Saturday, 1 March 2014

Live review - in pictures: BBC 6 Music Festival, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester 28/2/14

The inaugural 6 Music festival had its first day yesterday - 2 live stages and a silent disco held in an old warehouse just a short hop on the tram from Media City. We arrived about 4.30 and dived straight in to catch the end of Weird Shapes in Room 2, one of the bands selected for the bill by BBC Introducing.

Weird Shapes onstage 28/2/14
There were bottlenecks moving between the 2 stages, but we squeezed our way through the gap and emerged into the much bigger Room 1 to see Luke Sital-Singh. He opened with an absolutely storming number, and while the rest of his set was good it didn't quite live up to the power of the start. For me he's definitely at his best when he's got an electric guitar in his hands.

Luke Sital-Singh live 28/2/14
Next up it was back to Room 2 for the brilliant Drenge. I don't know how they manage to make so much noise with just the 2 of them playing, but they were awesome. 'Bloodsports' incited a full-on mosh pit and people bounced off each other while the sound bounced off the concrete walls. They're sure to be a festival fixture throughout the summer, so make sure you catch them.

Drenge, 6 Music Festival 28/2/14
Back to the main room for Kelis. She put on. Good show but the sound mix was poor and it was all a bit 'Vegas revue' style for us, so after hearing the classic 'Milkshake' we headed outside for some food.

Midlake never disappoint, and tonight they were on fine form. They always sound to me like a band who properly practice together - their sound is much more powerful live  and they just feel like a 'proper' band. They played a good mix of old and new stuff - of the new ones 'The Old and The Young' has now developed into a proper live 'moment' and sounds built for festivals.

Midlake at the Victoria Warehouse 28/2/14
Towards the end of their set they were joined by collaborator John Grant, who flew in from Iceland just to perform one song, the brilliant 'Sigourney Weaver'.

John Grant with Midlake at the 6 Music Festival 28/2/14
Not many people would have the nerve to play their first gig with a new band headlining a festival that was being broadcast live, while also showcasing a brand new album that people haven't heard, but Damon Albarn has got the balls to pull it off.

Damon Albarn solo (but with his new band) 28/2/14
Despite a few ignorant people in the audience who weren't prepared to give the new stuff a try, he played a great set. The new songs have got a great feel to them (I confidently predict a Mercury Prize nomination) and he threw in a few curve balls from his back catalogue as well. The band he's put together to play live are really good and I for one think it's great that he continues to evolve and mature as an artist. He might lose a few beery 'Parklife' fans as a result but I'm definitely sticking with him. Here's the setlist:

  • Everyday Robots
  • Hostiles
  • Lonely Press Play
  • Tomorrow Comes Today
  • The Selfish Giant
  • You & Me
  • On Melancholy Hill
  • Hollow Ponds
  • Photographs (You Are Taking Now)
  • Kingdom of Doom
  • All Your Life
  • Mr Tembo
  • El Mañana
  • Heavy Seas Of Love
Damon at the keyboard 28/2/14

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