Sunday 3 September 2023

The Murder Capital / She's In Parties - Manchester Psych Fest - 2nd September 2023

Manchester Psych Fest took over venues along the Oxford Road corridor on Saturday night. With clashes galore, we caught just two bands - our first time seeing She’s In Parties at the Deaf Institute and our old favourites The Murder Capital in The Ritz.

It’s She’s In Parties’ first time in Manchester and the Colchester four-piece leave a massively positive first impression on a packed-out Deaf Institute. They may have Cocteau Twins comparisons thrown at them, but live at least there’s a much harder edge to them as they preview tracks from their upcoming debut EP, out on October 6, to coincide with Katie’s birthday she tells us, including singles L Word and Summer Haze. Previous singles I Follow You and Angelic rock out in exactly the right places, Katie’s vocals kicking through the clattering combination of guitars, bass and drums augmented in parts by synths. The crowd, most seeing them for the first time, love them and with them back supporting Bleach Lab in November, they leave a really positive impression.

With Just Mustard, Snail Mail and bdrmm all scheduled to play at the same time, the issue with a festival like this is very clear. These appearances count as their Manchester show and due to exclusivity clauses we basically miss out on seeing all of them which we would have done for their headline shows.

A couple of hours later we’re in The Ritz, a venue The Murder Capital have missed out on their rapid ascent. With their second album Gigi’s Recovery a long drawn out recording process as the campaign for their debut When I Have Fears was cut off two days into their first US tour that was going to set them on the path to the global acclaim of some of their contemporaries they’re making up for lost time.

Live the songs from the two albums feel like they’ve overcome the initial awkwardness of the fresh-faced openness of the follow-up meeting the dark intensity of the debut and translated it from small clubs to big stages like this. James McGovern’s still the coolest most intense motherfucker in town, even when he dispatches his shades and beckons the crowd to hold first him aloft and then each other in the penultimate Ethel where a thousand sing “you better get it right, one chance at this life” like a group therapy session. The circle pit is rough but friendly, those that crash to the floor are picked up, complete strangers scream the words to each other. The Murder Capital’s message of Love, Love, Love, a song they resurrect for the first time in a while, is transparent even when told through the complex storylines of some of these songs.

Feeling Fades, More Is Less and the concluding Don’t Cling To Life see both band and audience let loose while the pace but not the intensity is dialled down on Crying, The Lie Becomes The Self and opener The Stars Will Leave Their Stage and the band demonstrate their depth and creativity. It’s held together by Diarmuid (Big D)’s drums and he has Happy Birthday sung to him mid-set. Gabe, Cathal and Damien are given the space then to craft the songs and paint their identities over them.

We leave battered and bruised from the moshpit, caught full on the shoulder by an errant lead singer size nine, exhilarated by a band whose intensity is compelling and draws you in like a moth to a flame. Unique and life-affirming The Murder Capital have shredded the difficult second album syndrome and emerged as a band to live and die by.

The Murder Capital's official site can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

She’s In Parties are on Facebook and Twitter.


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