The start of the festival season is upon us once again, and I was back for my second helping of the Gigantic Indie All-Dayer. When I looked at the line-up, I realised that a lot of these acts seemed to have completely passed me by, so it was going to be an interesting day.

The event was held in three venues of the Manchester Academy on one easily accessible site.

First up in the Main Academy was Jack Adapter, who were completely new to me. There was a good turn out, and I enjoyed a fairly powerful if routine performance from thise band.

Next up was S*M*A*S*H, who played in front of an enthusiastic audience who seemed to enjoy what was a tight but for me clinical and dull performance. The only thing of note for me was when one of my fellow photographers was hit by a flying pint of beer.

The next into the fray was the Frank and Walters. Finally an act that delivered something of substance, they played a great set with 'Indie Love Song', 'Michael' and 'Plenty Times' all worthy of a mention.

Cud entered the stage to entertain the amassing crowd. Until this day I had not heard or seen Cud. At one pointthe lead singer Carl Puttnam asked the audience if his vocals where okay as it had been a while. Well, his vocals on 'Possession' were sublime. That one song alone has encouraged me to seek out some of their earlier work. There was a lot to admire and take in. Were things at the event on a definite upturn?

Finally the other stages begin to open up, which had the crowd wandering from stage to stage.

Next in the Main Academy was the Darling Buds, another band who had passed me by. 'Hit the Ground' resonated with me as a throwback to the 80's, whilst 'Things We Do for Love” and 'It's Up to You' had an edge of quality
written all over them. Their set was full of excellent little numbers.

I made a quick dash across to Academy 2 for Back to the Planet, who hailing from London describe themselves an anarcho-punk band. Throughout their set they had a heavy reggae/electro ska vibe going on. I was not really sure if it was for me to be honest, but 'Teenage Turtles' and 'Please Don’t Fight' where the highlights of the set for me.

I then went back to the Main Academy for one of the 80's most underrated bands, the House of Love. They have a richness about the way they lay down their tracks, and a delivery that says they love playing live. 'Destroy the Heart' was given the let's do this together treatment and 'Shine On' and 'The Beatles and the Stones' finished a memorable set.

I went to the Academy 2 for another band I had never heard or seen, Bentley Rhythm Ace, who was billed as an electric synth duo, I was not sure what to expect, but I was intrigued as the stage was being set-up. Carried on by the roadies was the front of a car that actually lit up and served as a mixing station for the band’s music. An air raid siren was also set up with its own microphone. A thought ran through my head. Was this going to be musical hype or would it have some substance?

When the band came onto stage wearing glittering gold capes, laser lights came on and the car lit up with fairy lights. The air raid siren went off. Bouncing and bopping onto the stage, these guys were clearly here to have fun. They blew whistles and waved hands in the air to engage the audience. A member of the band drew back his hood, and out popped ex-EMF member James Atkin. Pardon the pun, but it was unbelievable. This was more dance than indie, more pop than rave but they did liven up the place, 'Bentley's Gonna Sort You Out' and 'Run on the Spot' were my favourites.

The headliners at the Academy were the Wonder Stuff, with the Gigantic Indie All-Dayer being part of their thirty year anniversary tour. It’s not too difficult to understand why the band have stood the test of time. Their music is infectious and it is timeless. Most of this crowd were around when they first blew onto the scene, and each song was performed flawlessly. Front man Miles Hunt provided witty banter and food for thought between each track. 'Intro' kicked them off and was quickly followed by 'Don’t You Ever'. The set was full of many great songs, but 'Size of a Cow' was ultimately the crowd's favourite.

There was one last act at the Academy 2, the formidable Jesus Jones. Another one of those bands who offered so much in their day, a large crowd had filled the hall for this final act of the day. What a treat they gave as they rocked out the hall with hits like 'Right Here Right Now' and 'Real Real Real' it’s easy to forget that this band were big, still are big and with songs like these and 'International Bright Young Things” they gave a performance that would grace any stage.

Today had like filling up a kettle, putting it on and waiting for it to boil, before being able to make that special cup of tea that lets you sit down and reflect on the day’s activities.


Photos by Billy Seagrave
www.seagravesocialphotography.com

















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