Thu 20 Jul 2017




Another glorious Sounds Of The City festival has flown by over the past couple of weeks and we’re here to help you relive one of Manchester’s greatest music events. We had sun, we had rain, we had folk music, we had reggae music. We had no lights and we had more lights than you could ask for. We had everything at #SOTC and we want to tell you all about it. 
What better way to kick off Sounds Of The City 2017 than a sold out show for Richard Ashcroft with support from The Sherlocks and the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry?
The Sherlocks opened the set with a very solid and polished set to a host of dedicated and loyal fans wearing their Sherlocks t-shirts with pride. 
Next up was Lee “Scratch” Perry. A true pioneer of reggae music, Perry floated on stage wearing a full purple silk tracksuit complete with a black baseball cap and jacket littered with various badges of all forms. He shuffled and shaked his way through the set and had the crowd in the palm of his hands as he and his band radiated the chilled reggae beats across the Manchester crowd. 
Then it was time for Mr. Ashcroft to enter the stage. And enter he did. In fact, calling it an ‘entry’ is probably far too modest. He EXPLODED on to the stage and constantly held the gaze of every audience members’ eyes throughout the whole of his 1 hour and 55 minute set. The front man from Wigan performed a standout set consisting of his solo material and some big tunes from The Verve days. Every lyric in every song was sung back by the adoring Manchester crowd, making Richard Ashcroft one of the best acts ever at Sounds Of The City.
The second night of SOTC 2017 was a true nod to Manchester’s rich musical heritage. Starting off the night was DJ Woody who is a 2 time world DJ champion. And it was easy to see why. Only using vinyls, DJ Woody was able to scratch and his round a record and make everybody groove.

After DJ Woody we had a rare treat. A DJ set from the legendary Peter Hook. The Joy Division and New Order bass player put down the 4 strings and took to the decks to set the tone for Hacienda Classical. His tracks ranged from Manchester classics to the latest dance tunes which was greatly appreciated by the ever growing soaked crowd in the Manchester rain. 


Finally it was time for the main act. Hacienda Classical. Fronted by legendary DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering from the Hacienda days, the lads had a whole orchestra behind them to recreate the 90s biggest club hits with a twist. In true Madchesta style, Bez and Rowetta took to the stage to shake their maracas and belt out a few Happy Mondays tunes. Their set was finished off with a guest appearance from Peter Hook as he picked the bass back up and performed ‘Blue Monday’ with the Classical. A fantastic night all round.


The weather took a drastic turn for the better on Sunday afternoon as the sun peered from behind the rain clouds and bathed Castlefield Bowl in the sunshine. Beoga, co-writers of Ed Sheeran’s hit ‘Galway Girl’ started the day with a bang as they entertained the punters with a good ol’ Irish jig. 

After that, Dreadzone took to the stage. The dance reggae artists attracted a massive crowd as they got everyone skanking on the sunny Sunday afternoon. 

Billy Bragg then waltzed onto the stage with his acoustic guitar and occasional slide guitarist. He sang songs of protest, unity and love to bring the whole of Castelfield Bowl together. Something which will always carry on throughout the city of Manchester.


Next up was The Waterboys. The Scottish folk rockers blew everyone’s minds as the crowd got lost in their music. They are one of only two sensational bands that could even make the fiddle sound rock ‘n’ roll. 


The second of those two bands are the Levellers. They burst on to the stage and shot two huge streamer cannons which sent confetti soaring through the air. Their performance was full of energy and left the Castelfield crowd in awe of their presence.


This was one of the most highly anticipated gigs of the whole of the festival… and it certainly didn’t disappoint. BEAK> started things off on this monumental gig with a knockout set. There post-punk, bass heavy tunes went down a treat at the Bowl and certainly got the crowd ready for Arcade Fire. 

The Canadian indie rockers then took to the stage and started their set with their new single ‘Everything Now’. The crowd sang that catchy anthem like hook and didn’t stop singing and dancing from then onwards. Arcade Fire went all out with their production, with more amplifiers you could shake a stick at and a huge plastic box as the backdrop which they filled with smoke and different coloured lights which made the perfect walkway for any rockstar to walk through. Arcade Fire were amazing.


The penultimate gig of an already amazing Sounds Of The City was headlined by Manchester legends James. However, before their set, we were treated to two excellent support acts.
First up was 23 year old Irish singer-songwriter David Keenan. His voice radiated over the Bowl and stunned the listeners who came early to see him. 
Next was Slow Readers Club who were specifically chosen by James to support them. They gave it there all at Sounds Of The City and justified James’ choice to chose them as main support. 

Then it was James’ turn to blow everyone away. As soon as front man Tim Booth took to the stage, the adoring crowd lost it. His moves were serious as he lost himself in the music. His words echo peace and solidarity which was evident in their performance of ‘Sometimes’. This song made everyone in the crowd as one as everyone was fixed on James. The audience had their music ringing around their ears which resulted in choruses of ‘Laid’ and ‘Tomorrow’ being sung down the streets and into the night. 


If there was one gig to finish off such an incredible SOTC it was this one. Touts, Rory Wynne, The Coral and Blossoms.
Irish punk rock band ‘Touts’ took to the stage first to wow the energetic and youthful crowd. Their fast rhythms and political lyrics went down a treat at the Bowl.
Rory Wynne then followed. The lad from Stockport blew everyone away and has had fans on Twitter calling him “the love of my life” and “the coolest guy in town”.
Next up was indie legends The Coral. Their set was fully absorbed by the crowd who showed their appreciation by singling along to every word and giving huge roars of approval after every song they played. 
Sounds Of The City 2017 may have featured so many legends from the Manchester music scene including Richard Ashcroft, Bez and James. However, Blossoms proved that the city can still produce the best of the best. Reigning from Stockport, the new kings of indie rock showed the world that they are here and they are not going anywhere. The crowd consisted of a lot of Adidas trainers and waterproof jackets zipped up all the way to the top, but this unity of young people is a breath of fresh air into the British music scene. One of the standout moments of the set was their rendition of Oasis’ ‘Whatever’ complete with a full strings section. Their own material from their one self titled album stood up proudly next to this Oasis anthem which is a true reflection on how far this band from Stockport has come. 


Sounds Of The City was another brilliant success and we already cannot wait for the next one! #SOTC