Night And Day Café, Manchester, UK
24th August 2016
The Night And Day Café has been a Manchester Institution since 1991, it has remained unchanged and has been a supporter of local and independent music since it opened a quarter of a century ago. It is bedecked with artwork both from, and representing, Manchester and It remains one of the cities many venues that continue to support the spirit of independence that is synonomous with Manchester. Tonight is a showcase night for unsigned bands, the three bands tonight are from three counties across the north west of the UK, Cheshire’s Days Above, Greater Manchester’s The Madding Crowd and Cumbria’s The Glass Phantoms.
The Glass Phantoms take the stage and a distorted blues riff accompanied by gravelly vocals that come straight out of the delta marks the start of their set, soon enough a pounding drum beat kicks in accompanied by a riff The Cramps would have been proud of. Their powerhouse drummer relentlessly pounds out of primitive beat, whilst there is a hefty blues element to their music the garage and punk elements keep their sound original. I reviewed their debut single, I Am The Dark, last month, I was impressed by their debut release but I feel it didn’t catch the essence of just how good this Cumbrian quartet sound live.
Despite technical problems befalling them mid set they soldier on regardless, the primal powerful vocals and the distorted primitive beat make an irresistible combination. Of course they play their debut single and freed from the shackles of the studio it sounds even more impressive, it’s dark voodoo rhythm and bourbon drenched tones sound even better live. Their final number is a slow burner where the vocalist gets to showcase his rock ‘n roll howl. I’ve been seriously impressed by tonight’s opening act and on the strength of tonight’s appearance I find myself wishing they were playing further up the bill as this brief opening set just wasn’t enough.
Manchester’s The Madding Crowd are a completely different proposition. They play a manic brand of glam and indie infused punk rock. Their devil may care stage antics involves the singer and guitarist covering every inch of the stage. Whilst the main protagonists are hyperactively bounding round the stage their bass player stays crouched by her bass amp, possibly to avoid injury from her fellow band members. Their style veers widely across the set, covering every style and genre that’s worth a damn. They are a visually captivating band that defies description, and that’s probably the way the want it and the biggest compliment I could pay them.
Days Above bring yet another dimension to the bill. They play a driving and slick variety of indie rock that recalls the likes of The Editors and White Lies early releases, and has elements of Manchester legends The Chameleons in their DNA. They play their set with an easy-going charm that is hard not to warm to. They give the impression they’ve been playing live together for a while and compared to the previous two acts they bring a more relaxed aspect to what has been a showcase for three very different bands whose styles combined to make an impressive and diverse bill of burgeoning talent from across the north west.
On the basis of tonight’s gig the future looks bright, at least musically, for the north west of the UK. From the Cumbrian blues of The Glass Phantoms, the Mancunian insanity of The Madding Crowd to the slick indie rock of Cheshire’s Days Above, tonight is the kind of night you need to get you through the rest of week. I came to the Night And Day Café knowing one song by one band on the bill, I left the venue having seen three excellent and diverse bands that I need to hear more by. I’ve seen three impressive sets played in one of Manchester’s most iconic venues, all of this was had for the price of a pint, what more could you possibly want?
Photography is by Dean Unsworth, you can visit his Instagram account here
You can read the review of The Glass Phantoms debut single, I Am The Dark, here
The Glass Phantoms bandcamp can be found here and their facebook page is here
The Madding Crowd‘s bandcamp is here and their facebook is here
The Days Above website can be found here and their facebook is here