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Neighbourhood Festival Manchester review

William Metcalfe was on hand in Manchester to deliver his verdict on the all day, inner city event.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 8th Oct 2018

Image: Ryan Jones

Our Neighbourhood festival began at the Thirsty Scholar of all places. And what a place and what a way to kick off the 2018 edition of the Manchester inner city event.  The venue was playing host to a solo set from quickly rising solo artist, Solis. Fresh off a feature in the Manchester Evening News, the naturally phenomenal vocals wash over the crowd.

There’s a blonde-haired bloke with sunglasses (at quarter to 2 in the afternoon bearing in mind). Is it Liam Fray? Or is just another Mancunian? Eagle eyes on his next upload to Instagram. Despite the limited crowd, there are a lot of phones out to record parts of her set, which included Osmosis and Home. And if you thought Solis solo was good, she had a band. A full band. With HARMONIES. And proper things. 

‘I AM THE UNDERWORLD’ screams the Irish twang of Murder Capital. He’s checking the rafters for the final song whilst standing in the amp the mental cunt. The bass player opposes in a gladiator-esq stand-off. James McGovern stinks of designed arrogance that only a front man can design. Having only caught the back end of the set, the band are intriguing to say the least. As the unfulfilled chaos of Murder Capital comes to an end, just downstairs, Calva Louis begin their set in the Yes basement. Their indie-wonk repertoire is impressive and surprisingly only conducted by a three person band. The intensity of Murder Capital is flipped for Calva Louise’s fun. To put it in maths, think Wolf Alice plus Jaws - a lot faster with more screaming. 

Having sold out the venue only last week, the crowd for The Magic Gang isn’t quite the sardines that the promoters were probably hoping for. Opening with ‘Alright’, the crowd are half static, half having a boogie. Scrap that, the pit has opened I REPEAT THE PIT HAS OPENED and it is far from appropriate.

The pit dies and resurrects more times than Jesus Christ himself throughout the set - considering Magic Gang were playing the likes of Sound Control only last year, the fact they’re playing the Albert Hall is a sign of heartwarming progress rewarded for hard work. 

Zuzu is over whelmed at the size of the cheer upon taking to the stage. Her broad scouse accent flitters humbleness over the crowd. But only momentarily. As soon as the first chord is strummed, Zuzu and her band dominate the pink room. And they’re all in pink. In the pink room. It’s actually incredible. Recent single, ‘Dark Blue’ is sexy and slung before erupting into a feel-good crunch-indie pop chorus. The contrast between the anxious, lovable person that Zuzu is between songs contrasts with the effortlessly natural front-woman that she is, is a niche that is well received. 

With their set announced only that morning, The Blinders take to the stage to the barked poetry of Patrick T Davies. It wasn’t written by him, but it is still cool. Before the speech finishes, the 2/2 beat of ‘Gotta Get Through’, followed ‘L’Etat C’est Moi’, the latter of which is the sonic upper cut that the collected crowd were waiting for. A rock star knee slide from Thomas Heywood fits smoothly perfectly with the police brutality boogie, that is, ‘I Can’t Breathe Blues’.

Fresh out of Colombia, ‘Where No Man Comes’ is backed up by secondary drummer, Thomas Castrey. Words could try describing the scenes of ‘Brave New World’. But to put in a sentence, the crowd understand and are passionate about the lyrics they sing back in unison (despite the I-wrote-this-in-five-minutes value of the song). Drop d-banger ‘Et tu’ follows straight into Brutus. Big brother himself. The conceptual value of the album leaks into the set. Brutus is the double orgasm conclusion of the set, seeing fans new and (relatively) old go mad for not one but two drops, worthy of closing a set. Where Jesus passed wine at his leaving do, Johnny Dream passes his red wine amongst the crowd, pleading if West Minister hear his calls, before a flirtatious crowd surf. And they didn’t even play ‘Swine”.

With a trip, Cabbage take to the stage with ‘Uber Capitalistic Death Trade’ awaits a fully circled pit at the Deaf Institute. ‘LOVE MUSIC HATE RACISM’ is the message brandished by T-shirts amongst the band, as he gives the microphone a persistent bollocking. If you were the microphone, he would be your mother getting pissy about you coming home five minutes late. ‘Fickle’ sees a synchronised pogo across the Deaf Institute, followed by ‘Gibratar Ape’. Would it be too cliché to describe ‘Dinner Lady’ as the wanking in quiche ballad? Who cares? Because that’s exactly what it is.


Judging by the poor girl getting dragged out, the dish itself is being served somewhere on sight. The Corbynite party anthem, ‘Terrorist Sympathiser’ follows. That’s what it’s called isn’t it!? Bloody Corbyn, trying to resolve issues peacefully! And what better way to celebrate the occasion than with a chorus of la la la’s. Every bouncer in the room locks onto a girl taking to shoulders which simply ISN'T OKAY. Especially for people behind her. But as entertaining as Cabbage are live, they need to stop relying on dragging songs out longer than they need to be. There’s less t-shirts and a lot more applause to when they started, with the set concluding on ‘Necroflat In The Palace’.

With the recent opening of YES  and two enormous sets from two of Manchester’s finest in the form of Cabbage and The Blinders, Manchester has spoken and broken itself into a new era, (A Brave New World, if you will). It’s not all parkas and Adidas. Well, there is some but not anywhere near the amount the city gets flack for.