My mind still wanders back to these days. The music, the people, the atmosphere, it was all there. Alive and kicking. Indie Week is one of the most promising annual music festivals that take place both in Toronto and in Manchester. Its purpose is to showcase emerging artists in front of the music industry elite. Everyone who is really interested in music and is supporting local artists and bands was there. So was I and I couldn’t keep the thoughts and feelings to me.
80+ artists played live for 5 nights in 8 different venues in Manchester. Some of them were good, some of them were great. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to attend every gig, as I was working as a volunteer in a different venue each night, but I saw most of them and I must admit that Manchester has a strong music scene. Proof of it is that since I came back home I can’t stop listening to most of the bands that I discovered in Indie Week.
All the artists were competing for a chance to be the best of the fest, winning a trip to Toronto to headline Indie Week Canada 2018. Such a great opportunity for all the bands and solo artists to grow their music, gain the attention of the media and industry professionals and entertain the audience which is there to support indie music.
The winners of Indie Week Canada 2017 ETNO, were there to award the grand prize to the best act of Indie Week Manchester and to play live for all the people there. ETNO is a 4 piece from Brazil that captivates you from the very first time you see them live. Their sound is raw, dirty and strong like rock ‘n’ roll music should be. They have this great energy on stage and the confidence that you don’t see often. Grunge and metal influences are obvious to see, as well as professionalism that comes after hard work. I am not surprised they won the prize last year and I expect to see more of them in the future.
Winners of Indie Week UK 2018, Izzie Walsh and her band caught my attention from the very first moment they played at the Hive a rainy Thursday evening. What an amazing voice, innit?! The most interesting appearance in my thoughts for Indie Week. I had a feeling that they might be winning no matter the competition of all the great artists and bands on the festival that week. Country folk at its best with influences that range from The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons to the one and only Johnny Cash. Great live music show, definitely one to remember.
That same rainy Thursday evening I had the chance to listen to a gentleman named Damien McFly that came all the way from Italy to play his melodic folk tunes in a very atmospheric acoustic live show. First thought on my mind was that I liked his voice and his style reminded me a bit of Dallas Green and of Eddie Vedder. It was a nice surprise and definitely the best way to end this night at the Hive. He grabbed everyone’s attention with his soft and lyrical voice while playing his own songs.
On top of that, I couldn’t get Charli’s White voice out of my mind since I saw her with her band playing the Hive the very same night. It was a really good appearance, one that got me right in the feels, truly atmospheric with her euphoric voice and the dream pop tunes of her band.
If there is one thing that music nowadays is probably lacking, that is real passion and 32 TENS certainly got it. They really caught my attention and although I only saw them once, that was enough to make me a fan. They played among the best bands of the festival during the night of the finals. The singer was singing with such passion and the other band members were following along, marking a great appearance on stage. Besides their performance there, I listened to a part of their demo at the Indie 101 Music Conference and I realized that this was some seriously good music.
When being in Manchester it’s more than likely to listen to great Britpop influenced music such as this of the Mancunians Jordan Allen. Their music reminded me a bit of The Kooks and The Arctic Monkeys and their energy along with their catchy rhythms proved that they sure know how to have a good time while playing indie rock tunes. Bloody brilliant!
Except for Britpop, Indie Week’s audience enjoyed some groovy tunes at Night People on Friday evening from a band called Slow Mojo. These gentlemen really entertained the crowd through their whole appearance with their blues, funk and soul music. Everybody was dancing and when these ones left the stage, the crowd asked for more.
Indie Week also hosted some great pop artists such as Caii and Possimiste who seemed as really promising ones. Caii is a songwriter with a great minimalistic, feminine voice and electro-pop sounds, definitely influenced by Banks. On the other hand, Possimiste’s haunting voice takes you on a trip to magical Iceland where she came from with her daydreaming pop music.
I just wish I could be able to see all these bands playing live so I can write about all of them. I really enjoyed live shows at the finals from bands like Spilt Milk Society, The Jonny Oates Band, Deacon Brody and DIIVES. It was the last night of Indie Week and all these bands had this great energy on stage and they proved once more how strong their music scene is.
Indie Week’s UK finale left a bittersweet feeling. It was all about a great party of people who love and support music and really take it seriously as their town is one of the greatest music cities in the world. Manchester’s 24-hour party people, keeping the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive, working hard on their music, embracing different musical styles. In such a great town anybody can feel the inspiration and keep the motivation flying high. Personally, I’d like to believe that great Mancunian music hadn’t stopped at Oasis but that’s only my humble opinion. As John Robb mentioned, “Village Manchester doesn’t exist anymore and neither does the Hacienda, but go out any night of the week and you’ll find a city drenched in its musical culture”.
Photographs: Paul Moore Photography
To find out more about Indie Week UK and Indie Week Canada 2018, check their official website, Indie Week