Monday 14 November 2022

Hey Bulldog / Deathretro - Manchester Peer Hat - 12th November 2022

Hey Bulldog made a long-awaited live return in the basement of the Peer Hat in Manchester on Saturday night. Combining old favourites with a couple of new songs in the middle of the set, they delighted a packed crowd in the sweaty venue that's perfect for their intense powerful rock and roll.

Deathretro are main support for the evening (we unfortunately don't get there in time for Vert De Gris) and they provide an energetic starter for the main event. Mixing songs from their self-titled debut like Electric Rooms and Sound Of Sirens with new songs like Yellow Hammer they get an enthusiastic response that matches their performance. Front man Kieran is out in the crowd, forcing his way on the floor through gaps in the audience and dancing with them whilst his three band mates create a noise that is right on the limits of the hearing of most of us, but which has a power and a passion in it that draws those in that have never heard them before as well as those more familiar with them.

Hey Bulldog put the power in power trio. Their sound is that of a band with more people on hand - Ben's ferocious drumming, Matt's bass and Rob's guitars, assisted by a huge array of pedals and a right hand that's almost a blur if you focus on trying to decipher the magic he's creating from just six strings. Their songs are full of incessant grooves, hooks that grab you and make your feet move, yet it comes from the joy they themselves get from being up on the stage. Matt's beaming smile at the end of each song tells its own story as people lose themselves in their music just feet away from them.

Much of the set is familiar to those who know them. No Future Part II sees Rob turn to synths and is an uplifting soaring beast of a song. People That You Know is dedicated to those who can't be here, and a few voices recall John Hall, who championed the band for so long, but the song is a celebration of the whole scene that Hey Bulldog and the Peer Hat are a part of, away from the shiny venues around town that some of those in power seem to think represent the city's music scene when this is the real thing. They play two new songs in a row, Rob jokingly calls it "commercial suicide" as if Hey Bulldog ever made music with the specific aim of achieving a Spotify playlisting or whatever passes as commerical success these days, and they both fit within Hey Bulldog's way of working, but also show them pushing the boundaries of their art and not simply regurgitating the same.

There's roars of disappointment as the club night curfew (which should be banned as no one goes in a club before 11 these days) means we don't get an encore, but over the course of forty-minutes Hey Bulldog ensure the room falls back in love with them and their music once more.

Hey Bulldog played Heavy J, California, Al Lupo, 523, Indie J, CM7, People That You Know, No Future Part II, Death And Greed and Under My Spell

Hey Bulldog's official site can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Death Retro's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

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