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Union Rocks closes Manchester Met’s Welcome Week celebrations

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Humanity Hallows Issue 4 Out Now!
Pick up your copy on campus or read online.


By Jacqueline Grima & Evelyn Sweeney


An eclectic mixture of indie, jazz, alternative rock, funk and soul bands gathered at the Manchester Met Student Union to perform at the annual Union Rocks event, closing Welcome Week. In total, eight bands performed at the event and were greeted by a highly enthusiastic reception from the student crowd.

First up on stage was unsigned act Joel Gardiner, who proved to be a great and well received warm up for the main event. Joel was followed by Fugios, an alternative indie rock band who originate from Preston in Lancashire. Often compared to Arctic Monkeys, Fugios were previously known as The Fugitives and have been playing together since high school. The band recently had the honour of playing at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club.

Next up was unsigned Manchester jazz and funk band Cruel Kingdom who last year had the honour of playing with the legendary Alexander O’Neal and recently entertained crowds at the Blackthorn Music Festival. Cruel Kingdom were followed by funk and soul band The Bright Black who will also be playing at the Deaf Institute later this month. Rounding off this stage of the event were funk and soul band Hotspur Press who recently signed to label B33. Hotspur Press wowed the crowd with their catchy and engaging anthem-like songs.

One of the strongest performances of the evening came from unsigned North Yorkshire rock band Your Illuminations. The band, who literally lit up the stage with fairy lights, had the crowd in the palm of their hands as they made the union their own for one night only. Next up was another strong performance from Stillia, an indie rock ‘n’ roll band from St Helens whose strong stage presence and raw alternative vibe held the crowd’s attention for the entire set.

Headliners of the Union Rocks event were Manchester rock band Sly Antics who owned the room with their confident and seamless performance and singer Sam’s strong vocals. Sly Antics, whose influences include Arctic Monkeys and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, recently performed at Manchester’s O2 Ritz and their debut EP Captive City was released in September by Vixen Music.

At the gig, Humanity Hallows caught up with Ben from the band to ask him about the inspiration for the new EP.

“It was the first track we ever wrote. We were commuting on the train every day and you could sense the anger and resentment from the people around us. So I guess it’s just about people being angry and the city being held captive by those types of commuters.”

Sly Antics performed their first gig at last year’s Union Rocks and Sam talked about how the band has progressed since that first performance.

“We did our first gig here nearly a year ago. It’s a lot different now though because we don’t have any nerves any more.

“Confidence is the main thing. It’s mostly about changing our songs that we’ve recorded into a show that can get people excited, I feel like we’ve gotten better at that.”

The evening was rounded off by sets from DJs Cameron Rawson and PBH who kept the crowd entertained until the early hours.


About the author / 

Jacqueline Grima

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