It’s always a treat getting to see an international band in an intimate venue, even more so when it’s that band’s first UK headline tour. This sentiment was echoed by many others, with Hot Mulligan‘s whole tour almost instantly selling out. Support came from Arm’s Length, a band I wasn’t familiar with, but have checked out since. Much of the crowd were clearly already fans, with vocalist Allen Steinberg angling his microphone towards the crowd for them to sing instead of him, I was shocked that even from the back of the venue, I could still hear the crowd singing!
Hot Mulligan took to the stage afterwards, launching straight into 2022’s stand-alone single ‘Drink Milk and Run’ (for anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with the band, the odd song titles are a running theme!), a lively track that had everyone moving despite its less than hopeful lyrics. The two lead (and currently only) singles from Hot Mulligan’s upcoming album Why Would I Watch were played next, and despite their recent release, the crowd were no less engaged. The repeated angry refrain of “Re-check / Change” throughout ‘Shhhh! Golf is On’ definitely helped with this, as even those in the crowd who weren’t familiar with the lyrics had something to sing along with!
Vocalist Tades Sanville made many amusing remarks in-between songs, first commenting on the Manchester City game that was currently taking place, which was met with very enthusiastic booing from the audience. He also commented on the concept of Manchester Academy, saying “we’re performing at a school right now…and there’s a bar in the school!” I’m not sure if he was aware that it was a student union and not a school, but it was amusing, nonetheless.
The majority of Hot Mulligan’s set was comprised of tracks from 2020’s you’ll be fine with ‘SPS’ and ‘BCKYARD’ receiving huge sing-alongs. If anyone misses the golden days of Midwest-emo, these tracks should be essentials in your playlist. ‘I Fell in Love With Princess Peach’ was a guaranteed highlight of the set, and a cathartic moment for anyone in the crowd going through heart-break. Although I was satisfied with the setlist, there were chants throughout for ‘Dary’, a 2016 track by the band that is no longer a setlist staple, but clearly still remains a fan-favourite.
I was glad to hear my personal favourite track by the band ‘Featuring Mark Hoppus’ (although naturally it doesn’t actually feature Mark Hoppus) make an appearance. This song was one of the tracks with the most crowd-surfers of the evening, however Tades called out the venue after the song had finished, asking for another security guard at the barrier, as multiple people had unfortunately been dropped due to lack of security. It was an important point to make, and although I couldn’t see whether another member of security did come down to the front, there were fortunately no other issues after this.
Photo: Hot Mulligan – Maddy Oxley @ The Mancunion
The set closed with ‘How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells’, a single from Hot Mulligan’s debut album Pilot. The track was the perfect note to finish on, although the lyrics are no more positive than the band’s other tracks, they act as a great comfort to anyone feeling lonely or confused about their life, as everyone in the crowd could leave the gig seeing that these feelings were shared by others.
Despite having two albums and a few EP’s to their name, the band played a short, but sweet, hours set. Sometimes in this scenario I’d feel a little disappointed, however the setlist was near perfect and the constant energy from the band and audience meant it probably would’ve been a challenge to play for too much longer. I left the gig feeling the furthest thing away from disappointment, and wholeheartedly convinced that every gig from now on should finish at 10.
Hot Mulligan’s third album, Why Would I Watch is out on May 12 . The band have also just announced another UK/EU headline tour for later this year in support of the album. They play Manchester’s Academy 2 on the September 2.