Very hard these days to get 3 bands on the same lineup and they all Nail it.
— Mr. Peeps (@MrPeepsSays) September 6, 2015
Manchester’s Saturday night is still warm despite the fact the British summer has ended weeks ago, and I head to the city centre to find this venue I’ve never been to: Kraak.
The place is very well hidden in a back alley of Stevenson Square, and I manage to find it thanks to a guy that points a few people and me to the right direction. A man tells me the first time he came here, he had to watch a YouTube video that walks you step by step to the venue, just to find it.
I already love this place.
The Kraak is very intimate and cozy, and as I grab a pint Ist Ist come to stage.
The band is brand new, but despite having just a few months’ live experience, they show a good amount of confidence on the stage. Based in Manchester, they describe themselves as “a three-piece drawing from early post-punk and gothic sounds”.
I’m seeing them for the first time, and I admit it’s not exactly my favourite music genre, but I enjoy the frontman’s deep voice and the powerful bass. The anger is audible in between the notes, mixed with a touch of darkness.
The set quickly warms up the crowd, and without even noticing it, it’s been already half an hour.
Next on stage October Drift; I could hear people talking about them outside the venue, and it’s for a good reason: I’ve seen them live many times, and still every single time I’m impressed by the amount of energy and passion they put in their set.
Seriously, I dare you to tell me the name of a band that shows more dedication then them during a performance.
The four-piece never fails to entertain the crowd, with the frontman and the guitarist occasionaly coming down from the stage to give us a closer feeling.
The Somerset band brings together the intimacy of shoegaze and the power of post-punk; and you can hear they’ve been influenced by bands of the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine.
Except they’re louder.
So loud that you feel you’re being crushed by a wall of sound. But still, despite the noise, you’ve got the feeling they’re telling you a story, and you almost want to jump on the stage and live it with them.
As a plus, they refuse to have any social media account, adding that bit of mystery and difference from all the other artists.
So, at this point, if you’ve never seen them live you can just stop reading the review and go to buy their ticket, because really, you’re missing out.
Last on the stage and headliners, there’s No Hot Ashes.
During my cig break I spot a few people with their t-shirt, and it’s unusual for a band I’ve never heard of and has got less than 1000 likes on Facebook, so I’m even more curious to listen to them.
As the set starts the venue is packed, and the enthusiasm is perceptible.
Despite being very young, they own the stage from the first minute; their indie/funk is extremely entertaining and I find myself singing to the lyrics without even noticing it, while the crowd gets crazier and crazier.
The four lads are based in Stockport, and they bring back the “fun” element that’s often missing from the recent indie rock bands.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers influence, the Jamie T-esque rap, the energy of the Arctic Monkeys, you just can’t not fall in love with them!
Everyone’s dancing and jumping around and a good portion of the crowd already knows many lyrics.
A special mention to the bass player that, in my opinion, literally stole the show. Amazing performance.
The set ends with a moshpit followed by a stage invasion, and right after he plays the last note, the frontman responds uncorking a champagne bottle.
He’s not wrong, there’s a lot to celebrate: I would be surprised if the guys wouldn’t get nationwide recognition very soon.
As I head back home, I’m completely satisfied by the night: from the first to the last minute, I’ve enjoyed every band.
With its unusual location, the Kraak represents what “indie music” real means: something that requires a bit of initiative to find, but that you fall in love with as soon as you put your hands on it.