Wednesday 24 April 2024

Hey Bulldog / The Lotts - Manchester Rose And Monkey - 23rd April 2024

Hey Bulldog and The Lotts were the latest in a series of bands to play The Rose And Monkey's regular Tuesday night £5 Tuesdays event supported by funding from The Arts Council. Two very different bands struck a chord with different sections of the audience in an intimate showcase of what each band are capable of.

Hey Bulldog are up first and play a nine-song forty-five minute set that delights their long-term fans featuring old favourites such as Al Lupo, No Future Part II and People That You Know. The latter is dedicated to old friends and touchingly they have a picture of John Hall and Steve Cole, two huge supporters of the band who are no longer with us, on one of the amps and it's that warmth and intimacy that allows the trio to connect with their audience. There's a strong intuitive bond between Rob, Matt and Ben that flows through their music, one minute super tight, the next feeling like an improvised jam, but always connected at the heart.

New single Never Known has won them a place on the Amazing Radio playlist, a sign that their star might be starting to rise and take them out of the local scene where they've been a familiar face for a number of years now. It's a song that distils everything great about them into under four minutes and curbs their natural instinct to follow their noses and take a song where it needs to go but without compromising the core of what the trio stand for. There's plenty of hooks in the likes of California and Under My Spell and there's insistent hook-laden grooves throughout even as their volume threatens to overwhelm the intimate set-up in the Rose And Monkey.

The Lotts are younger and more energetic, the four-piece's half-hour set feels like a relentless onslaught where the lines between songs become blurred. Their fans are more vocal and create a moshpit in the confined space in front of the stage as the set comes to a close, driven along by their ability to twist melodies into the ferocious racket they make and their judicious use of backing vocals and harmonies to bring the songs to life. There's a series of songs introduced as new ones that show they've spent the eighteen months since their last release creating something they can build around as they set about breaking down the barriers and climbing the walls that are facing many bands of their ilk right now.

In front man Henry, who's got his own chant from their audience, they've got a personality that stands out and makes you watch him, but they're very much a band in the truest traditional sense, a group of mates who've bonded over the love of music and creating and playing it. That very much shines through in the passion they put into their set. Seemingly never pausing for breath they make a strong impression on the younger members of the audience who know them already and evoke memories of the influences that run through their music in the older ones. 

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

The Lotts are on Facebook and Twitter.

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