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5th October 2014

Live: Will and the People

James Collins checks out Will and the People’s set at Antwerp Mansion

19th September

Antwerp Mansion

Will and the People have become a new found favourite in my collection after what can only be described as an awesome gig at Manchester’s Antwerp Mansion, blasting their euphoric fusion of reggae, ska, pop and punk until the early hours of the morning and leaving the audience literally begging for more. The British 4-piece have been touring on the back of their recently released third album, Whistleblower, showing off both familiar and new material to their growing fan base. The band took to the stage around midnight after the incredible opening act Salutation Dub Collective, a Manchester based band that absolutely smashed it with a combination of hilarious anecdotes and fantastic music.

Will and the People had the crowd swaying back and forth to the mellow opening track “Sensimilla” before ramping up the tempo and bursting into an energetic rock and roll take on the track that definitely opened any sleepy eyes. Coming into the gig I was highly anticipating their two most successful singles; the catchy feel-good tracks “Lion in the Morning Sun” and “Salamander,” and was rewarded when they dropped one after the other, the entire crowd singing along to every word. Energy levels reached their peak with a cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind,” immediately sending the crowd into a sweaty frenzy of flailing limbs and madly grinning faces, before leading into a reggae-style interpretation of the song to calm the revellers. The chants for “one more song” dragged the band back to stage not once, but twice – a sure sign of an unforgettable set.

On leaving the gig a tenner lighter and an album heavier, an immediate purchase from the merch stand on the way out, I realised I had witnessed one of the best live performances of my life so far. The effect that Will and the People have on their audience is immense, with every song generating a positive response. The band’s capability to effortlessly blend genres into one another to create unique and dynamic music is one of the reasons why Will and the People are not a band to be overlooked.

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