Orbital – 02 Apollo, Manchester

Last gig of the year, and it’s a duo I’d been meaning to check out for quite some time. When I was introduced to Orbital way back in 2010 I listened to them late at night to help with my sleep. But live they really crank up the bass, so the calming nature becomes the acid house nature. You can really go at it, and it makes even the new material come out strong, Monsters certainly do Exist when they’re cranked up to the max.
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MGMT – Albert Hall, Manchester

I’ve had numerous friends tell me MGMT are a bit shit live, so I went in with low expectations. I wouldn’t have went in at all, but I seriously love their new album ‘Little Dark Age’, I listened to it pretty much on repeat when I moved into my Manchester flat. Good memories are tied to it, and worst case I felt was the live performance unravelling those memories as they shat on their own little ditties.

Thankfully, apart from taking forever to set up (even longer with the encore, which took all the fun of an encore out of an encore), they were on fire, with trippy visuals, and lots of fun alterations to their catalogue. Nothing sounded as it did on disc, but extended instrumental noodlings, guitar over synth, and everyone huddling around a dinky piano at the end made it a night to remember.

They even gave a cuddly dog away at one point. Tacky, but it seemed to make sense at the time. Me and Michael indeed.

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Julia Holter – Gorilla, Manchester

And finally I’m writing about things that happened in the same month, though for some reason my memory of recent weeks is foggier than earlier weeks. I’ve seen Julia Holter before anyhow, she created an amazing atmosphere with her avant-garde pop at the Manchester Cathedral a few years back, so I can apply that memory of seeing her then to how she sounded a few weeks back. Much the same, only I didn’t feel Gorilla was the right place. Plus at the front I couldn’t really see much thanks to the huge music stands, for once it was a mistake to wait on the opening doors, though it’s probably always a mistake.  Continue reading

Ought – Gorilla, Manchester

I went to this gig after learning that I was being let go from my job. I also cracked my head open, the blood is still in the carpet. Are the two events related? I don’t know, but going to a gig would take my mind off it all. Even if I felt like I was going to pass out. Besides, my friend was coming, and I hate friends down.  Continue reading

Go Go Penguin – Albert Hall, Manchester

One of those gigs I went to without listening to them beforehand, because sometimes it’s nice to be surprised. And you can’t say no to seeing a band with a name like Go Go Penguin. It’s ambient jazz, a little grander than Portico Quartet who I saw earlier in the year, and the music they played felt warm, the sort of music you’d use to wrap your cold naked body up with, an audible blanket.
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Interpol – 02 Apollo, Manchester

Turn On The Bright Lights is a masterpiece, Interpol played the album beginning to end last year. I wish I was there. This year they played a mixture of new and old. And it made me wish I was at that gig last year even more. It would still have been three guys standing still singing mopey songs, but the songs would have all had feeling and emotion packed behind them. Everything after is just the same as before, but a little drier, a little duller, a little why bother. Of course I meant a lot, but I’m trying to be nice when they still pull out those classic album number one hits.
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