It may only be in its second year, but already the British Sound Project is beginning to firmly establish itself as one of the go-to festivals for music fans in Manchester. Following the success of last year’s event, which featured the likes of Primal Scream, Black Grape and Badly Drawn Boy, the series returned to the famous Victoria Warehouse for a two night celebration of the best of British music.
Saturday saw high-profile acts The Horrors and White Lies make their long-awaited returns to Manchester, with the latter very much being the band that the majority of the crowd had come to see. With Victoria Warehouse awash with fans in White Lies t-shirts, the pressure was on the other acts to try and win the audience over.
Festivals such as British Sound Project are as much about celebrating new up and coming bands as well as headliners, and one of the first acts of the day to catch the eye were Peterborough four-piece Airways on the main stage. Performing tracks from their debut EP Starting to Spin, the band’s short set of catchy indie rock tracks no doubt went down well with those who had got down to the venue early.
They were followed by festival veterans (and good friends of The Horrors) TOY, bringing tracks from their three highly-acclaimed albums to Manchester for the first time in a few years. TOY’s unique blend of thrashing guitars and psychedelia have earned them something of a cult following of fans over the years, and tonight’s performance shows exactly why, with frontman Tom Dougall and co. putting on an impressive performance.
Over on the second stage, Southend band Youth Club also caught the eye, and were arguably the first act of the day to actually get people in the crowd dancing. Their simple but infectious and catchy indie pop tunes were guaranteed toe-tappers, making them one of the stand-out acts to grace the venue’s smaller stage.
It was then time for The Horrors to make what would prove to be a triumphant return to Manchester, showcasing tracks from brand new fifth album V as well as older crowd favourites. With smoke machines and strobe lighting turned up to eleven, the set was powerful, enigmatic and a perfect demonstration of why The Horrors are one of the best bands in the UK right now.
The only slight hiccup was when frontman Faris Badwan cut short the performance of Primary Colours’ track ‘Scarlet Fields’ for reasons unknown, but the crowd soon forgot this as the band launched into a ferocious rendition of ‘Endless Blue’, before closing their set with synth-powered new single ‘Something to Remember Me By.’
Following The Horrors were the night’s headliners White Lies - the bars were emptied and the smoking area deserted as the band’s loyal following made their way inside to welcome their heroes back to the city. Known for their dark but uplifting blend of indie rock and post-punk, the three-piece showcased tracks from their well-established back catalogue.
Hits such as ‘To Lose My Life’ and ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ got people bouncing early on, with the evening culminating in an anthemic performance of crowd-pleaser ‘Bigger Than Us’, complete with a confetti cannon explosion that everyone will still be finding in their hair over the next few days.
The British Sound Project was formed to give people in Manchester the opportunity to celebrate best of British music. From exciting new bands to established acts getting better and better, tonight’s show at Victoria Warehouse certainly proved that there is a lot to celebrate. Roll on next year.