Sunday 21 May 2023

Déjà Vega / Avalanche Party / Bee Bee Sea - Manchester Projekts MCR Skatepark - 20th May 2023

On Saturday Manchester label and promoters Sour Grapes held their Meltchester II festival at the intriguing location of the Projekts MCR Skatepark under the Mancunian Way. A day and night full of artists performed and we managed to catch a trio of them - Déjà Vega, Avalanche Party and Bee Bee Sea.

Bee Bee Sea are already on stage as we arrive and the Italian trio on the last night of their week-long UK tour made a very positive impression both with ourselves and the rest of the crowd. Their set is made up on songs that power along under their own momentum, a rumbling bassline here, a killer hook liberally laid down there and doing so with a real joy and energy that transmits itself to the crowd. The set features heavily from their last album, 2020's Day Ripper, but also, as you'd expect two and a half years on, a number of new songs. Of course, most of the songs are new to the majority of the crowd, such is Sour Grapes' desire to bring new sounds to the city, but by the end the crowd had moved closer to the front and it felt like they were watching old friends.

Avalanche Party are more familiar to the crowd of course, four years on from their debut album, they're still a fascinating live proposition, front man Jordan, moody in black and shades, contrasting with his band mates, Jared switching between guitar and sax and lying on the floor and drummer Kane shirtless from the start and finishing hanging from a pole under the walkway that runs under the ceiling above the stage. The keyboards unfortunately get a little lost in the mix, the concrete surrounds of the venue probably not best suited to subtlety in delivery, but it doesn't detract from a performance that will have found them a few new admirers, particularly in the way Rebel Forever acts as an enduring call to arms and Dream Johnny Dream twists and winds its way through seven minutes to finish off their set with a bang.

The last band we catch are our old mates Déjà Vega and it's initially a little strange to see them out in the sunlight rather than the dark sweaty rooms in which they've enthralled us for the best part of a decade now. With just forty-five minutes to play with tonight and their monolithic The Test taking up a third of that at the end, it's a much streamlined set although they take the opportunity to put in two new songs -  Cut Me Loose and All The Same - amongst some of their better known tracks like Eyes Of Steel, Mr Powder and Who We Are. Cut Me Loose sees them pushing the boundaries of their sound, taking in several different sections in the song whilst All The Same is a bit sparser, has more room and is less full on without distilling the power. The sunlight doesn't dim their intensity nor Jack's ferocious onslaught during The Test where he adds synths to the breakdown session before they hit us with one last volley to finish. Whether old fans or people new to them, the roar at the end of their set is a familiar one for a band who are never less than exhilarating live. 

Déjà Vega are on Facebook and Twitter

Avalanche Party's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Bee Bee Sea's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.


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