Manchester’s famous Academy was host to what has become an annual event and the second Gigantic Indie All Dayer. A steady flow of people began early on to fill up all the three venues for today’s event.

When I looked at the stage times and the logistics of getting from one room to another, it became clear I had a problem to resolve. Once all the three stages were up and running, they all had the same start times. I, therefore,
decided to focus on the main stage with one exception as the day drew on.

First up were the Primitives. By this time a fairly substantial crowd had gathered. Tracy Tracy dressed in a pink tutu and danced like it was 1988. Although more poppy rather than indie, the introduction of their biggest hit 'Crash' finally gave the crowd a flavour of what they had turned out for.

Next up was Hurricane #1. A few technical difficulties saw them lose 10 minutes of their set due to an amp that wouldn’t work. It was a shame really as with their big guitar riffs they clearly had unfinished business. Front man Alex Lowe delivered a powerful performance throughout, and for the first time in seventeen years introduced a new single, 'Think of the Sunshine'. It is a song that will hopefully bring this reformed group back into the limelight.

The hall emptied very quickly afterwards with people running to try and catch the end of one of the other band's sets, or equally likely taking the opportunity to grab something to eat.

The biggest crowd of the afternoon so far assembled for the Gang of Four. John Sterry, the enigmatic new lead singer, who replaced Jon King in 2012, commanded the stage in a formidable way; this is what the crowd had come for, to be brought back to a time and an era when indie rock reigned supreme. The band to this day, even despite line-up changes and with guitarist Andy Gill the only original member, perform with a panache very few can match.

Pop will Eat Itself blasted onto the stage, singer Graham Crabb with a megaphone in hand. The band moved frantically all over the stage, trying to cover each and every inch of it and throwing mid-air chest bumps at each other which the audience loved. 'PWIE Zation' had the hall in a mass dance along, and was the highlight in a set that was memorable for its crowd participation.

There was not much room as the Inspiral Carpets took to the stage. As I entered the photo pit, I was pleasantly informed that the three song rule has been removed and we could stay in the pit for the whole set if we wanted. As keyboardist Clint Boon would say, "That’s good, innit?” There was no doubting the band's pedigree and list of hits, most of which got an airing with 'This is How It Feels' being the show stopper and the crowd's favourite. It was easy to see why the band hae been enjoying a welcome return to the live scene.

As I was about to leave the pit, I was informed by the pit security that there would be no photo access for the headline act, Echo and the Bunnymen. I had already decided to change venue and head over to the Academy 2 and catch the High.

As I arrived in the pit, there were less than twenty people in the hall. It had been twenty-two years since they last performed. Did people remember them? This was a must see gig as it was their only scheduled gig this year.
As the band were about to hit the stage, the crowd started to grow.

The High opened with 'Four Thirty'. You could forgive them for being nervous, but these fears were banished by Andy Couzens, as he unleashed a set of demon riffs that have not seen the light of day for a long time.

John Mathews took to the stage in the now pretty much full hall. His vocal range was awesome. For those who remembered these songs first time round, they weere as powerful as ever. Tony Meehan stood static but powering out the bass, working in tandem with Jack Couzens on drums. It was very hard to believe it had been so long since these guys had graced the stage together.

The introduction of 'Bombay Mix' found the High in full flow. Their set saw the complete resurrection of a band that in their day truly were greatly underrated, so it seemed fitting that the final song of the day was 'Somewhere Soon'.

It was a day of nostalgia, from an era that defined a generation. With the amount of support shown to these bands, it was certain that most of the audience will be back if there is another Gigantic Indie All Dayer in 2016.

Photos by Billy Seagrave

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