Home Alternative Music Neck Of The Woods Pageant 2023 – Pageant Evaluate

Neck Of The Woods Pageant 2023 – Pageant Evaluate

Neck Of The Woods Pageant 2023 – Pageant Evaluate


Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival ReviewNeck Of The Woods Pageant
eighth July 2023

It’s time for the second Neck Of The Woods Pageant, a joint effort from Ruth Murray of WeAreManchester and Sam Brunt of SM Presents. With 18 bands showing, Louder Than Warfare determined it was a two-man job and despatched Iain Key and Robin Boardman alongside to cowl the 11 hour occasion.

Final yr’s NOTW, held on eleventh June 2022, was blessed with a gorgeously sunny day; bands performed on each indoor and out of doors phases and there was a family-friendly vibe as individuals sat outdoors and loved a few beers and listened to what was taking place. Sadly, the climate gods should not wanting down kindly this yr that means that, while there’s an outdoor ‘stage’, it isn’t actually potential to have an excessive amount of occurring, particularly because the heavens have been forecast to, and did, open on quite a few events all through the day.

This implies all however three of the musical acts play in the principle perform room making issues extra focussed, which is optimistic from the turnovers between bands typically being tighter and working to time; though when there are occasional technical points, they’re extra obvious. Clearly, with Louder Than Warfare being there for the total occasion, we see all the pieces, warts and all, which anybody coming alongside to see their favorite band might not or wouldn’t discover. There can be some learnings that the organisers will take from the occasion, nevertheless, we’re right here to take a look at the combination of contemporary expertise and legends in attendance and positively to not discover fault.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review
City Concept

Outerlines have the honour of getting proceedings underway and anybody anticipating a pleasant, mild begin to the Saturday afternoon is in for a impolite awakening, with a loud twin guitar assault and pounding drums blasting out. This can be a hard-edged indie rock sound from the 4 younger lads who embrace a greater than respectable cowl of Kasabian’s Hearth to set ears ringing for the remainder of the day.

They’re shortly adopted by City Concept who final yr carried out as an acoustic set. They’re considered one of a few acts who’re enjoying in Levenshulme and elsewhere at this time, that means that we’re handled to an early set from a band who usually headline occasions. Sadly, being on so early means individuals are nonetheless arriving so that they don’t pull the viewers they deserve and there are literally extra photographers snapping at one level than punters watching. Not that this bothers the band, as all the time they ship a good post-punk set with a Manchester affect.

Brash, beardy and cheerful Manchester-based storage rock band with an excellent sized following, Sunset Hounds, are subsequent; one other four-piece with guitars to the fore and riffs aplenty. Mixing the tempo and types, they create a celebration ambiance and get the enthusiastic viewers transferring. One of many bands we’d been wanting ahead to watching is Furrowed Forehead; an inventive put up/proto-punk cabaret band who ship summary, usually off-kilter mini-operas. There’s a lot to unpack of their quick set and so many influences equivalent to The Fall (apologies, that’s lazy); Sparks; Public Picture Ltd in addition to Jilted John backed by some primal drumming, guitar, bass and awash with synths. It’s unimaginable to seize the efficiency in a number of strains, however we’d extremely advocate trying out their recorded work in addition to taking the chance to see them dwell. We actually intend to.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review
Furrowed Forehead

The primary of at this time’s acts on the surface stage is Canadian singer/guitarist Jamie from Black Utah, enjoying solo at this time and providing a welcome break from the principle room which by this level is popping right into a little bit of a sweatbox. Blessed with a beautiful voice, Jamie delivers his folky Americana with laid-back professionalism, together with a snippet of Dancing In The Darkish for good measure. Sadly, this coincides with the primary rain however because it begins to fall, his set supplies a ray of sunshine.

One other act coming back from final yr is Tay Temple. Final yr she performed outdoors however is again now with tonnes extra perspective, presence and punkiness. Kicking off the set (initially with out her guitar) she heads out into the viewers to straight interact. In the course of the set there are glimpses of final yr’s alt-folk vibe with harmonious choruses. One of many highlights of the set is the upcoming single Sun shades, due on the finish of the month forward of an EP later in the summertime.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival ReviewOne one that gained’t want any introduction is John Robb. He’s carved out a distinct segment for himself as a go-to skilled on well-liked tradition and his Q + A session proves to be as fascinating and enlightening as anticipated. Again outdoors he focuses on his present best-seller The Artwork of Darkness: The Historical past of Goth; John explains the e book wanted writing to fill a niche within the annals of musical and cultural historical past and to set the document straight on a topic which hasn’t all the time been taken severely sufficient. The session is brief and candy however you can take heed to this man discuss for hours. Paradoxically, simply as chat attracts to an in depth, the rain begins as soon as extra.

Scape Grace are an area 4-piece – Alfie, Matty, Isaac and Tilda – who’ve actual potential and fill the room. It’s pushed indie-pop with some unbelievable bass strains. Their actual energy involves the fore when Tilda, wearing an all-in-one multicolour striped, outfit channelling Debbie Harry stylish to the max, lets go. Highlights of the set embrace a strong model of Alanis Morrisette’s You Oughta Know, and the closing Lay Me Down.

It’s stopped raining once more and Lavender Rodriguez continues the out of doors leisure utilizing backing tracks, loops and funky bass to good impact to accompany her pleasantly mellow and soulful vocals, proving once more what an eclectic combine Neck Of The Woods has to supply. She interacts nicely with the small crowd watching, quickly getting them to affix in and dance while Final Race House, a sextet that includes the primary trumpet of the day, take to the stage inside. They actually get issues swinging with their male/feminine twin vocals and riotous mix of people, jazz, pop, rock and blues. A wonderfully entertaining band who problem you to maintain your foot from tapping to their full sound and bouncing rhythms. And who would have thought that Psycho Killer with trumpet might work so nicely?

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review
Scape Grace

The ultimate act outdoors because the storm clouds loom overhead is somebody we all the time stay up for seeing once more. Standing in nearly the identical spot as she had final yr is synth-folk singer-songwriter Take a look at Card Lady. It’s a brief, refreshing, completely fashioned set from the Artist of the Month (as picked by Andy Burnham) together with favourites Fly; Don’t Go; Like A Practice and Maintain Me Down.

Bards are one other of the rising variety of female-fronted bands rising from the realm. Describing themselves as post-grunge, they supply a dreamy, ethereal sea of sound interspersed with extra intense rock-tinged passages because the set picks up tempo. Abbie Howard’s highly effective and versatile vocals are the spotlight of a powerful efficiency, particularly on the latest launch Affectionate Waves. Olivia Browse is a little bit of a well-kept secret regardless of being across the Manchester scene for a number of years. Musically she has a chart-friendly upbeat indie-pop sound (often with added vocoder) however with a message. The brand new observe carried out, Bizarre With It, jogs my memory of Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever however the artist is a melting pot of influences and clearly assured in her work. She closes on ‘her favorite’ observe Crimson Stripe.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review
Olivia Browse

Pyncher are one other hidden gem and supply charismatic post-punk with baggage of vitality and songs filled with brooding twists and turns. The splendidly laconic however theatrical frontman Sam is an interesting presence, someplace between Damon Albion and Mark E Smith (for those who can think about that). It’s a set which holds the eye and undoubtedly one of many highlights of the day and one other must-see act from at this time’s invoice. (You’ll be able to catch them at Sure on 4th November).

Underneath regular circumstances they might be a tough act to observe, however subsequent up is the present Mayor’s Artist of the Month, Alex Spencer. Recent from ending his GCSE’s, Alex has songwriting and vocal abilities past his years and is rightly tipped as one to look at by many. Alex carried out final yr and the suggestions on the time was that his personal songs have been as sturdy because the covers he carried out. This yr it’s nearly all his personal materials. He’s a pure on stage and shortly has the gang becoming a member of in and clapping alongside. A canopy of The Beatles I Noticed Her Standing There might provide a few clues to the place he’s choosing up the craft and composition in his writing though listening to his personal materials it’s arduous to place a finger straight on influences. He’s undoubtedly not taking the route so usually travelled by aping the Gallaghers, Alex is his personal man. Hopefully, he’ll not have outgrown the pageant by the point it comes round in 2024.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review

Bleach Boy present angular incessant and hypnotic indie beats with shouty wild frontman, the bare-chested Milo Amos Flynn, spending loads of time on the dance flooring and offering a stream of amusing banter in addition. Comparisons are futile however for those who get the possibility to catch these alt-rock noise retailers, you gained’t be upset.  Large Cat Stylish is the present venture from co-promoter Sam with Suave Martyrs being on hiatus. They’re but to document something and that is considered one of their first gigs so all the fabric is contemporary to our ears. The opening observe is filled with glam rock riffs and nearly utterly instrumental earlier than bass, lead and drums are joined by Eliza on vocals. It’s an important set and one we’d like to listen to extra of, particularly in the event that they’re going into the studio. There’s a Cocteau Twins otherworldliness at play which might be fascinating to listen to develop.

The penultimate band of the day are Ventrelles; melodic tunesmiths with an edge. The rock regular rhythm part and lilting guitar complement Phil Knox’s vocals to create sounds which veer between darkness and light-weight. These are well-crafted and polished songs delivered with cool aplomb by 4 seasoned musicians who, collectively, have been an integral a part of the Manchester scene since 2018. It’s becoming they’ve beforehand been in comparison with Pale Fountains as I really feel as with the aforementioned and Michael Head’s later band, Shack they don’t get the eye and success they deserve. Hopefully, their forthcoming album will see them get the popularity they benefit.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review

Headlining Neck Of The Woods 2023 is Manchester legend Dermo, accompanied by Aziz Ibrahim on guitar and Leah Wallis on backing vocals and keyboards. During the last yr or so, the previous Northside frontman’s star has been rising and tonight’s set underlines this.  The set consists of plenty of the Manufacturing facility band’s favourites, beginning with one of many shimmering highlights of the Rooster Rhythms album, Wishful Considering alongside new materials equivalent to Expensive Eliza and The place We Can Be. Those that have managed to final till the tip are handled to a double shot of basic tracks, Take 5 and Shall We Take A Journey earlier than, all too quickly, the lights come on and it’s throughout for one more yr.

Neck Of The Woods is a small however completely fashioned pageant, the polar reverse of the likes or Studying/Leeds and Glasto, and none the more severe for that. There are not any superstars or egos on show, however excellent if you would like a  nice ambiance and some drinks with buddies previous and new whereas getting on top of things with a few of the area’s finest established and upcoming acts. That is the place to be. On the time of writing, plans for subsequent yr haven’t but been finalised, however whether or not it’s on the identical venue or in fairly the identical format, we very a lot hope Neck Of The Woods can be again in 2024.

Neck Of The Woods Festival 2023 – Festival Review


All phrases by Iain Key and Robin Boardman.

Discover Iain’s authors archive right here or on Twitter as @iainkey. Robin’s authors archive is right here

All images Simon Lee Flickr / Instagram. Please be aware: Use of those photographs in any type with out permission is unlawful. 

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