Featured image and gallery: Ben Redshaw
Porcupine Tree delivered a tremendous performance exclusive to Manchester’s iconic outdoor music venue, as Castlefield Bowl hosted the band’s only UK show of the year.
As of right now, Manchester is the lone UK stop on the band’s huge European tour, and they brought an incredible amount of energy to Castlefield Bowl as the headliner of the opening concert for Sounds of the City Manchester 2023.
Porcupine Tree has an unusual history, beginning in 1987 as a ‘hoax band’. Band creators Steven Wilson and Malcolm Stocks intended for the group to be a fictitious version of a legendary 1970s Psychedelic Rock band – in the vein of Pink Floyd.
The pair fabricated a detailed history and backstory, as well as about eight hours of music to prove their existence. By the early 1990s, this material had been sent around to various figures in the rock business, who found it promising. In 1992 they released their debut album ‘On the Sunday of Life’, and soon became rising stars.
More than 30 years later, Porcupine Tree stunned the audience with a great performance to kick off Manchester’s summer music fest.
Magma featured as the support act for this evening’s concert on the elevated stage. The French rock band started the evening off with ‘Walomendm warre’ and delivered an amazing concert. The crowd was in a trance as they cheered on the intrepid trio.
Continuing through the night, classics like ‘Hakëhn Deïs’, ‘Irena Balladina’, and ‘Wïï Mëlëhn Tü’ were all performed by the engaging band. With their recent performance at Marley Jazz Festival in their home country, Magma are really making a name for themselves with a fan base here at Castlefield Bowl. Magma last performed in Manchester when they performed at Band on the Wall back in November. Closing their set, they received a huge round of applause from the packed-out Manchester crowd.
Following a brief interlude, Porcupine Tree took the stage to thunderous ovation from the crowd, which included fans who had travelled from all over the nation to see the special performance. With ‘Blackest Eyes’ as their opening song, they immediately brought the energy to this gathering. This song alone justifies the decision for the band to open this festival, they have been breaking records and uniting fans with their out-of-this-world psychedelic rock music since the late 1980s.
All-time favourites like ‘Mellotron Scratch,’ ‘The Sound of Muzak,’ and ‘Dignity’ were performed throughout this spectacular event. It was a memorable evening for both their audience members and the throngs of rock lovers gathered around the stage. Some fans who were unable to attend were sighted in various locations near Castlefield Bowl so they could see and hear their favourite British rock band live.
The night came to an end with the renowned group’s final song, ‘Sleep Together,’ as the audience cheered and chanted for more. One of the loudest applauses I’ve ever heard greeted the band as they left the stage. A short while later, Porcupine Tree performed their final encore of the evening on stage. ‘Collapse the Light Into Earth’ is the first song performed by the Steven Wilson and Richard Barbieri team as a unit. Porcupine Tree exited the stage at their lone UK performance in 2023 after concluding the night with unquestionably ‘Halo’ and ‘Trains’, two of their greatest hits.
Magma supporting Porcupine Tree at Castlefield Bowl
Porcupine Tree performing at Castlefield Bowl