Neighbourhood Festival returned to the streets of Manchester on the 6th October, displaying some of the industry’s most successful and talented artists. For just £30, fans could travel to Manchester’s most loved venues and see what this eclectic festival had to offer. After quite literally running from venue to venue, I settled on the two performances that affirmed the notion that Manchester really is the musical hotspot of the north.
Let me introduce you to the first of these two performances, the compelling and peculiar The Howl & The Hum.
The Howl & The Hum present to you an alternate, dystopian universe which – despite brimming with fantastical animals, personified weather, and hellbent murderers – is saturated in a certain kind of charm, albeit of the twisted variety. The Howl & The Hum drag you down a rabbit hole of pompous characters and cruel protagonists, all with an immersive backdrop of echoing riffs and harrowing drum beats that leave you reeling with perspiration by the end. Frontman Sam Griffiths is an eccentric fusion of all that he preaches, granting him the perfect commanding presence as he leads his guitar-based disco through their fables.
‘Murder’ is a consistent crowd-pleaser as it begins with a charging tempo that gradually builds behind Griffiths’ eerily-placed notes. Reminiscing of waiting at bus stops in pyjamas and purchasing Tesco Value lager always results in murder, am I right? Well, Sam is certainly convincing as the song entails a story of heartbreak, frustration, and regret that sends a shiver down your spine.
The band have indulged in a year of remarkable success: triggered by relentless hard work and support from Tom Robinson’s BBC6 radio show, along with the wider BBC platform, they are certainly doing well for themselves.
TH & TH won’t always be that impressive group of lads that you can catch down at your local. It has already begun. Make sure you’re part of it. The new year will be a very exciting time for this astounding York-born quartet.
Oh, and boys, you really need to release ‘Sweet Fading Silver’.
Now, onto Temples. Sorcery, mythology, and nostalgia enclosed around this stylish four-piece as they took to the stage of the O2 Ritz as one of the festival’s headliners.
With medieval and middle-eastern influence fusing with psychedelic synth beats and pounding riffs, Temples present themselves as a godly figuration. Presenting similar themes and artwork to the likes of Rainbow and Dio, Temples are a refreshing twist of a more niche style of rock.
Make no mistake though, despite their lack of mainstream appeal, Temples have a very loyal cult. ‘Move with the Season’, ‘Keep in the Dark’ and, of course, ‘Shelter Song’ helped to frame the perfect, distinctively kaleidoscopic soundscape that the strange quartet so effortlessly build up to.
Such an explosive array of experimentation and cohesive musical creation made for a show that captures all five of your senses. In the middle of the O2 Ritz, I found myself plunged into a weird, psychoactive reality that left me with an overwhelming realisation – after 20 long months, Temples are finally back playing Manchester.
An intensely magical experience that left the audience enraptured in a trance.