+ The Kenneths and Rival Bones
@ The Star and Garter, Manchester
29th January 2018
Words: Victoria Hicks
If you want to know what success looks like in the music industry, look no further than UK rock band, DEAD!. By success, I mean realistic success. Success earned not by money, but by years of hard work. With their debut album, ‘The Golden Age of Not Even Trying’, having just been released last Friday and, in the same week, being labelled by Kerrang! Magazine as ‘one of the hottest bands of 2018’, DEAD! are looking more alive than ever.
Tonight they’re playing The Star and Garter in Manchester, a 200 capacity venue just by Piccadilly Station.
First support act, Rival Bones, a very Royal Blood-esque band, with 2 members: singer/guitarist James Whitehouse and drummer Chris Thomason. Despite there only being two of them, their heavy rock style makes each song they do sound so full. I’ve missed going to rock gigs in small venues, because there’s a rough and readiness to them where it wouldn’t matter if you were stood on a table the entire gig, or if someone’s drink suddenly got flung through the air when a mosh pit starts up. Rival Bones are a band that take me right back to my heavy punk rock roots and I would love to see them again after getting to know their music more.
It has been ages since I have heard a band like The Kenneths. They bring back the fast paced old school Ramones punk that Manchester honestly needs in its music scene. They are feisty, energetic, funny and work the punk genre so well. Perhaps they could be the pioneers of rejuvenating punk rock in 2018.
‘Hellooo Manchester!’, yells DEAD! frontman, Alex. Five seconds in to their gig and there’s a mosh pit, so this is off to a very good start. Opener ‘The Boys, The Boys’ and second song ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’ are so full of character, they get everyone losing their minds. A girl that’s dancing on the bench next to me jumps off into the crowd to join the action. Guitarist Sam Matlock scales the drunk kit and stands like he’s king of the world during the guitar solo.
‘Wow this is fun!’, laughs Alex, as he giddily staggers back and forth across the stage. It must be a surreal experience performing your songs to a clearly devoted crowd. ‘Up for Ran$om’ is a mental song- and I mean that in a very positive way. The intense scream from Sam Matlock and pounding drum roll sends the crowd into an animalistic state. This is the best reception for an upcoming band that I have seen since Fearless Vampire Killers. DEAD! aren’t proving that they deserve to be in Kerrang!’s list for hottest bands of 2018- they’ve already taken that and are now owning it. Tonight, they are giving a performance to convey the sheer hard work and determination they put into the past 3 years to make ‘The Golden Age…’, and to convey the raw talent and bond that they have as a band.
‘I hope you can see how happy I am…this is all new to us’, Alex gestures to the huddle of sweaty, smiling faces in front of him.
Last song and cover, ‘My Generation’, is a perfect way to end this gig- it’s lively, everyone knows it and DEAD! literally smash it. Tonight has been incredible. As a music journalist you have to review each gig with an open mind, and of course be critical, but DEAD! and their support delivered such a perfect gig, I hope they all continue to have so much success in their musical careers.