MR End Of Year Party
2016 has been shit, but the Manchester Music Scene hasn't
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin
2016 has been pretty shit. Countless iconic artists, be they actors, musicians, photographers or writers have passed away this year, politics has lost the plot entirely and the X Factor, the scourge and mockery maker of the music industry, against all the odds, is refusing to curl up and die.
But fear not, for we took over Rebellion for one last time to celebrate one consistently brilliant entity this year: The Manchester Music Scene.
Gorilla Riot, opening proceedings, are akin to GNR getting fucking by Sabbath at points, and it was at those points, where a overcast doom rock weather darkened their skylines, that they truly impressed. The first few songs were victim of a sedated energy, but by the set’s closing moments their blood was pumping, the music thumping.
A smooth segue from an original song into AC’DC’s Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be and back again showed both their music’s stark similarities to the classic rock n’ roll template and a clever ability to create a crowd pleasing plot twist.
Mothertongue are the world’s greatest band, it’s just that the world doesn’t know it yet. The world doesn’t know anything. The world just elected Donald Trump, voted Brexit and awarded an emoji word word of the year in 2015. Built from a repertoire that philanders with ska, prog, pop, rock n’ roll and much more, Mothertongue play everything under the sun in a strange but ultimately convincing sonic orgy, and carry you along for the ride as a mesmerised and overjoyed voyeur. Using reoccurring musical themes to sew their set together which in turn gives it a grandiose, film score like polish, they are incredibly musical yet so, so fun. On whatever show they play, they are the curveball no one expected but always wanted.
Unhinged, tonight’s out of town guests, are a punk-edged rock band who work at preposterous speeds. Releasing two EPs in four months between December and March, with new material on the way, they have announced themselves unto the world in a whirl of adrenalised guitar riffs and venomously spat vocals. Their first major foray out of home territory, the Stourbridge act play with so much energy it seems to put the crowd off at points. Dressed in a sparkly gold blazer, frontman Mike Hodges charges around the room, the rest of the band staying on stage churning out solidly written and nastily performed backing tracks.
Keep It Moving gravitates around a spinning riff while the nicotine craving antics of forthcoming single, Cigarette, show a maturing sense of melodicism, which marries their feral nature for thrilling results.
It sets up nicely for fast rising local boys Ritual King to crown the evening. Having a mainstay in the scene as Renegade & Retrospect, 2016 was the year their makeover made all the difference. A name change and a new, exquisitely produced and performed EP in Elixr, which, much like tonight’s opening act, combines the aggression and swagger of Appetite For Destruction with a dope smoking stoner aesthetic. Full of groove and slick musicianship – the dual runs between guitarist Jordan Leppitt and bassist Daniel Godwin are a joy to witness – they are quite simply a different animal now. Even if songs like Devil’s Chokehold and the grunge boogie brilliance of Unorthodox Satisfaction aren’t new songs, under this moniker they seem revitalised and deadly. Put them toe to toe with Orange Goblin, Truckfighters or Graveyard and watch them prove their worth.