Emily Jones || November 21st
It was a bitterly cold November night on Friday, but somewhere inside The Sugarmill (or possibly at the pub round the corner), The Manalishi were gearing up, ready to play their final gig of the year.
Opening the show was local band The Stuff, who played loud originals to a relatively small audience. It was a disappointing turn out, but something that didn’t seem to phase the band, who introduced every song with a short description and a little bit of rage. Crowds grew for We Few, who performed to a noisy audience of friends and followers. Tracks ‘Every Time I Taste It’ and ‘Push’ were most popular, as the band gave a solid performance throughout their entire set. Final support of the night came from Swindon based Yves, an indie pop trio with catchy guitar melodies that would stay in your head for days. Although lacking a listening audience, Yves ploughed on through their set which included ‘Glasgow’ and ‘When They Day Comes’, both taken from their current EP of the same name.
When the Manalishi took to the stage, a little after 10pm, the crowd were more than ready for them. Opening their set with ‘Outta The Blue’, taken from their current album titled ‘Memory Lane’, the four piece were on fire. Filled with the finest beer and the greatest confidence, Josh Alcock, Ross Fallows, Jovi Duvnjak and Matt Hewitt seemed unstoppable. ‘Lose Control’ had the audience singing and chanting, whilst vocalist Alcock grinned from ear to ear, basking in his moment in the spotlight.
They even gave listeners a chance to hear what’s to come, with brand new track ‘A Little Less Violence’, shortly followed by ‘Roses Out’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Sneaky Freaky’, which saw Fallows standing atop of the speakers for two songs straight. It was evident from the crowd’s reaction, that The Manalishi are extremely well liked. Their loveable nature, great sense of humour and perfect onstage rapport makes it quite hard not to like them. Their personalities shine through their music and that’s something that even the most popular bands fail to achieve. ‘No No No’, a track that has become even more culturally relevant in the past few months, kept the crowd singing even after the song had finished, prompting the band to pick things back up and play through the ending one more time. It was quite a spectacle to observe; Alcock and Duvnjak glancing across at each other, in what appeared to be disbelief and sheer enjoyment.
As they entered the final part of their set list, The Manalishi seemed to grow ever stronger with each song. The anthemic ‘Our Town’ and ‘Memory Lane’ fired up the audience once again, whilst brand new track ‘History’ had everyone chanting the guitar riff at the top of their lungs. Rounding everything off with ‘Tell Tale Signs’ “also known as Manafuckinlishi” added Alcock, who could be found mostly on the floor of the stage, soaking up every lasting moment, The Manalishi kept their fire burning until the very end. It’s fair to say that they’ve had a stand out 2016, releasing their album, playing gigs around the country and playing an absolute killer final show of the year. Exciting things are most definitely on the horizon for The Manalishi, and you’d be a fool to not want to be a part of it.