No Sunlight / The Bread Shed, Manchester | 17th of February

No Sunlight / The Bread Shed, Manchester | 17th of February

Manchester’s own No Sunlight play one of the cities underrated venues in celebration, on the day they release new EP You Can’t Take a Picture of This, it’s Already Gone. Support slots fall to Ingenue and Building Giants, who both tried their best to warm up the relatively passive crowd. The audience eventually step forward for the headliners, but they seemingly consist of friends and family more than music fans, meaning that high energy and heavy guitar on stage aren’t reflected offstage, instead met with a wall of foot tappers, not the headbangers and mosh-pits post-hardcore should attract.

First up are Ingenue, who channel The Pretty Reckless, with less guitar and less melody but with a youthful vigour. There is potential in amongst the riffs and charmingly awkward showmanship. Building Giants play to a smaller, less committed space, but it’s really striking how much of a committed performance they give, as though they were playing to thousands at an arena rather than a few tens in a sparsely filled room. They have a very powerful vocal, and their more classic hard-rock felt like a very complete show, I’ll certainly keep an eye out for them in the future.

It’s worth mentioning The Bread Shed as a venue. It’s a very good space with an excellent soundsystem. Moulded from the ashes of club Zoo, it’s arguably better than its predecessor. It could potentially fill the Sound Control shaped hole left in Manchester’s music scene.

No Sunlight take to the stage for around half an hour. They race through the first couple of tracks with a ferocity that struggles to infect the tame crowd. The band’s drummer sadly couldn’t play tonight, due to having a child on Monday. Congrats! I’m impressed by the drummer covering tonight, who we are gleefully informed has learned No Sunlight’s back catalogue in around 20 minutes. It’s amazing that the band still sound so tight and total with this replacement.

Lead single from their new EP It’s Always Been You stands out, their optimum mixture of melodic vocal and fast, punchy riff. However, the further through the set we get, the more repetitive it starts to feel. The front-man’s engagement is excitable, but feels a little misplaced, perhaps this again falls to a lackluster audience. It’s undeniable that there is good musicianship onstage, but it feels as though there could be a little more variation in songwriting. The crowd call for an encore, which involves the drummer holding the beat on a song he is yet to learn, he’s a real trooper and allows the band to play raw and freely.

No Sunlight’s talent is indisputable, they have won a national Battle of the Bands competition in the past, and released two fierce EPs. Tonight proves they have a lot of potential as a live force, but it feels a little too rough around the edges. If they can hone their engagement, and be more open to mixing their style in songwriting, they could easily be highly-billed on a Slam Dunk line-up. I’m really excited to see the evolution of The Bread Shed, which could turn into a much respected venue and I definitely want to see both Building Giants and No Sunlight build on the powerful foundations they’ve laid.

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