The Sunshine Underground
It was hard to know what to expect as my sister and I walked into the subterranean Club Academy (underground…geddit?), yet one thing was for sure: we were the only students (and Londoners) in the building. This realisation set the tone for what was to be one of the best live performances I’ve seen this year: a proper Northern, head nodding, fist pumping, feet-off-the-ground gig.
Before we get to the main event, it’s worth mentioning the support act, Troumaca, an incredible Birmingham five piece whose sound is an entirely fresh and original amalgamation of soul and dub with an unmistakably tropical bass feel. Couple this unique mixture with some of the best sly dance moves I’ve seen in a lead singer for a while, and the result was genius. And nothing, of course, like the act which they preceded.
Having discovered my new musical obsession, we waited with baited breath for TSU to impress. And boy, did they. Front man Craig Wellington casually greeted the crowd with his characteristic cheeky-chap quips, warming us up for a stomping set spanning the greats of their two studio albums. Tunes such as ‘A Warning Sign’ and ‘In Your Arms’ established the bands ability not only to get the crowd nodding but full on body-grooving to Stuart Jones’ incredible riffs, while ‘Put You in Your Place’ and ‘The Way It Is’ reminded of their credentials as forerunners in the indie rock scene.
The pinnacle of the performance came as the opening chords to their seminal song, ‘Borders’, began to echo through the venue. Cue gleefully destructive moshing from a group of four balding, leather-jacket clad men in their forties which did not cease until the band had finally left the stage after the encore. This is perhaps the greatest image of the bands appeal: from North to South, students to seniors, a diverse musical culture continues to prevail within The Sunshine Underground. Especially in Manchester during the Easter holidays.