The Zangwills at 02 Academy Club, Manchester Saturday 4th February 2023.





After an extended break over Christmas and January, tonight is my first assignment back, and it’s a good one (a very good one). In a cold and dismal, rainy Manchester we head straight to our venue and the HUGE queue waiting to get in at the 02 Academy Club in the basement of the Academy Events Building. It’s intimate feeling but at 650 capacity it’s a great crowd experience.

Tonight’s headliners are a must-see: Chester based, the Zangwills. It’s no secret they are one of my favourite bands, and I lose count of how many times I’ve seen them, but I’ll never tire of them. Original and quirky, a fast paced and enigmatic show is guaranteed every time.

Support tonight comes in the form of Sad Boys Club, who I’ve yet to see but have heard are something special, and the Raymonds who I know and love and seem to get better each time I see them. So tonight is the gig of this particular All Music duo’ s dreams (I can assure you photographer Warren Millar is just as big a fan) and as a first one back in our #dream team dynamic, I’m happy. It seems fitting (although I wasn’t reviewing) that my last gig of 2022 was the Zangwills, so it’s a wonderful welcome back.


In an already busy Academy Club, the Raymonds start off tonight’s proceedings, and as usual with this band the set begins with an abundance of energy! Drum beats puncture the sound, then waves of crashing guitars, melodic riffs, skippy beats, mellow bass lines and a real party feel. Vocal is mellow, steady and light, with a sometime grate which is a joy to listen to – that’s what this whole sound is…joyful! As a crowd, we love it, and we’re off! Such a likable bunch of lads, really carefree, happy vibes, bouncing around on stage and having a ball, this bigger venue stage suits them very well. Real retro feels, I get a mixture of influences from late 60s to early 90s but also managing to be crisp and contemporary too. These guys rock! Covering the stage, they jump and dance about nonstop. Very listenable and completely dance fuelling stuff! The sound and performance is very tight and well rehearsed, shimmery indie and tropical feels; it’s going down very well tonight. I fully recommend checking the Raymonds out, they have 2 singles out at the moment: ‘Nights with you’ and ‘Follow your nose’, both up tempo, toe tapping and very vibrant tracks. Definitely go see this band live! Excellent set, as ever, I just love seeing the Raymond’s and I’ve a feeling big things are coming!


First support – The Raymonds

Fin Richards – lead vocal/guitar

Max Morrow – guitar/backing vocal

Evan O’Toole – bass/backing vocal

James Lynchehaun – drums




1/  my Veins

2/ Fish tank

3/ I need this mistake

4/ What I needed

5/ Him

6/ You Online?

7/ Nights with you

8/ Follow your nose.


It’s safe to say right now Sad Boys Club are on fire, the talk of the live music scene. I’ve heard so much about this band and their vibrant live performance, I’ve been just bursting to see them! Truly arriving on stage before us in an explosive blaze of musical glory, I’m honestly wowed from the start.

This is one band to see live, they bring so much energy, cool and rock n roll energy. The sound is edgy, indie, alt rock, electro and (dare I say?) a touch of emo. Real 80s electro and alt feels, but an indie rock heart. I’m getting feels of early the Cure stuff, the Cult, Jesus and Mary Chain, such an eclectic mix but entirely with its own Identity. Jangly guitars, shimmering lines, strong, fast then heavy beats, the vocal is attention grabbing, raw, angry at times then alternating to emotional then angst ridden. This venue is alive and kicking now; we have mosh pit in full force and the crowd are bouncing, fuelled by this frenzied performance!

Our front man, Jacob, brings the wilds, cavorting about on stage, effortlessly cool, he’ s utterly mesmerising and so rock n roll, We just love him instantly. Gyrating, slinking from one end of the stage to the other, dancing wildly and posing for photographers, well and truly commanding this entire venue.

It’s been a raucous, explosive sound burst, and one heart stopping, wildly brilliant performance. It’s like a musical typhoon just blew through the venue, and I’d happily experience this again – in fact it’s on my list of must-see-again bands, and another new fav! All I can say is, go see for yourself, Sad Boys Club really bring something special. Stand out for me this! Thank you Sad Boys Club.


Second support – Sad Boys Club

Jacob Wheldon – lead vocal

Chris Holmes – guitar

Tom MacColl – drums

Pedro Caetano – bass




1.) Delicious

2.) American Spirit

3.) Scar

4.) Lump of Love

5.) Something Else

6.) Chic Chic

7.) Know


And so for our wonderful headliners, the way too cool, the Zangwills. 02 Academy Club is now packed to the rafters; it’s a brilliant atmosphere, totally buzzing with anticipation. This band never fails to have an epic turn out with such a loyal and massive following, a great many sporting Zangwill t-shirts (including myself…gotta be done!) This Chester based, power house, indie pop/electro band really bring the whole package: witty and observational lyrics, original, stick-in-your-head tracks, a clean and concise sound and a performance you won’t forget in a hurry; dripping with style and charisma and genuinely the nicest guys you could meet. The variety of styles and feels of each song varies widely, but are all instantly identifiable as the Zangwills’.

In what feels like a universal shift of energy, our headliners begin their set. Surging forward, this crowd has now fully erupted. Beginning with ‘the Feeling’ these slick but quirky sounds radiate from our band who are super cool and very charismatic on stage. The entire crowd are singing along, dancing, going wild and Jake’s vocal is on top form tonight. The sound, quite honestly, is immense; the tracks keep coming, building the excitement levels ever higher. It’s one set that’s bursting with content, each song well loved and chanted back by the now frenzied crowd. Moshpit is now a swirling abyss and the beer is raining down on us. As ever Adam is giving his drum kit real action, at one point up on his feet driving those beats. Sam and Ed sway and bob around the stage, and the lines they create are so clean, shining guitars! On backing vocal, Jess (Lees) does not stop smiling and is dancing so hard it’s infectious. We all can’t help but dance! Thanks are given throughout the set and the crowd genuinely do love this band, the interaction is of mutual enthusiasm, the guys seem genuinely in their element!

A Zangwills gig is always an uplifting, happiness inducing experience; it s uplifting and creates joy. with soaring bass, glittering then crunching guitar lines, edgy and punchy drum beats ,the eerie yet quirky keys and Jake’s incredible, mind blowing vocal (with that rasp and grate) all binding together, bringing a rich and varied smorgasbord of sound. As a crowd we readily devour these delights entirely.

They finish the set with firm fan favourites ‘Lipstick River ‘and ‘New Heights’ and the crowd have actually reached another level of madness. It’s frantic but brilliant; most of the front section are up on shoulders, the moshpit has spread, branching out in all directions before finally encompassing one and all. Inflatable, glitter filled, glowing balls have been thrown into the crowd and are bobbing about, travelling around throughout the venue. Our wonderful band play like it’s the last few songs they’ll ever play; the energy put in is something special. All band members are bouncing around, Adam is batting balls back into the audience with one drumstick whilst playing with the other. Jake is getting an influx of inflatables as he belts out the songs. Jess has become some sort of musical goal keeper. Everyone is laughing, singing, smiling, jumping, bouncing, and moshing, even at the very back it’s turned completely wild.

Every Zangwills’ gig is special, and every time I think to myself: ‘Best one, that’… This one really brought it, it’s been very special, although I know it will peak again, and the next one will become the best yet (again), basically the Zangwills are the gift that keep on giving. Their music is something different in each song, from uplifting, thought-provoking, witty, observational, each one a different style or feel. But their live performance? Well, that should be bottled; it’s the tincture of happiness, dissolve some Zangwills into your life for instant uplift. Thank you to Jake, Sam, Ed, Adam and Jess for making lifelong gig memories for us all tonight.


The Zangwills – Headline

Jake Vickers – lead vocal/guitar/keys

Sam Davies – guitar

Ed Dowling – bass

Adam Spence – drums




1/ The Feeling

2/ Sunlight at Midnight

3/ Could I

4/ Call

5/ Patio

6/ Spielberg Sweethearts

7/ The Horrors of Sobriety

8/ Lucifer is making me dance

9/ The Killing Moon (Cover}

10/ Painting by Numbers

11/ Holding up fingers

12/ Judas on the Dance floor

13/ Never looked back

14/ Backpatters and Shooters

15/ Lipstick River

16/ New Heights