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British Sound Project festival: nostalgic, hip, and bloody well good

Black Grape

By Desh Kapur, Rock At Night Manchester Correspondent

Event: Brit Sound Project-Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, UK-September 24, 2016

primal-scream-26-of-49 Have you ever had the feeling you are living inside one of your own dreams, only for reality to grab the big stick of ‘oiyou’ and smack you over the head with it? Well, that was my night at the aptly named Brit Sound Project. Housed in the wonderful Victoria Warehouse, the past danced with the present, beautifully in time and perfectly dressed for the occasion. They got along famously, and let me tell you, there could be romance in the air! But don’t tell anyone! Two stages became the platform for all that your mother had warned you about so long ago. The loud, proud BritRock, Pop and Indie came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, all sorts of ages and all sorts of brilliance.

The smaller stage played host to a number of the newer kids on this all encompassing block. Alias Kid one of my favourite Manchester bands, served up their cool, trippy Indie sound deliciously and Cupids, who with a change of name (formerly the Gramatones) have developed a change in style from a 60’s influenced pop sound to a more 70’s psychodelic lean, that works well and sounds great. Glass Caves, The Watchmakers, Feed the Kid, Rothwell and Factory all duly arrived and left with their own interpretation of life’s stories and gave an appreciative audience much more than they came for and much more than was expected. Say ‘Yes’ to Rock and Roll!

On the main stage, Sitting Pretty, a band from Bolton, who sadly I had not heard of, but according to many are being noticed more and more, captivated us with their bluesy image of rock and their enigmatic front man, Conor Wilde, with his white scarf twirling, his face contorted, delivered a vocal experience that combined all that we love about the ‘singer’; passion, grit and a big dose of ‘yeah’! They reminded me of the Arctic Monkeys, 3 or 4 albums in and yes, now I’ve heard of them and I approve!

Eliza and the Bear came next and the Radio 1 darlings delivered a performance I feel better shows them off than their recordings, an edgier, grittier sound that got the crowd moving off their leaden feet with an infectious, energetic and memorable show that highlighted tracks from their debut album including Lionheart, Friends and It gets cold. Well, it didn’t it and this was warming up nicely!

eliza-and-the-bear-18-of-24Dodgy followed, a band I have always liked, with the album Free Peace Sweet holding one of those little parts of my heart that flutter uncontrollably at the mere uttering of its name. The band performed old and new, with the aforementioned album and their newest What are we waiting for their first in a decade, represented well. They confidently gave us a brand of Britishpower pop that had an experienced edge and I found myself falling in love again only for it all to end far too soon!

Up stepped the John Mcclure led, Reverend and the Makers from Sheffield,who have five studio albums and a supportive role at a Wembley Oasis concert to their name. Entertaining the crowd with stolen selfies, shadow boxing and a set that showed them at their very best, the ‘love in’ was complete and all was well with the world! Fighting to get himself heard, the compere now brought the house down, spilling out the words, ‘Here we are having a party in a warehouse in Salford with the band that invented parties in warehouses in Salford’ Immortal! Black Grape walked on and it was done. Playing the songs we all wanted to hear, they were tight but most importantly Shaun and Kermit were lapping this up as only they can, with abandon and with an ability to bounce off each other that spread throughout the crowd and upped the ante for others to follow. Go the Grape! Fully engaged and fully flying!

black-grape-27-of-33All that was left now were the headliners. Enter Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, resplendent in a red polkadot shirt and black suit and yelling ‘I wanna’ get down in Manchester town!’ A chant not lost on the gathered hoards and one that endeared him instantly. A 25-year celebration of the seminal album Screamadelica had begun. An album that married Rock with Indie to be shared with the clubs and acidhouse. Kicking off with the inspired ‘Movin’ On Up’ Gilespie prowled and stalked the stage as only great artists can do and the band responded with hit after hit, including ‘Swastika Eyes’, ‘Higher Than the Sun’ and ‘Loaded’. Tracks from the new album Chaosmosis followed and it all seemed perfect because it was! A highlight was the trippy ‘Where the Light Gets In’, with dedications to the Happy Mondays. Finally with the crowd shouting for more it all ended with the out and out rocker ‘Rocks’.

What a show! What a bloody good show! Wow! A warm feeling of nostalgia but also of a future still to come swept over me. This music, this British music was incomparable and its past and its future in equal measure were in the hands of the passionate and the blessed. Please, let’s do this again, I beg you!

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