For many of us, gigs have been on the cards for months but this was only my second post-COVID gig. I wasn't going to miss the opportunity of seeing one of my favourite bands playing in Manchester, so when Bugeye announced bringing Cro-Cro Land on the road under the moniker As The Cro-Cro Flies - it was a no brainer. I was gonna be there.
The aforementioned COVID caught up with one of the acts meaning Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something had to drop out (hope they're better soon).
Up first were I,DORIS who were one of the two bands I hadn't listened to prior to today (I like to be surprised). They all wore the most resplendent tabard's you will ever see. All diamanté emblazoned with DORIS. They call themselves mummycore riotpop kithenpunx - it's a great description. Kerrie from Bugeye was filling in on the drums for them in only her second time playing with them. Stand out tracks were 'Wonderwomen', 'In The Ladies' and 'The Girl From Clapham' you'll definitely recognise that one told from the opposite perspective of a rather famous song - The DORIS pledges we all took were also such fun. Give them a listen, I liked them, so that's recommendation enough!
Due to Jemma being unwell we had a longer break before Manchester upstarts and legends of the punk scene The Red Stains. Back to being a three piece band again it gave bassist Sterling Kelly space to shine - her playing is fucking phenomenal! If you've ever seen the Stains then you know what you're in for. Ben was as solid as ever on drums and frontwoman Natalie Emslie was the epitome of punk spirit. This band are masters of their craft, a pure delight to behold. Mannequin probably edged it for me as the stand out track but to be honest the 40-45 mins flew by far too quickly - that's The Red Stains though. You're always left wanting more.
Next up were a band whom I've grown to know and love - actually adore since 2020. Their debut album Ready, Steady, Bang was one of my top albums of 2020 for a reason. This band are immense on vinyl, but live I'm telling you now I was fucking stunned! I watched all of their live streams from Angela's during lockdowns so had a fair idea how they would be, but the energy of the live performance is always best experienced in person, right? Well, they didn't disappoint! Their full set was over in the blink of an eye. For those interested their set went 'On and On', 'Break Down', 'When The Lights Go Out', 'Blue Fire', 'Sunday Monday', 'Electric', 'Shake & Bake', 'Don't Stop'. I recorded their last song (the only one I did the whole day) and it was the cherry and the icing on the top of the cake! I swear their energy was off the charts. It's been a long time coming for me to see this band - I guarantee you that it won't be long before I see them again. A band at the top of their game. If you get the chance to see them the take it. You will be stunned!
Up next were the second band on the bill I had not heard before today Queen Cult - these I am glad I hadn't heard because as with the rest of the bill they stepped it up and fucking blew my socks off. Absolutely brilliant! I stood nearer to the back of the venue for this set because I wanted to take in the whole experience, crowd included. They're a femme-queer fronted band from Macclesfield and you need to see them if you get a chance in the smaller venues whilst you can. It won't be long before these guys are playing the much larger venues. Believe me these guys are going to fly - they are incredible! I had an ace chat with their bass player Leila at the end of the night (bass players rule) and I told her I was blown away by how incredible they are, she was so lovely. Listen to this band! They are destined for greatness!
As if the day couldn't get any better we ended with Manchester punk royalty Loose Articles. Every performance they play, is as if it's their last and tonight is was no different. Natalie on vocals and bass appears to embody the spirit of Courtney Love mixed with Celtic Warrior Boudica! I kid you not these ladies are in their own words "class" - The played 'Up The Disco', 'I Hate Buses', 'Kick Like A Girl' and ended on with iconic feminist anthem 'Lethal Weapon' and they were joined by Tokky Horror's Abbie (who is an all round class act) on guitar - The perfect ending to a fantastic day of live music.
Cro Cro Land is happening later this year - trust me you are going to want to be at this gig - I'll see you down the front.
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