Tyla's Dogs D'Amour at Rebellion...
Words: Anne Estella | Photos: Ant Firmin
Marking their final gig of 2017, Manchester’s own Gorilla Riot opened the stage, bringing their unique brand of grunge-infused, bluesy, desert rock to a cold and damp city. With a self-titled debut album and a 4-track EP, Six Shots Down, already under their belt, this young five-piece looked like they’d been together for years and gave a tight, cohesive performance to what should have been a much larger crowd.
Frontman Arjun Bhishma has the most incredible voice that wouldn’t be out of place in ‘90s Seattle - Their acoustic song Soldier could have been the track that Nirvana never released. There is no doubting that these boys have talent by the bucketload – the only disappointment being that they didn’t play for longer.
Mid-set, a quietly-spoken and seemingly shy Arjun confided in the the crowd that he wasn’t very good at talking, but thanked everyone for coming out and wished us all a f**king good time tonight. But when you can sing like that, no-one really cares whether you’re a good talker or not. Once the music resumed, he leapt into the crowd and ran back onto the stage to finish what was an outstanding performance. The last song they played, Dirty, is one of my personal favourites from their album and so catchy that I still had it in my head the next day.
Next up were The Main Grains, fronted by the legendary former Wildheart and Yo-Yo, Danny McCormack.
Delivering feel-good, Ramones-style punk ‘n’ roll, The Main Grains played an up-beat set, which included a rendition of The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks. The vibe was very informal, with lots of banter between the band and the crowd, who were lapping it up. This group of road-tested musicians made it all look so easy, performing together comfortably like a well-oiled machine. Their relaxed and easygoing banter really endeared them to the audience, who were with them all the way.
By the time England’s finest - Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour - took to the stage, the crowd had grown and were eager for the sleazy glam rock ‘n’ roll tones that were about to hit them. Esteemed singer, guitarist, artist and poet, Tyla J. Pallas, provided what was an accomplished musical performance with a dose of humour thrown in for good measure. Playing a string of greatest hits, starting with classic favourite Billy Two Rivers, they did not disappoint. Despite Tyla’s formidable showmanship, my eyes kept seeking out the supremely talented drummer Simon Hanson, whose antics included some expert drumstick spinning and comical outbursts, which culminated in him amusingly being ‘attacked’ by his mic stand. Asserting that he was in charge of the whole show, he said “I think you’ll find that the drummer is the f**king engine room” and he could be heard calling out “This one’s mine!” before some of the songs and (jokingly) chastising his fellow bandmates for their timing. He then began heckling the crowd, much to everyone’s delight.
Having been handed numerous drinks and then a nice bottle of wine by fans - which he started sipping from - Tyla shouted “You thought you were going to a gig, not a f**king cheese and wine night!” The atmosphere by this point had become increasingly lighthearted and jovial. A heartfelt and unexpected rendition of George Michael’s Last Christmas followed by a little toast to George was such a touching gesture and clearly appreciated by everyone present. By the time the Dogs played Drunk Like Me, the atmosphere had turned decidedly festive. A merry mosh-pit then ensued during their two-song encore, by which time Rebellion was hosting the most electric pre-Christmas party around! Arms and beer were flying through the air and it felt like no-one wanted the party to end.
A truly memorable night, but the highlight for me was Gorilla Riot – these boys are our very own home-grown rising stars and deserve to go far. Excellent musicians, every one of their songs is superb and did I already mention that the singer has an incredible voice?! If you missed them this time the good news is they’ll be appearing at the awesome SOS Festival next summer.