Culture, Manchester, Music

Live Review: Henge @ Manchester Academy 2

0 263

By: Sarah Lane
Photography: Lucy Tibbs

‘Enter if you dare’, read the signs in the entrance of the Academy. Decorated for Halloween with black and orange bunting and filled by gig-goers with blue, green and pink hair, it was a festive atmosphere. An alien-space-robot lingered in the foyer; its spray-on silver legs, face paint and antennae hinted that something strange was afoot upstairs.

And so it was. Kitties in monochrome, baseball caps striped by badges, fairy lights worn casually around the neck, lace bras, sports bras and yes, actual tie-dye, all populated the dance floor. Silly patterned shirts and so many shiny, glittery people. But none so shiny as those on stage. “Humans! Your future is space!” calls our psychedelic space shaman (the band’s front-man, Zpor). The crowd twirl and bounce wildly to a bass that goes deep and gets dirty. The urge to dance is fired by the knowledge that we are in the middle of a war; we are smack bang in the centre of the raging laser battle that is ‘Jupiter’s Wild Ride’.

Loose drums and shimmering cymbals blend into our leader’s declaration: “Welcome to the experiment, humans. I am billions of years old. This body is just a clone, a mere flesh puppet”, and robo-riffs onwards over the many keyboards and that relentless bouncing rhythm. Sound gloops over us as we are regaled with a tale of times gone by, “The planet you call Venus? It has a toxic atmosphere. ‘Twas not always thus. The Venusians thrived. But then came… the Great Venusian Apocalypse!” The band amp up the space-prog vibes as they play one of the band’s festival favourites, ‘The Great Venusian Apocalypse’. Harder and faster the sound. Harder and faster the crowd. 

Henge are about so much more than the music. There is a narrative to be told. The members of the band hail from various parts of outer space and have travelled to planet earth to save us through the medium of music. Frontman Zpor speaks with awkward formality befitting an alien no less than one thousand years old. The frivolous fantasy of the Henge story and their performance, for which the members are costumed as robots and aliens, belies a deeper message that Zpor wishes to impart.

Our saviour preaches, “This song is about the thrill of making art. So, if you are somebody who has made art today, if you have made a drawing, if you’ve painted your face, this song is going out to you lovely lot”. A valuable sentiment, and genuine. There is something desperate and beautiful about clinging to whimsy while the world burns.

For the first time, we get a guitar riff that is sweet and clear, with a surf twang and vocals sung not unlike a regular human popstar. A refreshing interlude from the sensory chaos that is general Henge. Of course, the crowd go wild for ‘Demilitarise’, everybody’s favourite space-age anti-war anthem.

Dearest gig-goers, a gig of the Henge variety is a lot of silly fun, suitable for people that are fun and silly. So if that sounds like something you’d enjoy then definitely check them out. You’ll be in for a treat. Certainly, one to see live, their recordings don’t do justice to an experience that is part (cleaned-up) Rocky Horror and part Flaming Lips kids-party-esque nonsense. You’ll have a boogie, you’ll have a giggle and who knows, you might walk away with your very own Henge babygrow…

About the author / 


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • £10K Manchester Writing Competition judges reveal what they’re looking for in winning entries

    The 2020 Manchester Writing Competition is now open for entries.The UK’s biggest literary award for unpublished work returns this year as the prestigious Manchester Writing Competition opens for entries. Each year writers compete for two £10,000 prizes offered by the Manchester Writing School, the most successful writing school in the UK. The Poetry Prize and Fiction Prize…

  • APRE: “I think when we write music there’s a real sense of freedom”

    Mixing retro inspirations with modern innovations, APRE is a band defying the conventions of time by creating a new benchmark for early success. Multi-instrumentalists and co-vocalists Charlie Brown and Jules Konieczny, both played in different bands before coming together. After meeting at Ealing Chess Club during their time at University, their new creative partnership was born. You…

  • Giant Rooks: “We couldn’t run away anymore”

    Featured Image: Max Burk German indie-rock band Giant Rooks are quickly making their name known in the music industry, one hit track at a time. Forming in 2015, after meeting in Hamm, the band have since moved to the cultural hub of Berlin, which is known for inspiring some of history’s most influential musicians –…

  • The Big Moon: “As a band we just want to make people feel better”

    Featured Image: Pooneh Ghaha The Big Moon have consistently rewritten the rules on what it means to be a modern indie band, since their formation in 2014. The London-based four-piece is led by lead singer and guitarist Juliette Jackson, bassist Celia Archer, drummer Fern Ford and guitarist Soph Nathan. Founded through a Facebook callout, their chemistry…