Manchester O2 Ritz, 29 April 2017
Brix and The Extricated
The Empty Page
Saturday 29th April proved to be a night of distinction and a distinctive night of top music, with slick organisation and a great crowd in fine form.
People came from far and wide to be there and no-one was disappointed. An eclectic night of raw music and entertainment at its best. The schedule looked tight but on the night, it never felt rushed. Fast turn arounds, a bombardment of quality output, new tracks, old tracks, references to science, a choir, film backdrops and a threatening pig goes someway to describing the treats we indulged in. But even that list is insufficient and doesn’t do justice to this Festival in Five Hours.
Bold ambition and bold delivery were the flavours of the day, which coupled with the determination and steady, experienced hand of John Robb conducting events brought dividends to all concerned.
The Empty Page kick off the sets with presence and confidence, setting the bar suitably high for an energy filled and energy fuelled evening of entertainment.
Before we can replenish drinks it’s onto The Blinders, punching the pace and heightening the heat we wonder if the fur coated frontman might regret his attire, but all is well as he and fellow band members hold stage with presence, passion, confidence and certain charm. A band to watch for sure…
Then we’re straight into Dub Sex and the great Mark Hoyle is in top form. His voice hits our ears with strength and sensitivity in equal measure and the crowd are suitably satisfied by what these stalwarts of Manchester music have to share. Not so much a home coming more a celebration of being back on the scene with a deserved warm welcome from all.
It’s Nightingales next, bringing consistency and character to a controlled set that ranges in tone and pace but never leaves the constant of slick delivery despite a mixture and merging of genres and styles. An impressive set from an intriguing, intelligent band.
And then, surely we’ve got time to take a breath— erm, no!
No time for such indulgences at the Ritz tonight. Enter stage left ‘A singing drummer, a threatening pig, a swearing mop and 4 bass players’ so reads the self-penned description of Evil Blizzard. They deliver a high powered, pulsating set with hints of PiL, ABBA, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Darkness all complemented by a dolls head with electric red eyes. Get the picture? We did and we loved it. Evil Blizzard are masters of entertainment and they didn’t disappoint.
And then in a flash it’s over to Brix and the Extricated. And boy are they tight. Strong riffs, full power, sass and a deserved confidence to boot – Brix and her band are a true force to be reckoned with. She’s is a great frontwoman and tonight, despite a throat infection, Brix is kicking ass with style and fervour. A pleasure to watch as each track in the set is powered out with forceful unity. ‘Top quality’ is an insufficient summation. Brix and the Extricated just get better and better and we can’t wait ‘til next time.
And then, in a flash it’s the finale. An opening chant courtesy of the quite excellent BIMM choir opens the set for Membranes. Dark Matter/Dark Energy, complemented by a brilliant film back drop, takes us on a journey that captures flying saucers through to the hard science of particle physics, Higgs boson and the Large Hadron Collider. John Robb is engaging and entertaining – the perfect gentleman frontman – ensuring their set is interspersed with thanks and recognition to all who have contributed to this excellent event. Membranes are on top form tonight. The BIMM choir are a brilliant addition. Punk, science, students and grandmasters – what a way to finish.
Quite a night – and quite honestly, hopefully the first of many—