Bring on the Sunday. The city of Manchester is mostly deserted when compared to the previous day, but back to the Northern Quarter we go to find larger density of people, with their first stop being 2022NQ…
They’re the first band on (because they’re heading off for a show later on) and This Town Needs Guns are greeted by a pretty punctual and crowd. Providing a math pop wake up to an attentive crowd who’ve made the effort to come down early, the three piece play through their set with slick precision which is such a crucial thing for music like this; angular rhythms and manic melodies coming out of every muscle. There’s a well deserved sip of tea between songs as the band seem pleasantly surprised by the turn out. It’s a wonderful sight for them and a brilliant start to the day for the crowd. (4/5)
Three ladies and 2 gentlemen. 4 vocals, 4 keyboards, 2 guitars, 1 bass and 1 drum kit all makes for an intriguing mix of indie, pop and electro. It’s cheerfully joyful and the enthusiasm, positivity and energy on stage is more than that of kids who ate all their Haloween sweets in one night. If CSS were taken over by Crystal Castles and were fronted by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs then we’ll have possibly the craziest comparison I’ve ever made, but I’m still not sure we’ve described Bearsuit properly. Still, this is probably the most original band we’ve heard all weekend and it’s certainly got me hooked. Some technical hitches don’t hinder their smiles as they stick to playing a set of older material, enjoying the banter they create amongst themselves between each song. More majority girl bands please. (4/5)
I’m still not sure how to pronounce their name properly (so it’s a good job this is typed) but Buen Chico are a keys based indie rock band playing to an unfortunately small crowd at Soup Kitchen. The magic of technology allow the keys to change timbre, providing a variety of sounds and showcase a range of influences from a more jazz based side of things towards more electronic and dance. The female backing vocals bring in this extra loveliness and it would’ve been good to hear more, maybe even some lead stuff! The dynamics work greatly, starting off in some cases as a quite ambient feel and building up into this big choruses, all very engaging. Good stuff! 3.5/5
Some odd sound guy work doesn’t really help but musically Feeds sound well rehearsed and have some fantastic harmonies that most band seem to have forgotten about this weekend. With vocal duties swapping between the two guitarists and pianist there’s plenty of talent on show, not forgetting the groove led riffs that sweeten up this acoustic/blues/rock crossover. Brilliantly crafted songs that unfortunately haven’t been exposed to as many people as they should have today. 3.5/5
The angriest and probably heaviest band on the line up, Pine Barrens, shout their way through quickly paced songs of fast drum fills and fast riffs. The singer has quite a high pitched shout rather than the usual low end roar that I was expecting. Thrash-esque speed playing by all with some sneaky little breaks in between show how tight Pine Barrens actually are. The shouter takes up a third of the floor space but it would be good to see the guitarist and bassist losing their minds. Not the most likely band to play on this bill but a refreshing punch in the face never the less. (3.5/5)
Note: The singer of Wooderson is wearing a Los Pollos Hermanos tee which instantly means I have respect for them in terms of TV viewing (it’s a Breaking Bad reference for those who aren’t aware, and go watch Breaking Bad after you finish this review) Right, so Wooderson have this older punk sound but it’s got more of a modern, downtempo but slightly darker sounding edge to them, I think? It’s hard to pin down but that’s always a good thing in my books. Multiple vocals feel right at home and they had a chorus with this cliché funk drum beat that you would never expect but worked really well. There’s not much that needs to be said between songs but everyone enjoys and appreciates them when they’re letting the music do the talking, which is exactly how it should be. (3.5/5)
It was over 2 years ago now that I first salivated over the multi instrumentalist group that is Bear Cavalry. Tonight I’m watching them for the first time since then and in our time apart they’ve signed to Alcopop! Records, which is a very fitting signing for the label. Tonight they open up with song ’Aubrey Plaza’ from upcoming EP ‘Puryss’ and then navigate between songs from the new release and old EP ‘Maple Trails’. The instrumental diversity from the guitars to the keys and trumpet brings a delicious pallets of sounds to our ears and also a more visually entertaining enthralment; a cavalry of sounds, perhaps! Clearly one of the more experienced bands of the weekend judging purely from their onstage performance. Influences from electro, rock, indie and even some calypso make for a crafty cocktail that I neck down in one gulp. Tasty stuff. (4/5)
Bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. I knew what to expect from We Are The Physics after listening to their Already Heard 5 star rated album ‘Your Friend, The Atom’ and luckily they matched it live. Completely off the wall with their shouts, wails, frantic stage presence, personas and physics uniforms. Playing through a lot of ‘Your Friend, The Atom’ including ‘Napoleon Loves Josephine’ and ’Goran Ivanišević’ , which singer Michael M helps the crowd with lyrically, repeating his name several times. Pointing at the drummer to cue him to cue the song, freezing mid song and just generally being We Are The Physics in an ever slightly insane but absolutely enthralling live way that only they can. Highly enjoyable and not actually that educational within the field of physics. Not that it matters because I’m here to have a good time and the whole of the audience packed within the Soup Kitchen is. Good job gentlemen, good job. Oh, and they covered the English national anthem, which they said was the Eastenders theme tune. They’re a really funny band as well, did i mention that? I think this band are fantastic. (4.5/5)
I’ve heard good things about Tall Ships for a while now but I’ve never managed to sit down and listen to them. Being able to listen as well as watch them perform their songs for my first ever time with the band has been an absolute pleasure. Looping their sounds is a big part of who Tall Ships are and with so much going on it’s so easy to slip into this constant state of musical bliss. Whereas similarities lie with Brontide for repeated patterns, the atmosphere and sound is still quite different; Tall Ships providing passages that are much more melodic and surround the sultry vocals that gather on top. A much more euphoric ambience shrouds the crowd and the pleasantries are requited when the crowd sing back. It’s quite a unique and mesmerising experience that I don’t think is easy to forget and will always be a live highlight to tell the grandchildren. It’s for these reasons that Tall Ships headlined the BBC Introducing stage at this years Reading and Leeds festivals and for the same reasons that you’re going to be hearing about them a heck of a lot more in the next 12 months. (4.5/5)
On the whole A Carefully Planned Festival has been an absolute tremendous affair. Some stages were slightly delayed with their schedules but aside from that it must’ve been such a huge feat to collaborate with all these different venues and acts, combining and utilising everything on offer to create a very well knit 2 day festival. Even having discounts at a local chippy just shows the little things that have been thought about and I really admire that community aspect of everyone coming together for the weekend. There’s been brilliant acts we knew and even some knew surprises that I’ll be keeping an eye on, but for now all I can really say is thanks for the memories and hopefully see you next year.
You can read our Saturday review of A Carefully Planned Festival 2012 here.
Words by Mikey Brown (@MikeyMiracle)