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17th October 2019

Live Review: Neighbourhood Festival 2019

Head music editor Bella Fleming discusses the highs and lows of Neighbourhood Festival, including a stand out set from Squid and the venue’s excessive use of single-use plastic
Live Review: Neighbourhood Festival 2019
Photo: Anthony Mooney

Neighbourhood Festival 2019 took place across Manchester’s city centre to celebrate some of the best new music from across the punk, indie and alternative genres.

Kicking off the day at midday was Brighton punk five-piece Squid. Despite a slightly shy crowd, the band definitely ensured the day started on a high. Their track ‘Rodeo’ was the highlight of the set, with the deep spoken word booming throughout Deaf Institute. It was a shame to see such an energetic band perform to a slightly withheld and conservative crowd, but their set impressed nonetheless.

Photo: Niall Lea
Squid at Neighbourhood by Niall Lea

One disappointment of the day was how few female artists featured on the line up. The three main headliners of the festival were all male, and most of the sets throughout the day did feel dominated by white indie punk male bands.

One female-dominated band playing was Porridge Radio, who played YES (basement). With only a handful of released tracks, their set was dominated by unreleased music. Being a band that flitter between punk and indie, they managed to seamlessly transition between tracks, with lead vocalist Dana giving an especially great performance. It was really disappointing to see such a dwindling crowd at their set, despite sounding far superior to the all-male band Hotel Lux who played the same venue prior.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the day was the lack of environmental action seen at each venue. Every venue was distributing plastic cups to the crowds, with most of them left on the floor afterwards. Furthermore, considering most people were running between venues all day it was a horrible site seeing just how many plastic cups littered the streets. Considering big festivals such as Glastonbury, Green Man and Latitude have all managed to ban single-use plastic cups, it was a shame to see how behind Manchester’s music venues are in terms of reducing their impact on the environment.

Sports Team’s set at Gorilla was by far the busiest of the evening. With astonishingly long queues, it did feel like a privilege to be one of the few who made it into the venue. Their set was explosive, with the crowd dancing and moshing from the minute the band came on stage. Although lead singer Alex Rice was dancing along with the crowd, I couldn’t help but be put off by keyboardist Ben who remained completely deadpan throughout the whole set. His purposefully expressionless performance was initially amusing, however quickly got frustrating as the rest of the band continued to try hard to keep the crowd engaged.

Closing the night was Fat White Family at Albert Hall. Within the first five minutes lead singer Saul Adamczewski was dancing in the crowd. Despite missing out a few of their biggest tracks, noticeably, ‘Tastes Good With The Money’, the quality of the music in their set made it clear just how professional and talented this band is. With Saul spending almost the entirety of the set in the mosh pit with the crowd, their set was by far the most memorable, and a fantastic way to end Neighbourhood Festival 2019.

Photo by Jack Kirwin -JK Photography-
Fat White Family at Neighbourhood by Jack Kirkwin


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