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Live Review: Glass Caves

Suited, booted, and synth-rock rooted — Glass Caves are finally getting the recognition they deserve after years on the grind as they smash their headline gig at Manchester Academy 2.

Glass Caves are a synth-pop-rock quartet who have recently taken the alternative scene by storm. Last year proved to be a busy year for the Pontefract-born band, seeing the release of their EP (I Do) as well as two new singles ‘Taipei Nights’ and ‘Gold’. Both of which are strong and impressive indications for the band’s new creative direction putting them on the radar tipped to be one of indie’s hottest new acts.

After joining the Scruff of the Neck team, it was fitting that the lads would play to their “biggest audience yet” at a crowd of over 800 in Manchester’s Academy 2 on their Trilogy Tour which covered 8 dates spanning from the bitter winds of Glasgow down to London’s Oslo in Hackney. Since the band’s release of their debut album Alive back in 2014, it is clear the lads have taken a more experimental approach to their new material resulting in not only a far more confident, authentic, and polished sound but also live performance.

While still staying true to elements of their previously gritty guitar-led sound, Glass Caves have focused more of their energy into a freer, more vibrant and eclectic range of influences, producing a refreshing disco frenzy. Frontman Matt Hallas remains true to his strong and raspy, rockier vocals which are brought to life by both his choice of floral attire but also his blatant ease at being in the spotlight. Despite having a change in line-up seeing the leaving of long-time bassist Will Groves, Glass Caves indicated no sense of vacancy with the arrival of synth-master and keyboard player Eddie Clayton.

Armed with a backdrop, lightsabre-esque stage visuals, and a merciless attitude, Glass Caves entered the stage to a surprising, techno-inspired rendition of London Grammar’s ‘Nightcall’ which sent fans into an electrified surge forward. As the quartet took their places and began their hypnotic-hit single ‘Taipei Nights’, there was a clear tone set for the remainder of the evening. Manchester was in for a night of nifty guitar licks and a light-hearted set that left you at the mercy of the groove. The setlist proved to be a real testament to the work of the lively 4-piece thus far, with a backbone comprising of their debut tracks ‘Why Stay?’ ‘Go’ and ‘Out of Control’ which was then embroidered with band’s more recent material.

It was no surprise that their latest single ‘Common Tongue’ which featured on Spotify’s ‘Indie List’ was undeniably one of the strongest of the evening alongside personal favourites ‘Alive’ and ‘Swim’.  After hosting the single’s launch party at Fibbers in York, a city that no doubt holds great fondness for the band given their devotion to playing its streets, lead guitarist Connor Thorpe enthused it was his “absolute favourite gig so far.” However, it’s clear that the lads have a strong fanbase in Manchester and their influence on the local scene will continue to grow as their discography does.

After catching up with frontman Matt and lead guitarist Connor Thorpe after the gig, they highlighted how they’d love to work with Max Martin, a songwriter who has worked with Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, and most recently Ariana Grande.  Clearly, Glass Caves hold high hopes for the future now that they’ve established a large part of their team in Manchester, the musical hotspot of the North.

For a band that has worked tirelessly over the best part of the last decade, gigging and busking to earn a living and fund their musical aspirations, Glass Caves are certainly a pleasure to see finally in the spotlight that they so rightfully deserve. Their debut Alive was funded through any money they earned busking and after seeing the boys on the streets of Briggate in Leeds and outside York’s Cathedral multiple times over 5 years ago, I take great pride in seeing where their journey has taken them so far.

Glass Caves will play Y Not Festival this July and venture out to Texas in March for SXSW to celebrate 10 years of Scruff of the Neck.

8/10

Tags: Alive, Common Tongue, Glass Caves, Live review, Scruff of the Neck

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