Yes it’s cold, yes it’s snowing and yes, you could be easily convinced to stay in. Or so you’d say on other nights. Personally, I’ve been looking forward to witnessing the guys that are on tonight for quite some time now.

Having grown out of their, now notorious, Monday Murkage club night into a full-blown category 5 hurricane-quartet, the guys from Manchester have already had their debut single ‘Paperweight’ called “the most important record to come out of Manchester in over 15 years”. And with that promise to live up to, it’s worth the slippery trudge through the snow.

But tonight the stage for their rampage will be The Ritz. Mind you, town seemed dead already, but I did have to blink twice to see how empty the venue was. Besides maybe a couple of dozen of people near the bars and sat at the tables around the dance floor, it was suspiciously quiet. After acquiring a much-needed refreshment, the main support of tonight, Mikill Pane, takes the spotlight and the crowd flocks into the middle of the floor (turns out there were more people shivering in the corners than I thought). Backed by DJ Will Power, who throws down a mixture of bass heavy and back-to-basics samples, he rips through some clever lines with a nonchalance that only a seasoned performer has (his website points out that his name refers to being ‘ill’ on the ‘mike’, just so we’re clear). Throughout his 30 minute set he brings some of his collaborators on from his Guinness & Blackcurrant EP. Personal highlight, and ridiculously catchy tune, was his track with vocalist Ben Clemo called ‘Golden’.

By the end of his warm-up, which he finishes with his Ed Sheeran track Little Lady (another highlight), the crowd have definitely warmed to his set and I could easily stand here and listen to him for a while longer.

In the meantime, the crowd has definitely grown by quite a few more punters, a lot of them brought here by the success of the Murkage Club nights so it seems.

The lights dim and visuals are being projected on the backline of the stage. First of the crew to take the stage is Murkage Dave, quickly followed by Gaika, Skum Kid and Ping Pong, each doing their verse of the opening song. Instantly, the crowd erupts into more of an active volcano and there’s not a single head that isn’t bobbing along to the beats and rhymes coming from the P.A. system. Without any hesitation, the outfit launches into newly released single Torches, which features a sample of the much bespoke broadcast of Alessio Rastani (“I go to bed at night dreaming of another recession”), and definitely shows why Murkage is a freight train. It’s surprising how many people you can see rap along to the lines and hooks.

Again, reaching back to those faithful Monday Murkage days, the group bursts into In the Jungle, which shows a rawer, less refined sound. And with the crowd getting going more and more, I start to forget about the amount of space left in the venue. Is the levee about to break? If this were a sweaty, packed to the brim club, it probably would have.

Sliding from one end to another, they rack up the decks for their Nero-remake Jenny. Every drum and bass-lover gets on his toes and joins in in the quest for Jenny. But the heaviest track, both on record but also live, remains Paperweight.

Besides being introduced with a clear f*ck you to certain political figures (*ahem* David Cameron *ahem*), it just has this feel of a call to arms about it. Not literally of course, but the combination of the filthy dubstep beat with Murkage Dave’s rawky rhymes just brings a wave of anger over our heads. Anger at the way things are in Britain, shit, in the world right now. And if there is one thing that music needs at the moment is to take its rightful place and voice to say what the masses don’t seem to be able to project.

This is where the power of the Murkage music lies. This is why they will go on to become a nuclear submarine, waiting to blow onto the scene and let people feel what they should be feeling at a gig. Be it without the attendance it deserves, they leave my ears ringing and my legs wobbling for more. And with one of their next gigs being at Sankeys, I can’t think of a better place to witness them for your first time round.

Music enthusiast | Play guitar | Bit of gig photography on the side | MA Journalism student at University of Salford | Huge Pearl Jam fan