The Membranes, HENGE, Queen Zee, LIINES, The Pack (Theatre Of Hate) and Glove
Saturday, June 8, 2019
O2 Ritz, Manchester
Membranes fans are probably the most patient fans in the world. It took four long years for the band to return with the follow up to their excellent “Dark Matter/Dark Energy ” album. The new release entitled “What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away” was finally released on the 7th of June and to commemorate this occasion, John Robb & Co, booked a home-coming gig. They didn’t invite just one or two support acts. Instead, they have brought a full mini festival to the O2 Ritz.
Glove, a duo consisting of artists Slosilver and Stephanie Finegan opened the night with their energetic set. Many bands are called the next big thing, but Glove definitely deserve this title. Both artists were true firecrackers on stage. Matching outfits and colourful make up only added up to their appeal, but it was their music that made a huge impression on everyone. It’s very hard to classify their sound: there is punk rock, ska, indie, elements of grrlpower movement from the 90’s. From several styles, they create an unique combination that is truly their own. Gloves released their debut EP on May 4th and we had the pleasure of listening to it in its entirety.
The Pack (Theatre of Hate) were next on stage and their classic, uncompromising punk rock was greeted with delight by the public and massive moshpit formed to test the bouncy floor at the Ritz. I was equally delighted to see many young faces in the crowd wearing fan hawks and studded jackets. Indeed, punk’s not dead. Watching the band from the press pit (for the first time in my life) gives the reviewer a bit of a different perspective and at the same time I can tick this off my bucket list. Press review? Done! Light and sound at the Roskilde festival for the Sweedish death band band? Done! Taking pictures in the pit? Done as well! In the end, my pictures turned not very good and I had to rely on my pit partner in crime, Neil Winward. He kindly donated several excellent shoots of his own for this reviw and I’m very grateful!
You can follow Neil’s photography page at: https://www.facebook.com/neilwinwardphotography/
Added at the 11th hour, all female group, the LIINES are going from strength to strength. The band consists of Zoe McVeigh (vocals, guitar), Tamsin Middleton (bass) and Leila O’Sullivan (drums). On Saturday, they played their best show yet. If you haven’t seen them live, you are committing a crime. Loud, bold and perfect in every detail, the trio easily proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. Their next gig in Manchester will take place on 17th of July at Festival Square, so book your seat in the front row!
I was looking forward to seeing Queen Zee for months after reading enthusiastic reviews on the internet and I wasn’t disappointed. Queen arrived in a blaze of glory and red light. Their set was built on powerful riffs, glam rock extravaganza and endless energy. There was a good deal of tongue-in-cheek humour between the songs that brightened the seriousness of their lyrics. My only complaint? Their show was too short and demands for “one more song” saw the band off stage and into the green room.
Next act, HENGE were something out of this world. Literally. They didn’t even pretend to be human. In fact, they travelled the universe in the name of rave to teach mankind to love, dance and take care of trees. The lead singer, Zhor wore a cape, voice modulator and plasma ball hat. The rest of the band consisted of Grok, a human synthesiser player, Nom, the frog drummer and Goo, Venusian refugee on the keyboard. Henge are definitively a party band serving a convincingly alien mixture of rave, ABBA inspired disco, psychedelic rock with some heavy use of cowbell in certain songs. Despite their weirdness, everyone loved them and their merch stand welcomed a large crowd after the gig.
The final act for the night, the Membranes were greeted by a massive cheer from the gig goers when they finally appeared on the scene around 20:30 pm. As promised, the band were accompanied by a 10 piece BIMM Manchester choir conducted by Claire Pilling. I have seen Membranes play at the Alphabet Brewery in December 2018 and I thought they were excellent back then, but they sounded and looked even better now. They were like a fantastically oiled machine: well tuned in, strong and surprising. The show started with ” The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light”, followed by “Dark Energy” and “Do the Supernova” that sent the audience into a frenzied pogo. The new album was also well represented with “A Strange Perfume”, “Black Is the Colour” and the title track “What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away”. It was one of the best gigs (or mini festivals) I have attended this year and the next show better be earth-shattering as the bar has been set very high indeed.
Vanadian Avenue would like to thank The Membranes and John Robb, Claire Pilling and the rest of the Manchester punk community for the opportunity to film and review the gig and for the great time they offered. A big thank you to Neil Winward for his pictures and to Shauna McLarnon from Shameless Promotion for her kind words and assistance. Thank you so much!
Special shout out to the lovely people from AF gang (IDLES community) who took me under their wings. All is love!