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Kurt Travis - Gullivers, Manchester 12.08.2018

There's always an element of apprehension about going to a gig on a Sunday. With the impending doom of Monday morning looming, one might wish to curl up in the foetal position, binge-watch Netflix and accept their fate. However, in some venue in Manchester's Northern Quarter, Kurt Travis is refusing to let the weekend party vibes go so easily.

I unfortunately missed Midnight Drive, but I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for their next gig. This bright-eyed Manchester-based Rock quartet were handing out CDs of their debut single "Break" (they have also released a music video, which can be found on YouTube). The track is fantastic: it's produced well and the chorus is so catchy it's instantly added to this week's playlist for me. You'll want to check these lads out, they're going places.

The first band I saw was Atlas : Empire, a Glaswegian Ambient Alt-Rock four-piece. They hit you with a wall of sound, that has a slightly Math feel to it. The tracks have a lot of overlapping phrases, but with darker tones to the guitars, it almost feels like Deftones and Arcane Roots had a lovechild and raised it in 'Bonnie'. Both vocalists lighten the mood and play upon a subtle gaelic charm in between tracks. Main vocalist Steven Gillies wails with incredible power and lets loose some guttural screams in some of their heavier songs. Vocalist/guitarist Jamie Stuart amazes all with beautiful guitar tapping and vocals, it really is a flex of true talent and showmanship. Backed with a true driving force from bassist Rob Hasebe and drummer [NAME], the sound is crisp and even throughout; these lads are in control of their levels and so is the sound guy, for that matter. This is why you go to gigs in small venues on a Sunday!

Next up was Televangelist, a Texan Post-Hardcore outfit with a slight groove to them. They get straight to it, with guitarists Mark Esquivel and Zachary Fulkerson laying down guitar licks that would make Will Swan's head turn. Bass player Kyle Duncan, with his killer 'stache, throws down straight funk, which brings a real powerful energy to the performance and gets people moving, which is no small feat on a Sunday night. Similarly to Atlas : Empire, they play upon a gentle southern charm, which has certainly won this bunch of northerners over. The entire set was tight, well rehearsed and pure passion, with sounds similar to Dance Gavin Dance, Eidola, Placebo and I See Stars.

Kurt Travis, backed by Televangelist, starts the set with an incredible rendition of "The Boys Are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy. Travis has such incredible stage presence, he is ready to mix it up. The set is a solid line-up of songs, consisting of tracks from his previous band Eternity Forever's EP 'Fantasy', as well as tracks from his own solo album 'Everything Is Beautiful'. I was amazed that, even though Travis has stepped out of his previous genres, he still maintains his signature sound. Ten years have passed since he recorded both 'Happiness 'and the fan-dubbed 'Death Star' self-titled album with Dance Gavin Dance, yet his voice is just as powerful and gripping, if not more so. His voice is soulful, it leaves you wanting more. The performance was funky, cool and it had heart.

Two things to take away from this review:

1. Book tickets next time Kurt Travis is in town

2. Fuck Monday morning, go to that Sunday gig!

Review - Cee Gregory

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