Monday 18 October 2021

Saint Agnes / Sit Down / Sky Valley Mistress - Manchester Deaf Institute - 17th October 2021

Saint Agnes brought the opening night of their Vampire 21 tour to Manchester's Deaf Institute on Sunday night supported by Sit Down and Sky Valley Mistress. With the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands on command they turned a quiet evening into a bouncing mosh pit having fun.

"We play rock and roll" drummer Max of openers Sky Valley Mistress declares half way through their set before dedicating the next song in the set to his Grandma whose birthday it is. Their songs very much are rock and roll in the most traditional sense of the word though. They possess big guitar riffs that lead into huge choruses made for people to sing along to and a front woman Kay who struts around the stage like she owns it and the other three of them perform like they're playing a stadium rather than a just-after-doors set on an October Sunday night. They get an impressively strong reaction from the crowd to for an opening act considering they're an out-of-town band, hailing from Darwen. 

Sit Down are from even further afield, travelling from Brighton on the South Coast for the opening night of their tour support for the first half of Saint Agnes's tour. With vocalist and drummer Katie seated at the back of the trio it feels like an unusual set-up and impacts them visually, but it's one that they're comfortable with and they're a tight unit that get a great reception with a set full of songs with big beats and hooks - tracks like Mothership, Banana Split, Teeth and Honeysucker have an energy that starts to get the crowd moving.

It's Saint Agnes's night though and their eleven-song onslaught, and at times their set feels like relentless and unceasing in its energy, contagious enthusiasm and crowd participation even when they slow the songs down a little. Three songs in, just before their new single Uppercut, Kitty demands "If we're here, we might as well fucking be here" and the audience respond in kind such is the bond that Saint Agnes's all or nothing approach creates with their audience. By the end the whole dancefloor is bouncing arms raised to their final duo of Brother and Repent, turning a quiet Sunday night into a night where we "find moments of joy and embrace them" as she tells us to do early in the set.

Saint Agnes wear their influences on their sleeves and the rest of their stage outfits visually and aurally, even throwing in a small section of Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name Of for good measure. However, there's an individuality in each of the four of them and the collective that shines through - there's always something going on up on stage for you to keep your eyes on and the fun that they're clearly having up there transmits itself to the audience. The songs as well have a power and potency that is evident in the way they set the crowd off - at the start of the night it's the first few rows jumping around and, from our place in the seats, we watch that group of people grow as people are drawn in and lose their inhibitions on the traditionally quietest night of the week. It's a reminder of the power of live music that no amount of live-streaming will ever replace.

Saint Agnes' website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter. They play Nottingham Bodega (October 18), Leeds Brudenell Social Club (19), Glasgow Broadcast (21), Sheffield Sidney and Matilda (22), Bristol Crofter's Rights (24), Southampton Heartbreakers (25), Guildford Boileroom (26), London Garage (28), Brighton Green Door Store (29) and Norwich Voodoo Daddy's Showroom (30) 

Sit Down are on Facebook and Twitter

Sky Valley Mistress's website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

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