Culture, Music

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

0 156

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:

  • Anne Marie @ AO Arena Manchester review – A perfect and unexpected theatrical experience

    Featured Image and gallery: Ben Redshaw From West End childhood star and karate world champion to BRIT Award-winning popstar, Anne-Marie arrives at the AO Arena on the back of her third studio album, Unhealthy.  Leah Kate, an American singer best known for her post-heartbreak songs, is the opener. Kate tells the story of sliding into…

  • 5 emotional Harry Styles songs to cry to

    Featured image: Amelia Lara Del Rey Harry Styles is a man that’s hard to miss. From initially winning over our hearts in his X-Factor and One Direction days, Styles’ success has continued to grow across the release of his three Billboard Number 1 albums. He’s also recently invested in Manchester’s upcoming Co-op Live arena, set…

  • Meet the Author: Manchester Poetry Library hosts annual series featuring best-selling YA author Danielle Jawando

    Featured image: Ross Westgate The Manchester Poetry library hosted its annual ‘Meet the Author’ event series this month, featuring award-winning author and screenwriter Danielle Jawando. Born in Manchester, Jawando is the recipient of multiple literary accolades including the 2023 YA Book Prize for her most recent novel, When Our Worlds Collided. This year’s event invited…