Culture, Music

Strange Wave V @ O2 Ritz review – a showcase of some of modern indie music’s finest talent

0 202

Featured image: Manc Wanderer / @MancWanderer


Strange Waves festival returned to the beautiful O2 Ritz for the fifth instalment of indie rock shenanigans with the evening featuring popular indie bands like Sunflower Bean and headlined by South London punk-rock favourites Dry Cleaning.

Spread across two floors, the festival began with a set from Speedy Wunderground’s very own, The Lounge Society. Dubbed ‘the best new band in Yorkshire’ by the festival’s organisers, the four-piece certainly didn’t disappoint. Jumping straight in with the adrenaline-packed, headbanger ‘Cain’s Heresay’; what was already designed to be an incredible evening was off to a roaring start as the top floor of the Ritz began to fill up with audience members of all ages. 

The Lounge Society
Photography: Manc Wanderer

Slightly later on in the evening, Sunflower Bean took to the stage for their first Manchester show since 2018 to play a large chunk of material from their upcoming third album Headful of Sugar (set to be released on May 6th). The band’s excitement to be back in the city did not go amiss with lead singer Julia Cumming exclaiming her love for Manchester and how wonderful the crowd had been several times throughout their hour-long set.

 Opening with a couple of more traditional rock sounding tunes such as ‘In Flight’ and the titular song ‘Headful of Sugar’  they glided into the dreamy landscape of their previous album Twentytwo in Blue, proving that they’ve still got it and that their ability to switch between two vastly different sounds. It’s a shame the crowd didn’t quite match up to the energy that shone from the stage because this particular performance has cemented Sunflower Bean as one of the greatest indie rock bands of the moment and a total force to be reckoned with. 

Sunflower Bean
Photographer: Manc Wanderer

To close the evening, on the top floor, anyway, Dry Cleaning treated their fans to a generous 12 song set of favourites from their debut album as well as material from their older EPs like ‘Sit Down Meal’ and ‘‘Magic of Meghan’. In the last couple of years where there has been a huge influx of new artists in the post-punk/rock and indie scenes, it’s clear to see why Dry Cleaning has always stood out. Forming in 2018, the band consists of vocalist Florence Shaw, guitarist Tom Dowse, bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Tom Buxton).

Donning a pair of cream trousers pinned over an all-black outfit Shaw is certainly up there with some of the more exciting female musicians of the last forty years. Reminiscent of Kate Bush, Shaw and her almost deadpan, spoken word delivery combined with the musical talent of her bandmates made for something totally different to your stereotypical ‘indie’ gig. 

Dry Cleaning
Photography: Manc Wanderer

Although the band didn’t have much stage presence other than an occasional flail of a hand from the lead vocalist, this didn’t seem to bother the crowd as mosh pits formed in the centre of the sprung ballroom floor for almost every song. They even performed a slightly out of time rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for Shaw once Dowse had made this fact known. 

They finished a rather splendid evening at the Ritz in the most traditional way, this of course being by playing their most popular track. ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’ is Dry Cleaning at their best and in turn, perhaps the best way to finish off an evening filled with £6 pints and lots and lots of moshing.  


Follow Strange Wave on Instagram | Facebook

Follow The Lounge Society on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Spotify

Follow Sunflower Bean on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Website | Spotify

Follow Dry Cleaning on Instagram | Twitter | Youtube | Website | Spotify

About the author / 

Minty Slater Mearns

Leave a reply

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

More News Stories:

  • Opinion: “Our real legacy at university is the friends we make along the way”

    We all prioritise different things in life: our relationships, academic achievement, and financial success. While these can be great catalysts for short and long-term goals, making us resilient,  fixating on these goals can become overwhelming, even detrimental. Focusing on what we feel we have to achieve can make it easy to lose sight of the…

  • Reading and Leeds Festival 2024: The best bands to see this year

    Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield Overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of choice on offer at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’ve trawled the lineups to bring you a cluster of acts to watch on the August bank holiday weekend. From jungle to riotous punk, there’s a bounty of brilliant bands…

  • Film Review: The Idea of You – A sappy feel-good rom-com

    Featured image: PA Media In this sappy, heart-warming rom-com, two lovers meet at Coachella as Solène (Anne Hathaway) takes her daughter to a meet and greet at the Californian music festival. Known for her iconic roles in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and The Princess Diaries (2001), Hathaway plays the role of a 40-year-old divorcee…

  • Travel: Tips for multi-country trips abroad while keeping your bank account happy

    Featured image: Georgia Pearson The summer break from university is approaching and conversations about travel plans can be heard across campus. But with the cost of living at a high, students and young people are looking for cheaper ways to travel this summer. Travelling to multiple countries during one trip can be a budget-friendly way…