Bigfoot / Gorilla Riot / Takeaway Thieves At Rebellion Manchester: Live Review
Words: Anne Estella | Photos: Neil Jackson
Blackpool five-piece Takeaway Thieves are a band I haven’t heard of before and as they open up at Rebellion in support of headliners Bigfoot, I wonder how on earth they could have evaded my radar?! The answer was revealed to me later on... They only formed six months ago and played their debut gig in June this year, which I find astonishing given their balls-out confidence and tight, smokin’ hot performance.
Singer Peter Mcloughlin embodies the spirit of Mick Jagger and when I hear that some of the band members had previously been in tribute acts, I suspect that this is where he honed his craft. He has the trademark strut and moves down to a Tee, and the flares clad, beer swigging, gravely voiced frontman delivers an energetic performance of old school British rock ‘n’ roll with a sleazy glam swagger. The band consists of members of assorted ages, characters and style, including the hoop-earring, bandana-wearing guitarist Neil Hunter, who would make a fine pirate should ever choose to moonlight.
My feet don’t stop tapping from start to finish and the band’s original songs include the relatively new number Hot Cat. Adam Hall gives a dynamic, animated rendition on bass and the final song This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll does exactly what it says on the tin. Mayhem erupts on stage and the band close out to enthusiastic cheers, having absolutely smashed it! It was an exhilarating performance from an impressive band who clearly know know who they are and where they fit in. I really shouldn’t have been surprised… Blackpool is known for its rock after all.
Takeaway Thieves are:
Peter Mcloughlin – Vocals
Ben ‘Bunny’ Gibson – Lead Guitar
Neil Hunter – Rhythm Guitar
Adam Hall – Bass
Kimosabi Sweendawg - Drums
I Wish You Were Dead
Stranger In This Town
This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll
As far as the Mancunian quintet Gorilla Riot are concerned, it feels like I’ve come full circle, for it was nearly a year ago on this very stage that they first blew me away with their rich signature blend of dirty southern stoner rock. And it was then that I had them pegged as my ‘high hopes’, or ‘ones to watch’. Since then they’re been very busy bees, releasing a semi-acoustic EP (American Honey Vol.1), touring extensively, playing at some of the UK’s major music festivals, and their stellar hook-loaded single ‘Bad Son’ has enjoyed airplay on national radio.
Far from being an in-yer-face showman, mainman Arjun Bhishma exudes a quiet confidence and an assured, understated rock star quality, preferring to let the sultry tone of his guitar do the talking. He sings with The Blues coursing through his veins, drawing raw emotion from the depths of his soul - compelling you to listen to every single word. As he hangs a long scarf over his mic stand Steven Tyler-style, you get a distinct hint as to his musical influences – the Aerosmith tattoo on his arm also provides a vital clue.
The band boast an epic three-pronged attack on guitar and vocals - Liam Henry would look cool as f**k even if he were playing the wrong chords (he isn’t), while Charly T. has a bouncy rock groove going on, head rhythmically bobbing to his bluesy guitar licks. Meanwhile the no-nonsense rhythm section is as solid as ever; The band’s youngest bass-playing member Deggy is as steady and unwavering as an old Oak tree, while David Thomas is as dependable a drummer as they come, providing a very safe pair of hands for the coveted Gorilla Riot drumsticks.
The moment the electrifying opening of Kerosene Clown comes in I get goosebumps and can feel a smile engulf my whole face. One kickass groove-laden song is seamlessly reeled off after another and Most Wanted, Last Hymn and Hungry Like The Wolf are nailed with aplomb. Bhishma then asks everybody to raise their glasses for Half Cut which, you guessed it, is about booze… not that any of the lads have ever been known to touch a drop of the hard stuff themselves.
They bring their set to a close with the grunge-fueled stomper Dirty and everybody familiar with the track is holding their breath in anticipation of the break when the killer drumbeat strikes and the frontline jump, indulging in an irresistibly classic rock ‘n’ roll moment. Gorilla Riot have convincingly reminded everybody why they won the public vote to play the Rising Stage at this summer’s Ramblin’ Man Fair. They’re not only one of the hottest bands in Manchester right now, but one of the hottest up and coming acts on the UK rock scene, period.
Gorilla Riot are:
Arjun Bhishma – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Liam Henry – Guitar & Vocals
Charly T. – Guitar & Vocals
James ‘Deggy’ Degnen – Bass
David Thomas - Drums
Hungry Like The Wolf
Everything about Bigfoot is voluminous… from their sound to their hair! They did a great job when they appointed Sean Seabrook as their new singer, as the frontman’s larger than life persona fits them like a glove. Approximately two years since they last played at this venue, the band has pulled in probably one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen at Rebellion and without hesitation, Seabrook begins by shouting “Let’s rip the f**king roof off this place!”
Screaming guitars slice through the air as the Wigan-based chug rockers fill their ample high-octane set with songs from their self-titled debut album. By the end of the second song Seabrook is already dripping wet and grabs one of the many bottles of water that line the stage. Everyone gets swept up in the emotion of Forever Alone and the mic stand is offered to the audience who are desperate to join in. Highlights are coming thick and fast with songs such as Tell Me A Lie, which catapults the mood and the volume back up to maximum voltage.
Seabrook, whilst in total command of the show, allows each band member room to shine and never tries to hog the limelight. The Fear injects the performance with a heavier yet equally melodic number to close out on. Returning to the stage for an encore, guitarist Sam Millar strides back on, closely followed by his partner in crime, Mick McCullagh. Then, ‘McMillar Time’ begins – a tremendous jam that starts out with an instrumental version of Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile – played by the duo on matching pink Hello Kitty guitars!
Seabrook returns for the penultimate song, yelling “I’ve had enough of these two pussies, so now it’s time for the DOG!”, introducing Blame It On The Dog, and encourages the crowd to shout “It smells like shit, blame it on the dog”! Matt Avery’s bass really comes through with a beautifully deep tone and Tom Aspinall is giving it everything he’s got on the drums. For the last song Uninvited, Seabrook leaps into the crowd with fans jumping around him as he sings. The band then poses for the now compulsory ‘shot-with-the-crowd-in-the-background’.
Afterwards: At the end of the night Takeaway Thieves could be found taking drunken photos with anyone and everyone (and they seemed to be doing a roaring trade on the merch stand too); Bigfoot’s Sam Millar was discussing whether their impulsive purchase of the pink Hello Kitty guitars was really such a good idea and at least half of Gorilla Riot had made a swift getaway, having escaped the clutches of some over-zealous groupies. I think they’re just going to have to get used to that.
Sean Seabrook - Vocals
Sam Millar - Guitar
Mick McCullagh - Guitar
Matt Avery - Bass
Tom Aspinall - Drums
Eat Your Words
Prisoner Of War
I Dare You
Tell Me A Lie
The Other Side Of Paradise
Blame It On The Dog
Special thanks to Neil Jackson at Flaming Pint Photograhy for supplying photos for us to use.