The British Sound Project, while only in its second year of existence, is fast becoming a staple in the Manchester music calendar. Aimed at indie fans and students new to the city looking to discover new bands while watching old favourites, British Sound Project 2017 certainly did not disappoint.
Following the success of last year’s event, which featured Primal Scream and Badly Drawn Boy, British Sound Project returned to Victoria Warehouse over two nights featuring up-and-coming young bands alongside established indie royalty.
Sam Gosling reviews Friday and Saturday’s British Sound Project 2017 line up.
Bolton lads, Sittin Pretty, were the first band up to kick off proceedings on the Victoria Warehouse stage. Formed back in 2013, the self-styled blues/rock band were invited back to BSP, having shared the stage with the Black Grape and Reverend and the Makers last year. They played an energetic short set to a steadily building crowd before leaving the stage to make way for the next band.
Fatherson took to the stage next and went straight into their most famous song ‘Forest’. The band, although still relatively undiscovered, had an army of loyal fans pressed against the front of the barriers singing along to every word. The Kilmarnock pop-punk band quickly turned on the style, delivering a fantastic set of guitar crunching hooks and polished harmonies to the crowd. They have a real knack for sing-a-long choruses and they didn’t disappoint when the crowd sang every word of ‘Hometown’, ‘Mine for me’ and ‘I Like Not Lnowing’, before the Scottish trio left the stage to great applause after ending their set with ‘Always’.
Next to take the stage were Cambridge 5-piece, Lonely the Brave. Formed in 2008, the band have a huge loyal following and this showed tonight in the crowd. Playing hits from their two albums, they gave the audience what it wanted, another sing-a-song! Angst seemed to be the theme of the set, as they powered through songs such as ‘Dust and Bones’, ‘Black Mire’ and ‘The Blue the Green’ and it was clear to see by the end of the set, why the band have gained such a loyal following.
Manchester performance poet (and Humanity Hallows Issue 7 cover star) ARGH KiD took the stage next to provide the crowd with some much-needed culture between all the guitars and angst. Asking the crowd: “Who likes beer? Who likes sex without relationships” and “Who likes weed?” warmed him to the predominately student crown instantly. ARGH KiD performed two poems, one about friends and another about Manchester slang, both of which were very well received. Leaving the stage to a huge applause, he introduced the next band on the bill, and stand out band of the whole night, Mallory Knox.
The Cambridge band have gained a loyal following over the last few years and their fans were out in force tonight. You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a Mallory Knox band t-shirt in the crowd. After recently splitting from their record label, Mallory Knox have promised a complete revolution of their sound in the coming months. However, tonight it was about the hits. Opening with the title track from their latest album Wired, the band provided some much-needed anthems. ‘California’ was brilliant and was followed by ‘Getaway’, Beggars’ and ‘Lucky Me’, with the crowd singing every lyric back to the band. Frontman Mikey Chapman was on top form with his strong vocals and boundless energy. Mallory Knox have been steadily gaining a reputation as one Britain’s best live bands and tonight it was easy to see why. Full of energy, talent and most importantly great songs the band did not disappoint and left the crowd shouting for more when they eventually left the stage after singing ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Better off without you’.
Next up was Deaf Havana, who played a short set but managed to squeeze in a cover of Oasis’ ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’. Opening with the brilliant ‘Ashes, Ashes’, the band rattled through live favourites such as ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Happiness and Trigger’.
Last up, were Scottish indie royalty Twin Atlantic. The Glasgow five-piece wasted no time on idle chitchat before launching straight into ‘Whispers’. This was followed by ‘Gold Elephant’ and ‘Hold on’, which were a real crown favourite, followed by the amazing ‘You Are The Devil’. It was a set stacked with the band’s hits and really felt like they’d hit their peak. Frontman Sam McTrusty announced to the crowd that this was the band’s last live performance for a very long time (possibly ever) as they had no plans for more gigs in the future. They played ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and then closed the set with ‘No Sleep’. Whether this is the last time we will see Twin Atlantic live, only time will tell, but one thing is certain, they couldn’t have picked a better place to wave goodbye to their loyal fans.
Following a triumphant first round, the eager crowds filled the venue for the second night. Airways were one of the first bands to take the stage, playing a short set featuring tracks from their debut EP Starting to Spin, which was well received by the hard-core early doors fans. The BSP is a great platform for up-and-coming bands and Airways certainly fall into that category.
Next up was TOY, who have been around for a few years now. The band didn’t speak much, instead choosing to let the music do the talking. They played songs from their three highly acclaimed albums, Toy, Join the Dots and Clear Shot, offering a unique sound of guitars and psychedelia.
Next to take the stage were Spring King. The set began with ‘Better Man’ creating a fast and powerful kick-start. They rattled through a set of fast-paced songs and provided an upbeat feel to the night.
Following Spring King were The Horrors, who between 2009-2012 were one of the top indie bands in the country. With two fantastic albums, Primary Colours and Skying, The Horrors were at the top of their game. Things have been quiet over the last few years for the band but support slots with New Order and Depeche Mode have seen the band return with a fantastic new album V.
The Horrors took to the stage, opening with the intro to ‘Machine’. The band were waiting for its frontman, Faris Badwan, who walked onto the stage to a huge applause. Bringing his unique voice to classics such as ‘Mirrors Image’, ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Endless Blue’, the Southend band showed why they are so critically acclaimed. Strobe lights and smoke machines filled the room and provided the perfect backdrop to the bands creepy psychedelic songs. Badwan proved himself to be a great frontman and brought some much-needed charisma and stage presence to the gig. Before leaving the stage, they played ‘Still Life’ and ‘Something To Remember Me By’ exiting to a huge applause and leaving the crowd with a feeling they had witnessed something special.
Following The Horrors, were headliners White Lies and it was clear to see that the main crowd were there for them. With an adoring audience littered with White Lies t-shirts, the crowd erupted when they took to the stage. Easy to listen to indie pop and huge choruses filled the room as the loyal lapped it up. ‘Hold Back Your Love’ and ‘Farewell To The Fairground’, were great set highlights and they left the crowd feeling happy and generally satisfied with the weekend’s events.
Ridiculous drink and food prices aside, the two-day festival was a great success and built on last year’s victory. Although 2017’s instalment boasted a series of big names headliners such as Twin Atlantic and White Lies, it was the support bands that triumphed and gave Manchester a weekend to remember. That is not to say the headliners weren’t good, especially the fantastic Twin Atlantic, it just happened to be the support bands who made the biggest impressions. Mallory Knox on the Friday, followed by The Horrors on the Saturday, were the two clear stand out performances.
Roll on next year!