Live Review: Nothington, Sam Russo, Cement Matters and Leagues Apart – The Tiger Lounge, Manchester – 13/05/2013

Making your way through a busy parade of football fans in the centre of town can be a somewhat difficult task, but the goal makes it worth it. Hidden down a narrow street, The Tiger Lounge will play host tonight to a small crowd of punks, drinking merrily, and being entertained by some great bands.

Opening the proceedings are locals Leagues Apart, who play their first show in a while, due to them hibernating from the live circuit to record their debut album. Tight and strung as ever, the band play a good balance of old and new material. In regards to the new material, these Manchester punks have honed in on their melody and gruff catchy nature to assured results. Once this debut LP drops there is no doubt that they’ll stand atop the best of the UK punk scene. (3.5/5)

Playing their first Manchester show, Watford’s Cement Matters haven’t been a band for long, but they show a lot of promise. This four piece play soulful punk that is chocked full of raucous guitars and drums, but rising above it are 50s swinging harmonious vocals. Whilst there is still some polish needed around the edges, Cement Matters succeed in entertaining tonight’s audience. (3.5/5)

Bringing the atmosphere down to a calmer level, folk punk aficionado Sam Russo has certainly been causing a buzz in the underground punk circuit. Since his debut album ‘Storm’ dropped last year, this buzz has attracted some well-deserved attention, and it’s clear why. Charming in his manner and melodically wound in his strumming, Russo is a delight. What’s especially nice is that sense of hierarchy between fan and artist is non-existent. Chatting between and during songs with those in the room is a fine example of that community spirit at shows such as these. This allows Russo’s stories to become more relatable particularly as it couples so well with good musicianship.  (4/5)

As soon as the necessary sound check is done, San Franciscan punks Nothington grab on tight and let themselves go. Their concoction of gravel filled vocals, huge anthemic vibes, and country tinged punk infects their audience to sing along and smile away. Songs such as ‘Last Time’ and ‘If You Say So’ have the volcanic capacity to raise this low ceiling room to grander scales. In the meantime, the attendees cause shenanigans of the best kind, from pyramids to multiple mini crowd surfs. By the end, Nothington have solidified an enjoyable set; the taste of this still rings in everyone’s mouths. After a three hit encore, each individual can be rest assured that this one of the rare Mondays where you are thankful that it’s a Monday. (4/5)

4/5

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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