Neighbourhood 2019. A dozen not to miss in Manchester.

Neighbourhood has quickly become a fixed fixture event in the Manchester Indie world. There’s always a feast for the ears at Neighbourhood and 2019 is no exception. I’ve learnt my lesson (again) at Live at Leeds where I spent far too much of my time trogging from venue to venue, so I’m pegging my scheduling to a few “must see” acts and filling in the gaps from acts in the immediate vicinity from there. That way I get a mix of familiar friends, new favourites to be and I keep the shoe leather cost down.

This time round, very worthy “must see” acts include early doors Dirty Laces who as local lads, I predict will make the Bread Shed seem much later and livelier than the 12.30 time slot might suggest.

Towards the end of the afternoon Liverpool’s bright and breezy Spinn stand proud at 4pm at Gorilla, with their feel happy mad dancing and jangly pop, although I might be tempted by the youthful puppy energy explosion of Full Colour on stage at 3.30 at the Revolution (they are just soo excited by their musical journey, although I haven’t yet fully forgiven them for ditching their former inspired name of Gauranga).

The cruel choice of the whole festival is to be forced to decide between those Liverpool trumpet muffins Red Rum Club at Yes and the highly tipped Lathums from Wigan at Gorilla at 7pm. I’ll probably jump for the latter just because I’ll be seeing Red Rum Club in a week or two, and there’s some very tasty acts on at Gorilla before The Lathums, but if you have never seen Red Rum Club before do it, because they will make your day and make you lose your voice in the process.

Later there’s a further nasty clash; Kid Kapachi at Refuse at 8.30 who are sound perfect if you like your music heavy and proud or Do Nothing at Jimmy’s at 9. I’m going to latch onto the latter just because I want to say farewell to the iconic Jimmy’s before it moves venue and because it’s a short wobble to the train station from there. Again, I’m aiming to see my Kid Kapachi boys (who are amongst the friendliest guys in indie) in Leeds before very long.

Taking these choices into account, a good and varied line up itinerary without too much trogging from venue to venue will be:

12.30 Dirty Laces – Bread Shed….Dirty Manchester indie pop/punk and a habit of releasing limited edition CD’s and Singles and I usually end up buying them as I can’t bare to miss out.

13.00 LOAstate – The Deaf Institute….A promising band who on their recordings to my ears have something of the blend of indie and current dance that the likes of TwentyOne Pilots have. I’m sure the band probably won’t thank me for that comparison, but I’m off to find out more. I’ll probably be mortified by my description when I fully suss out their sound.

13.30 Bloxx – The Bread Shed…. Bouncy accessible London band Bloxx would give me a third immediate contrast in style and it would make up for my missing them at Live at Leeds in May.

14.30 Far Caspian. It’s been an age since I’ve seen or written about the beautifully melodic lo-fi and understated Far Caspian. They now have a dozen beautifully crafted songs to chill to on the likes of Spotify. On record Far Caspian is the vehicle for Irish man Joel Johnston but live he is joined by a few very accomplished friends. There will be good time to get my head back in gear and nip on up to Refuge to catch this band who are far better than Tame Impala although they inhabit fairly similar space.

15.30 Full Colour at Revolution. Although I’ll be catching Full Colour (formally Gauranga) as support to Vistas before too long, I’m not going to be able to resist soaking up that youthful energy and enthusiasm for life for a little while. They are my local band too. No doubt the band will be showcasing their incredibly successful EP Miles Apart (the title track has 160,000 plays on Spotify at present). I’m also hoping we might get a peek at some of the new material they have been recording.

16.00 Spinn at Gorilla – bouncy and jangly melodic Liverpool fun and energy. I’m sure there be a lot of folk with Spinn on their list so timing the arrival is all. Their debut album is one of my albums of the year.

17.00 Dylan John Thomas is another promising Scottish artist with a lot of buzz and a lot to like with his honest, clear vocals and style. First single Nobody Else is just so simple and yet beautiful while second track Problems continues the “indie folk with an edge meets 1970 Eurovision” feel. I’ve been wanting to check this lad out for an age. The lad is supporting our kid Liam, so expect the size of Dylan’s venues to blow up at the end of the year.

It might be time for a pit stop and a cheeky takeaway, although the ever-ready punkish energy of PINS are to be found at Gorilla at 6, if I am to hole myself up in one venue for the afternoon. The sound quality at Gorilla is excellent so there are far worse venues to do that in. Alternatively, I could rush down to see Newcastle’s The Pale White at the Bread Shed at 17.30. This is a band that never disappoint live and I’ve probably caught them half a dozen times.

19.00 The Lathums at Gorilla. I’m crying inside at the thought of missing Red Rum Club at the same time but I’ve written it down twice now, ha although it’s a boy’s prerogative to change my mind yet. Again, The Lathums are a band I’ve been meaning to check out for a while; if you haven’t caught them yet then think of an updated modern Smiths in sound, with a twist of Housemartins and totally without an annoying twat of a lead singer and with plenty more in their tank to come. There’s a seriously rare buzz about The Lathums and they are destined to join the big boys in due course.

20.00 Voodoos at Jimmy’s. It’s time for another Scottish feast courtesy of the Glasgow bangers Voodoos. I will need it loud and banging by this time and Voodoos will certainly do that in spades. I’ll be the one trying not to cry at what will probably be my final time in the legendary Jimmy’s as they are having to relocate to make way for yet more office space (have these developers not heard of home working and video conferencing ffs?). I’ll place a curse on whoever takes the space.

21.00 My final choice is the magnificently promising Do Nothing from Nottingham, again at Jimmy’s. I love the confident strut of their single-track Gangs and I predict a bigger future for this inventive, thrusting band. With an abundance of rhythm, balls and swagger Do Nothing offer a perfect way to end 9 hours of alley catting around Manchester and another fine Neighbourhood experience.

Chris R

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