FOALS PLAY SOUNDS OF THE CITY MANCHESTER UK, WITH YARD ACT 29TH JUNE 2022

 

 

WORDS AND IMAGES BY DESH KAPUR

 

I’m heading to Manchester on Wednesday on a cloudy but dry evening (it must be summer in Manchester) to one of my favourite venues, Castlefield Bowl. An amphitheatre in the heart of the city, just down from Deansgate, holding about 8,000 people…what a venue!!!! Do yourself a favour and get down there for a show! Add to that, it’s ‘Sounds Of The City’ time again; the unique week-long festival with 2 to 3 bands playing every night for 7 days.

The first night was Lewis Capaldi and we had Billy Seagrave covering that one for All Music Magazine, but tonight it’s my turn, and I am here for a band I have wanted to check out for ages – Foals, who were going to be supported by the wonderful Wet Leg….or so I thought….

Arriving at the venue, I’m very disappointed to find out that Wet Leg have had to pull out due to Covid, and then I’m instantly over the moon when I find out the utterly brilliant Yard Act filling in for them. Result indeed!

Yard Act hail from Leeds, comprising James Smith (vocals, lyrics), Ryan Needham (bass), Sam Shjipstone (guitar) and Jay Russell (drums). Their debut album ‘The Overload’ was released on 21 January 2022 and debuted at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. Think of them as Post-Punk Indie, a bit like Idles, Goat Girl and Sports Team. I just know that this is going to be good.

The band walk on, exchange a few pleasantries with the crowd and crack on with the reason we are here – the music.

As I have said before Frontman James Smith is like a preacher from the pulpit, arms flailing and preaching his rhetoric, to the soon-to-be converted Manchester crowd.

When I first had the fortune of covering Yard Act, I thought frontman James Smith reminded me a lot of Jarvis Cocker, Pulp’s enigmatic frontman, but I don’t see that now; he is very much James Smith or as I like to call him, Reverend James Smith! All through the gig, he engages effortlessly with the crowd. Funny, witty and sharp as a razor; Smith’s energy is contagious. Backed up by the math-driven guitar work of Sam Shjipstone and the unembellished groove of the bass and drums, Smith is hypnotizing. The crowd are hanging on to his every word. It’s The Fall, it’s Dr John Cooper Clarke, and it’s Talking Heads – all rolled into one.

Every one of the tracks played tonight seem harder, edgier and angrier versions of their recorded counterparts. The use of the spoken word as a delivery platform is the defining characteristic of the songs they write, and they regale us with comments and insights on post-Brexit Britain and the terrible Tories. Brilliant stuff.

 

 

 

Then it was time for Oxfordshire trio Foals. Yannis Philippakis is the lead vocalist and guitarist, Jack Bevan drummer and Jimmy Smith percussionist and rhythm guitarist and by now the Amphitheatre is packed, amped and ready to go off.

On walk the band, I forget the intro music now, even though at the time I promised myself to remember… oh well, the show was so good and there is so much to remember afterwards.

With minimum fuss the band launch into “Wake Me Up”, the lead single from their new album “Life Is Your”, inspired by the idea of escaping the world of the COVID-19 pandemic to somewhere much better and the Castlefield Bowl comes alive; it’s the perfect set opener – fast, frenetic and with a chorus built to shout along and crowd oblige in bucket-loads.

Frontman Yannis moves at every chance he gets, slinking across the stage, standing on the drum riser, pogoing on the spot, and disappearing into the crowd a couple of times.

They play the new songs alongside the most popular tracks from their previous albums and it nonstop full-throttle energy from the band to the crowd from the crowd to the band.

“Mountain At My Gates”, “The Runner”, “2AM” ,“Olympic Airways” and “My Number” are all reeled off before you can catch your breath. The band’s take on indie art rock is uniquely theirs – all groove, bounce and slick guitar riffs.

And the bangers keep on coming, from the dancier numbers to almost Rage Against The Machine heavy guitar and bass-driven tracks. This band has a gift for writing arena-ready anthems and when you have seen them live you will have no doubt in your mind that you’ve just seen one of the UK’s greatest live bands doing the circuit at the moment.

 

 

SET LIST

1/ WAKE ME UP

2/ MOUNTAIN AT MY GATES

3/ THE RUNNER

4/ 2AM

5/ OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

6/ MY NUMBER

7/ BLACK GOLD

8/ LIFE IS YOURS

9/ IN DEGREES

10/ 2001

11/ SPANISH SAHARA

12/ PROVIDENCE

13/ INHALER

ENCORE

14/ BLACK BULL

15/ WHAT WENT DOWN

16/ TWO STEPS TWICE

 

 

 

 

 

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My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i'm blessed and get to combine both. Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.

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