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Hands Like Houses - Manchester Academy 3 25.05.2016

We have been pretty quiet this month on the gig front, so upon arrival tonight to find it is a 4 band line up is a welcome surprise. Despite a few grumbles from fans suggesting the later doors and extended line up results in a shorter set from tonights main act, the night overall is incredible and certainly a great way to get back into the flow of things.

Tonights openers are The Gospel Youth. A band who our photographer Jon Burgess has already covered for us when on their headline tour a few months back. He spoke very highly of the lads and his praise left me with the want to check them out live and I can comfortably say he was spot on. The Gospel Youth are a breath of fresh air, lead singer Samuel Little has an incredible voice that when combined with heartfelt and emotional lyrics, just resonates. I am completely captivated by his presence and hang on to every word. They already have a strong array of songs, each with a sing along quality that invites your participation. While sadly tonights audience is somewhat lacking in energy, the lads have caught my attention and the purchase of their latest EP is on my agenda.

Next we have Dead! a band who I photographed a year or so ago at an all day rock show. So I was interested to see how they'd evolved, if at all since then. Instantly the sound that grabbed my attention back then grabs me once again, except this time it feels more refined, as does their set in general. They appear to have found their style and have moulded it into a great performance. Their lead singer moves about the stage like a man possessed, his energy is raw and mesmerising. His request to the audience to "raise a hand if you have no idea who the fuck we are" results in a sea of raised hands. His knowing grin suggests they certainly know who they are now.

Next we have I The Mighty, a band that are presented with the worst of scenarios. Equipment malfunction. An unfortunate situation that results in a considerably shortened set when they are finally able to get under way. They play for roughly 20 minutes and it becomes instantly obvious that although unknown to myself, they have passionate fans aplenty in tonights crowd. The energy of the room cranks up a notch and it feels like everyone is singing along. With one girl in the front row even being reduced to tears, one can only assume of joy, as they are accompanied by an ear to ear smile. And while I can't say I'm on her wavelength, I thoroughly enjoy the set and am intrigued to learn more about I Am Mighty. Their uplifting lyrics and catchy riffs just add to the overall quality of music on display tonight.

Finally we have Hands Like Houses, a band I have been a fan of for quite some time. The chance to finally get to see them live combined with the fact I am also photographing them is an almost euphoric feeling. So I am pleased to say that the feeling isn't tainted by their set. With a combination of new and old songs they blast though their hour set. Clearly enjoying their time spent with their UK audience, their energy fills the room. And while tonights crowd only just fills half the room, the atmosphere here more than makes up for it. Hands Like Houses are deserving of a larger audience here in the UK that's for sure. Arguably the likes of Slam Dunk Festival taking place only a few days after this show may possibly of resulted in less than stellar sales, or maybe not. I suppose I can speculate all night, but regardless of this, tonight offered up 4 stellar acts and that's really what it's all about.

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