Warrington’s Neighborhood Weekender has, for a couple of years now, been one of the most hotly-anticipated weekends in the diary for fans of heavyweight, best-mate-on-your-shoulders indie. Here we make our top picks from this year’s stellar line-up.
The Stone Roses reunion happened in typical Stone Roses fashion – we all waited years for it and then it fell apart quite quickly – and now Ian Brown is back with his first North West show in over a decade.
This exclusive headline set marks an exciting new start for the Warrington born icon, following the release of his self-produced album Ripples last year, as well as proving a chance for Brown to reassert his often underrated solo back catalogue. Though don’t be surprised if a few gems from that other band make an appearance, too.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott
It was claimed, at one point, that one in seven households in Britain owned a copy of the Beautiful South’s hits collection Carry On Up the Charts. Frankly, this isn’t good enough and that number should be more like one in three. That band’s nucleus – Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – are enjoying a well-earned Indian summer, having just released their local inspired new album Manchester Calling. As well as this, there’ll be classics of kitchen sink songwriting that one in seven of you will be well familiar with. This could be Rotterdam, but it is in fact Warrington.
As if any proof was needed, the futuristic psychedelia of Disco Volador has underlined that the Orielles are one of the most interesting and singular bands in Britain right now. Formed in Halifax but now based in Manchester, the band offer a notably retro vision of the future on their new record that explores ideas of space travel and climate change anxiety. Though bands like Broadcast and Stereolab are an influence, dance music is increasingly informing this group’s vision – you can spot members of the group DJing around the city, they’ve covered Korean DJ Peggy Gou’s ‘Itgehane’, and their early single ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ was remixed by the late, truly great Andrew Weatherall.
Working Men’s Club
What’s going on over that side of the Pennines at the moment? Yet another West Yorkshire success story, Working Men’s Club formed in Todmorden and play Neighborhood ahead of the release of their self-titled debut album on Heavenly Recordings in June. Outspoken frontman Syd Minsky-Sargeant has created one of the North’s most formidable outfits for some time; as comfortable pounding the throbbing dancefloor electro of single ’Teeth’ as they are the Talking Heads influenced art-funk of ‘White Rooms and People’.
Catchy melodies aside, the Mancunian singer-songwriter Phoebe Green has a lyrical eye for detail that could be compared to Jarvis Cocker; testament to a diary-entry style writing process that reveals snapshots from her life as lived.
New song ‘Easy Peeler’ contains more than enough vitamins to keep you standing through this weekend, and is Green examining the often strange preconceptions around relationships that society can enforce. “People are proper obsessed with keeping up appearances” she explained, “and maintaining this perfect ideal, so the song highlights the naivety of someone that is inexperienced anticipating what a relationship involves, based off what society and social media project.”
So there you have it – our top five picks from the North West’s premier indie weekend. Also worthy of mention are two leading lights of Ireland’s burgeoning post-punk scene: The Murder Capital and Fontaines D.C.. We can’t wait to check both of those out. We’ll also be watching The Big Moon, Sundara Karma and Sports Team, as well as a host of local talent – something that the festival supplies in droves.
Make sure to check out the festival website for the full list of acts gracing Victoria Park next May!