Neighbourhood Festival Review

Neighbourhood Festival Review

Many of Manchester's venues are taken over by Neighbourhood Festival for an interesting day of music.

Words: Tanisha Hanna-Beards.  Photos: Cai Dixon

As the unsuspecting streets of Manchester feel the feet of a thousand fans tread their cobbles, the musical magic that once filled the city seems to have crept its way back in for a fleeting visit as the neighbourhood festival goers descend. With amps and guitars spewing their way onto the streets it all seems like organised chaos but despite the mad scramble there’s still a lingering sense of anticipation and excitement for the music that’s to come.

Spanning eleven different venues and featuring over one hundred artists in just a single day it’s easy to become bewildered by the sheer variety of acts on show in and around Manchester. From tiny basement stages all the way up to the Albert Hall, each venue possessed a uniquely electric atmosphere of its own. With many being lured by the bright lights of the larger venues, which were home to the headline acts, deviating from this usual tactic to seek out the up-and-coming was certainly a risk. Here it was most definitely a risk worth taking.

With the likes of James Cherry gracing Joshua Brookes’ basement stage with his slightly poppy yet soulfully powerful vocals, it was clear that talent was brimming from even the smallest of venues. Together with his tight backing band James’ emotionally diverse set offered a contrast to following artists such as Feed the Kid and their modern, rocky take on a 70s style set. The sheer range and diversity of acts playing even alongside each other in the same venue brought an astounding breath of fresh air with each new artist, keeping the audience constantly engaged. 

The same can be said for the intimate, makeshift stage found tucked away above Revolution on Oxford Road which played host to Will Joseph Cook’s standout set. His indie, head-bobbing, pop tunes combined a unique vocal and clever backing harmonies to bring a vibrant sound to new listeners and dedicated fans alike.

The jewel in the musical crown at the festival was however the Deaf Institute’s headline act. Clean Cut Kid’s distinctive sound exploded onto the stage and captivated the audience in seconds. Their effortless charisma, combined with an obvious chemistry between the band, made their three-piece harmonies and sing-along tunes pop on this small stage. Their carefully crafted songs, well-written lyrics and the band as a whole meshed perfectly to get everyone on their feet. An atmosphere is not easy to create but the buzz in the room was almost palpable. Undeniably a huge highlight of the entire festival.

So, after a day jam-packed with amazing music, the endless streams of tour buses, equipment and hungover musicians began to drift off into the morning mist leaving behind memories of some amazing performances and a few broken glass bottles in the streets for good measure. Literally a smashing end to a smashing day of live music in Manchester.

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