Monday 9 October 2017

The Shimmer Band / Bang Bang Romeo / Black Waters / Proletariat - Manchester Academy 2 - 8th October 2017

This Feeling's Alive tour hit Manchester Club Academy on Sunday night with three bands - The Shimmer Band, Bang Bang Romeo and Black Waters - touring the country with a local band opening up proceedings each night. Manchester saw the turn of Proletariat to kick things off on a night of four very contrasting but impressive bands.

Our previous encounter with Proletariat had been opening up Cotton Clouds Festival in August, but here indoors on this bigger stage they're in their element. There's something about front man James that is unmistakably Mancunian, the swagger of Gallagher and Mudriczki without aping them, a powerful direct vocal with a hint of accent and a self-belief not just in himself, but what his band mates are doing. Visually Connor, Aaron and Luke let him get on with it, but they create the huge backdrop against which James delivers his powerful vocals.

They've got songs to back it up too. Mr Brown finishes off the set, but there's two new songs in there - Play Dead, which they only debuted three days previously in London with Cabbage and Nervous Energy - that suggest that they're ready to smash their way out of the box that keeps producing these four boys in a band and become something much more potent, ready to have their own army of admirers hanging onto James' every word. They've brought a big crowd with them, even for a Sunday night, and we expect that to keep growing and growing as word gets out.

Next up are Black Waters and they're a bit of a wild card with the emphasis on the wild. Short of tying him down, there's no stopping Max from bounding around the stage, rolling around on the floor and jumping down on to the barrier throughout their set whilst David on lead guitar does one better during final song So Far Out and ends up amongst us brandishing his guitar close to our faces like he means it.

Whilst we're almost breathless just watching them, their songs have the same exhausting effect on us, hundred mile an hour punk fired sub three minute blasts at the cranium. Their singles Fuck Yeah, which has the obligatory bellow along of the chorus, Let The Good Times Roll and Down stand out, but they've got half an hour of songs that adhere to their philosophy of hitting the listener first and asking questions later, even when they slow things down slightly on People Street.

Third on the bill are Bang Bang Romeo, a band we've followed for a few years now, but who seem set to break through the glass ceiling we thought was going to hold them in. Anastasia has always had the star quality, but watching her tonight hold the crowd in the palm of her hand as she beckons, then demands, everyone come to the front and then join in singing the chorus to Invitation, or the way her poses and postures add drama to the likes of Chemical, which is a different beast altogether now from what it was two years ago, or the newer You And I.

By the time they finish with a half-planned encore of Adore Me, Anastasia has enraptured everyone, whether it's her dramatic flourishes of her cape, the way she commands the stage or how she directs the band through an extended middle section of Invitation which segues for a minute in Michael Jackson's Bad. They've been the highlight of many a festival field this summer and, if rumours are to be believed, secured themselves a major agent and a record deal. It's fully deserved and shows that genuine talent can win through, all you have to do is to put it in front of people.

Last up are headliners The Shimmer Band. Their nods to this city's movement a quarter of a century ago are self-evident; the coat, the glasses, the long hair and the songs that soar gloriously from the first second to the last. Rather than be a bad parody of a long gone age though, The Shimmer Band are uplifting, cathartic and revelatory in the way they way they fuse influences and turn them into something thoroughly modern, something to lift people out of the drudgery of a wet Sunday night and for forty minutes transport them to a different place.

Recent single What Is Mine? is a glorious wetter of the appetite for what's to come as Tom sheds the shades and coat and roams the stage like a man possessed, one minute driving on his band mates, the next lost in a world of their making, immersed in the sounds of a band that see no boundaries to where they can take their grooves. Jacknife And The Death Cell, a new song called Freedom, dedicated to everyone into the room, and Something, which implores us to "do what you want, say what you want" are the sound of everything our hosts This Feeling claim to be about and such they're the perfect headliners. They finish with the perfect adieu as well as Sunkick is, a year on, still one of the most immediate, exultant songs of these dark troubled times.

The Shimmer Band's official website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Bang Bang Romeo's official website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Black Waters are on Facebook and Twitter.

Proletariat are on Facebook and Twitter.

The This Feeling Alive tour continues at Hull Fruit Space (10), Nottingham Glee Club (11), Sheffield Plug (13), London Electric Ballroom (14) and Brighton Patterns (15).

Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

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