A LIVE REVIEW
The Heads Up Displays
The Red Stains
Live @ The Castle Hotel Manchester
On June the 8th 2022 another part of history was made as the Gulps blew the steeple off the Castle Hotel Manchester for the final date of their very first Uk headline tour. It was mammoth , sweat and masquer dripping from the walls, the styles and fashion straight out of 1970’s Vogue, without a doubt this was the hippest show in town, absolutely Uber cool punk paradise in an old skool northern boozer with a packed out little gem of a music venue out the back.
My journey as always, coming over from Jersey is never a simple one. Flights to Manchester cancelled so it was a quick switch to Liverpool airport, an Uber, a train and a hop skip and a jump and I finally arrived in Manchester, without a doubt one of the coolest city’s in Europe and I ain’t just taking about the weather. On exiting the train station I bumped into The Gulps themselves, Harry and Charlie who where taking a little stroll around the city with manger and musical legend the Mcgeezer himself, Mr Alan McGee. It’s was great to catch up and I was truly honoured by the wonderful welcome I received from these absolute hero’s. It definitely set the scene for what was about to be a monumental night of rock n roll.
Up first on the bill where pure pictures of punk The Red Stains, an extremely aesthetically pleasing four piece from Manchester who’s drummer instantly reminded me of a young Joe Strummer with his greased back hair and sheer rock and roll presence. While lead vocalist Natalie Emslie owns her stage like a reincarnation of Siouxsie sioux and equally as stunning. These guys are in no way style over content, these guys got the tunes as well. With great tunes like mannequin and freezer Jesus these guys got a very interesting and enjoyable punk pop playlist. Fantastic delivery and crowd participation and everyone in the room was lapping it up. Top stuff, I will defo be keep my ears on the red stains.
Right quickly off to the bar for 2 half’s of lager and lime and straight out to the cosy smoking area to catch The Gulps having a photo shoot for a top clothing brand. Obviously over at the Songbird Hq we love a little photo opportunity and had to capture the moment of being reunited with good pals and the greatest rock n roll band since the word rock and the word roll where ever put into a sentence, so with a couple of click clicks and a jubilant cheer I head back inside to catch next band on the bill, the mind altering groove explosion that is The Heads Up Displays.
These boys are straight out of the Jonestown Massacre but none of them are called Brian. They open up by saying this track is gonna melt your brain. Fantastic stuff, they weren’t lying, strap yourself in sir your going for a spin. This 6 piece are at the coolest party and it’s taking place on stage. Seventy’s psychedelic guitar swirls and the flares to match. Pounding drums guide melodic vocals all the way up into the venues very own Apex, until you realise your up there on the ceiling and you’ve barely even sipped your Ale. It was infectious, this band are a trip. You could be teetotal and feel smashed off your tits just watching and listening to these boys set. Massive hats off to the two maracas shakers who shook the shit out of those maracas for the whole hour. What absolute legends. To sum it up these boys are Uber cool and if you ever get the chance to partake in one of their live shows make sure you take the next day off cause your gonna be out there like Pluto for a good few hours after.
After composing my self and transporting myself back to 2022 it was time for a swift half and a fantastic chat with Toura Toura main man Kevin Fitzgerald, top geezer and an essential part of giving the gift of live entertainment to all of us lucky music loving punk rock punters. Speaking of top geezers A massive grin hit my face as I strolled back out to the smoking plot and saw ultimate guitar hero and without a doubt one of my favourite people in pop, Alias Kid axe man Mr Sean O Donnell. Was great to catch up and hear all the exciting news from the Alias Kid camp , big things are soon to be unleashed from these boys and I can’t bloody wait.
So the time is upon us, the time is now, yes those mosh pit ready butterflies buzzing around my belly are uncontrollable, the excitement is at it’s peak and boom on walk The Gulps. With pure rock and roll swagger the guitars hum and we are off. Straight in with previous single and proper crowd pleaser “Stuck in the city”. A phenomenal opener, it’s classic guitar riffs and captivating vocals gets the crowd off to a riotous start. Beer going everywhere and faces of pure joy. The ceremony has well and truly began, it’s clear we are standing in the house of the gulps. They own it, everyone is transfixed as they chant “I lost my soul stuck in the city stuck in the cit-ty”.
The momentum continues as they pound through their set with such energy. Baring in mind these boys had little if any sleep after their monumental show at the Camden assembly the night before, but who could tell. Absolute belters like Candy Candy and Mirror Mirror remind us all that the gulps album is going to be one of the best records this century and the power they give off could light up Europe for a good few years to come. These boys make rock a roll a new source of sustainable electricity and when they blew the crowd away with their cover of Blondies Atomic there was not doubt in my mind that the gulps are everyone’s new favourite band and every person in the room completely agreed when they burst into new hit single “king of the disco” not one person could stand still, eruption does not even come close to describing what was taking place. Pure joy and what a sing a long. As I turn arm in arm with my Gulp gig buddy’s I see the Mcgeezers face full of faith and happiness at his boys achievements. The man is a master at giving so many talented bands the help they deserve to get to where their meant to be and the gulps return the favour by growing at every step. It’s so hard to pick a favourite in the gulps sets because every tune is top class. The skills and songwriting ability of these boys from the four corners of the world really do offer us music lovers something new and exciting yet with elements of what we have always loved about rock n roll. “The kings house” for example, one of the gulps earliest tracks and the first I ever heard, is a pure banger and the way they play this belter today shows that the best just got better. There is no stopping the gulps and I am one proud music lover who’s looking forward to the bbc bringing back top of the bloody pops simply because these boys deserve to play it. As the boys finish the set to thunderous applause and chants of one more song it’s clear everyone in the room would gladly listen to the whole set again. What a performance and what a night in Manchester.
After a couple of well deserved pints of Guinness and a good old bit of banter the lads are back in the tour bus and set off back to London for a few days rest before heading out to Spain and France for the start of their summer festival slots. Viva la Gulps, hand on heart I love these loveable punk rockers.
Review by Jim Dolan
Photos by Denno_photography