Gig review - The Ninth Wave, Pleasure Centre

My first gig back after a two year absence due to COVID, cancellations and not being ready/brave enough to venture out (since restrictions were lifted), was always going to be an emotionally charged affair.

Call it serendipity if you will, but when the Ninth Wave announced their hiatus/farewell tour on 24th February - The timing felt perfect to get back to my true love. Live music.

It was an evening that was always going to emotionally charged for another reason though.

Ever since I first saw this band support When Young in 2018 at The Dead Institute another iconic Manchester live music venue, I’ve been in love and awe of their musicianship. Give them a stage and their instruments and something magical happens. Something so utterly, brilliantly compelling, you can’t help but just be in awe of this incredible band.

I was also lucky to chat to Hayden at The Deaf Institute after that first gig - he was so gracious when I spoke to him and gave me a flyer for their next Manchester gig (supporting The Blinders at the 02 Ritz - yes that gig) and he gave me a sticker for the band. Which proudly graces my bass guitar.

Support tonight came from the aptly named Pleasure Centre They looked the part, they had the swagger and by Christ can they play! I'm not sure which songs they played, but their 30 minutes set was over way too soon! It was the perfect reintroduction to live music after a 2 years and 10 day absence. Uplifting, unadulterated, guitar heaven!

Thankfully we only waited around 25 minutes and the room was absolutely fizzing with excitement and anticipation. At 9pm Hayden, Maddie, Kyalo and Calum took to the stage for what may be the final time I’ll see them... I sincerely hope not!

They opened up with 2021's hit 'Maybe You Didn't Know' - the track builds to a chorus that for me is utter fucking magic!

After an opening like this you'd be forgiven for thinking it couldn't get any better.. You'd be mistaken. Up next the absolute beast of a song 'Reformation' then the sublime 'Everything Will Be Fine'.

I stood a bit back from the front of the gig - partly as I wasn't going in the mosh pit (not tonight), but I also wanted to take in the utter brilliance of their live performance. Musicians as talented as these, especially as I now play bass - are such a joy to behold. Hayden and Millie have a chemistry, having known each other since they were bairns and it shows on stage. They bounce of each other in a way, that makes you feel part of the magic.

The whole point of seeing a band live is you like them, you want to see them play. But every person in that room tonight adored this band, the love and adulation from everyone present in that room was visceral.

I was delighted they played the first song that I heard of theirs 'Sometimes the Silence is Sweeter' - I put my phone away, tried not to sing too much and just revelled in it. Utter magic!

They did a one song encore with 'The Broken Design' and after a rapturous applause they took their final bow.

In all my days of seeing live music I have never been as blown away by a band I'd never heard of previously; continuously been enthralled by each release as they've grown; or had as much love for a band as much as I do for these guys.

The tree doesn't always show us it's fruit. It buds then starts to blossoms through the spring, in summer we bear witness to its full glory enjoying it's fruits as much as its shade. In the autumn as the leaves change their colour we admire them all over again, then in winter they slow down, regenerate only to bloom again the next year.

As with the tree, I sincerely hope that this hiatus for The Ninth Wave is like the trees winter. I hope they come back to create something again in the not too distant future that's so stunning we'll be able in the incredible beauty of this incredible band once more.

Will this be their last hurrah? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain…. Their homecoming sold out gig in Glasgow this Saturday promises to be an emotional farewell!

The Ninth Wave

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