MUSIC | Manchester United… Neighbourhood Festival 2018

Neighbourhood Watch : this year’s Neighbourhood Festival event

An impressive mix of established and rising indie-rock artists performing across the city make Manchester’s Neighbourhood Festival one to watch, says KERRY McGHEE… 

For a bargain price, the one-day indie and rock celebration Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester covers different venues across the city. This year’s headliners Everything Everything and Sundara Karma were joined on the day by Cabbage and The Blinders who brought a touch of class to proceedings.

In his early afternoon slot at Academy 1, singer songwriter Sam Fender had real presence and was something to be revered. Breaks between songs were few and far between as he treated the crowd to his latest release Dead Boys.

I caught up with him afterwards and asked what intrigued him about the Neighbourhood Festival.

‘’Well its Manchester isn’t it. I love Manchester. It’s the centre of music, the capital of the North, and another city where I’ve got a good group of friends and followers’’.

What was the craziest thing a fan has ever done? ‘’Some people turn up with clothing like Star Wars. I’m a big fan, so some of the followers clocked on and started sending those in. All nice stuff really… I’m still waiting for a severed head,’ he adds.

Fender plays a sold out gig at The Chapel on 2nd November. He tells me he loves Leeds and has fond recollections of playing there supporting Nick Mulvey at the Brudenell in 2013.

In the evening Louis Berry drew crowds into the Albert Hall. He gives off a certain swagger and confidence, reminiscent of Liam Gallagher. The ratio between the volume of vocals and band, which had dogged The Night Café performance beforehand,  was much more in check.

Berry’s scouse accent made between songs banter a little difficult to follow, but musically he delivered. His new song Stumbling gave the audience something to think about.

Headliners Everything Everything treated the audience in the Albert Hall to fan faves Can’t Do and Kemosabe. Frontman Jonathan Higgs and bassist Jeremy Pritchard reminded me of pop duo The Hurts with their exuberant stage movements. The set had the crowd on its feet, fans of the band in their hundreds singing along to every song. A light show from the disco ball merely added to the atmosphere of it all. As headliners, they had a lot to live up to (previous headliners have included Peace, Ratboy and The Courteeners) and Everything Everything didn’t disappoint.

Neighbourhood Festival is on an upward trajectory, set to compete with some of the best festivals in the UK, such as Live at Leeds and Camden Rocks. The success of the festival lies its pricing though and the fact bands and singers play in different venues all across Manchester. United indeed.

Sign up for info about next year’s Neighbourhood Festival here.

Follow Kerry McGhee on Twitter.