Neighbourhood Festival returns to Manchester’s city centre on Saturday 12th October. For further information and ticket details visit NBHD’s website, here.

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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