Neighbourhood Festival 2022 took place on Saturday 1st October and it was not an event to be missed. With an incredible line-up, the city of Manchester was buzzing with incredible music from extremely talented musicians. Here are some live reviews…
Calum Bowie – Revolution
Having already played several sold out gigs across the country in recent months, it was no surprise to arrive at Revolution only to be told the venue was at full capacity as I was the last to be let through the doors to see Edinburgh’s Calum Bowie.
The 21-year-old has made somewhat of a name for himself due to his rising success on TikTok where he posts viral videos busking on his guitar whilst hanging out of his flat window. Despite his internet fame with over 6 million likes on TikTok, Bowie is no amateur to performing in front of a live audience. As he breaks into ‘Listen To Your City’ it would be naïve not to draw comparisons to pop sensation Sam Fender. His set is well-received by the crowd as they dance around to his up-beat, feel-good tunes – a fine way to cement his place in the grassroots music scene of his new hometown.
Isaac Stuart – YES (The Pink Room)
Multi-instrumental pop artist, Isaac Stuart, plays down the road in the cosy Pink Room at YES with some enthusiastic members of the crowd dancing along to his unreleased opener ‘Midnight Train From Marylebone’ front of the stage. The ambience of the purple-lit backdrop sets an intimate tone anchored by his mesmerising performance as he continues the set with heartfelt ballad ‘Saved’.
A few songs later, Stuart finishes with a smooth transition into polished synth-pop track ‘We Don’t Wanna Go Home’, and one thing I am sure of as his set comes to a close is that Isaac Stuart is an artist you really don’t want to sleep on. Backed by pop superstar Elton John, I can only imagine a promising future where his music will find a deserving place in major radio charts across the country.
King No-One – Deaf Institute
As the evening set in, venues across the city welcomed some bigger acts to their stages, and next on my list was King No-One at Deaf Institute, which was nothing short of incredible.
Previously referring to their Mancunian fans as a devoted ‘underground cult’ ahead of their headline gig at The Ritz in 2021, it was clear that the northern trio had a huge following in the city as they belted out ‘Not Willing To Sacrifice My Life’ as their opener to a very hungry crowd. Melodic grunge track ‘Obsolete’ continued the set seeing the band completely immersed in their craft, transmitting a contagious stage presence that filled the room with buzz. The energy given out by these impressionable indie-rockers was carried throughout their set as they finished with ‘Antichrist – a track which encapsulates the very definition of the band: ‘no-one is king’, championing the belief that everybody is equal regardless of their differences – a track that will live on if not for its powerful message, then for its ability to enthral a whole crowd when performed live.
Rosellas- Bread Shed
With the tough task of bringing in fans for their opening midday set, Rosellas did not fail. The Bread Shed was packed full of eager fans ready to listen to the band perform their indie-rock music.
Having recently finished their support for Starsailor playing in iconic venues like the O2 Ritz and London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the boys are clearly well-rehearsed and have mastered their cohesive sound. With each instrumentalist having an important and technical part to perform, it is clear that each musical line has been well thought out as they are able to create a real buzz in the atmosphere. Recent single ‘Switch Off’ was well received with fans singing along despite only being released in September 2022. With ambient synth sounds and drum solos filling the gaps between their songs, the entire performance was seamless. The set ended on a high when the boys cleverly played their popular song ‘Born Under A Cloud’ into the iconic melodies of ‘Lola’s Theme’ which had the crowd mesmerized.
Sundara Karma- O2 Ritz
Sundara Karma had the O2 Ritz at full capacity as the crowds poured in for their highly anticipated performance.
With the release of their EP Oblivion! in February 2022, fans were eagerly awaiting to hear their new music played live. The atmosphere from the get-go was electric, clearly the crowd knew that this performance was going to be thrilling and it definitely was. Kicking off their set with 2020 hit ‘Kill Me’ the band quickly settled into their roles and set the tone for their high energy performance. The band’s set included a mixture of new releases and older anthems. A stand out song being ‘A Young Understanding’ from their 2017 album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect which was clearly a fan-favourite as the entire crowd was screaming every word, almost louder than the band themselves. The atmosphere was indescribable and stayed this way for the entire performance.
Dolores Forever- Yes (The Basement)
Set to go in the intimate venue of Yes (The Basement), Dolores Forever gathered their fans for an enchanting performance.
From start to finish, Dolores Forever’s music is beautifully crafted and performed. The duo have picked up a wide spread of online support on their recent music, in particular, their single ‘Baby Teeth’ from their EP titled the same name. The band performed effortlessly, each showcasing their musical talents topped with beautiful vocal harmonies by the duo. Their performance of their recent single ‘Funeral’ captivated the audience as the duo had control of the entire crowd’s attention. The performance ran smoothly with Hannah Wilson’s bubbly personality and wit entertaining the crowd between songs. This intimate, personal performance made it hard not to love Dolores Forever.
Nina Cobham – Yes (Pink Room)
Nina Cobham’s success has been evident in recent months having performed all around the UK for BBC Introducing and selling out the London Waiting Room, her Neighbourhood Festival performance was long-awaited.
With just herself and a guitarist, Nina Cobham’s set was beautifully intimate. Despite stating to the audience that she usually performs with a full band, the stripped back set was still as engaging as ever. Her hugely popular single ‘Sola’ with a massive 19M Spotify streams was mesmerising to see live as she dips in and out of singing in Spanish and English. Her music includes this unique blend of Spanish and English lyric-writing as she explains that she at one point lived in the country surrounded by the language and culture and clearly inspires her music. Her talents are never-ending as mid- way through her set she plays her guitar stating that the guitar is her “safety blanket”. The entire performance was beautifully crafted, with the focus on Nina’s impressive vocals and storytelling abilities.