Festival season has officially been and gone for 2019 and so long are the wet muddy days sat outside your tent eating a Coco Pops bar and a can of dark fruit for breakfast. As heartbreaking as it is packing your mud-soaked wellies and tents into the loft for another year, there was still one big bash left to hit. Forget the tents and wellies this time as they aren’t needed for Neighbourhood, a 15 indoor venue city centre festival in Manchester. Boasting venues from Manchester’s Academy 2,500 capacity venue in the heart of the University District to the Yes basement where 100 people can squeeze in to enjoy an intimate and sweaty set.
If you’re a festival homing pigeon who doesn’t like to stray from the same spot all day then you’re going to struggle fighting the bustling crowds from venue to venue to see a perfect line up. But from speaking to punters at various sets, the only negative feedback from the festival given was not being able to get in the smaller venues when capacity was full which resulted in them missing some of their favourite bands. However, in today’s economy with the death of the nations favourite venues on the demise, it’s inevitable we need more festivals like Neighbourhood to cease this from the brink of collapse.
Witch Fever were the first band we watched at Yes in the Pink Room, the band have been extremely busy burning up the local scene and are another band we have been eager to see live. Remember the riot grrrl movement? Which arguably had its heyday in the 90s? Well, the riot grrrl spirit carries on for many bands including Witch Fever, who thrashed out a frenetic, adrenaline-fuelled set with a mesmerising punk attitude and hard-hitting lyricism. The lead singer has a huge presence for her tiny frame and her charismatic, feral punk energy fills the whole room. The rest of the band are just as fierce, from the first couple riffs of the opening song, there was instant brutality in the pit with the finale seeing the singer and guitarist jumping from the stage and joining the mosh pit. The overall reception from the crowd was impressive and clearly showed the stamp they are making on the live Manchester scene. Ones to watch for sure.
North Yorkshire garage rockers Avalanche Party took to a packed basement in Yes for their 6:30pm set delivering a high energy set where we saw lead man Jordan Bell take to the sky and soar over the crowd for their opening song ‘I’m So Wet’. Blowing eardrums and successfully living up to the hype as one of the hottest guitar bands in the UK.
The basement room in Yes was perfect with sweat dripping from the ceiling as the mosh pit dominated the majority of the floor. Playing bangers like ‘Revolution’, ‘Porcelain’, ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Million Dollar Man’ this is a band with the ability to put on a captivating and energetic live set and deserve to play much bigger stages in our opinion. These lads have been on our radar for quite some time now and it was inevitable we’d be amongst the crowd to witness the magic they bring to the stage.
Next up was a quick rush upstairs to the pink room in Yes where Liverpudlian giants Red Rum Club brought their Mexicana indie vibes to the day. Emerging on to the stage to Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg’s ‘The Next Episode’ the crowd was already head over heels and full of energy, which went off when the opening trumpet rhythm of their opening song ‘Honey’. The pace of energy in the set never slackened and was one of the best receptions from the crowd for the band I’ve seen all summer (and believe me there have been some crowds!). This set offered the best crowd involvement of the festival, talking of which, a last song crowd invasion onstage to ‘Would You Rather Be Lonely’ gave a memorable finale. With a second album in the pipeline, Red Rum Club are set to dominate the 2020 music and live scene, with bigger stages and crowds inevitable.
The next pit stop was the stunning Grade 2 listed building, The Albert hall which from setting foot into the venue I was in ore with its beauty. High on their horse from their debut album Columbia, The Blinders delivered an anthem packed set to what would have been a sell-out show, effortlessly mixing in new material with the bands biggest tracks such as ‘Swine’, ‘ICB Blues’ and ‘New World’.
What better way to close the day than with another Liverpudlian god and the new king of rock n roll, Miles Kane, playing to a packed out to the brim Manchester Academy delivering an iconic set of old-time classics such as ‘Closer’ and ‘Rearrange’ with new songs ‘Crispy’ and ‘Summer’. It was a stunning performance, with the music, lighting and Kane’s stage presence slotting together to form a complete and powerful combination.
After all this, instead of sloughing round in ankle height mud, arguing where the tent is, we managed to get home with a chip butty and a brew.
After a highly successful Neighbourhood Weekender in May, Neighbourhood ended the year on a massive high and we can’t wait for the next.