Flannel shirts, member only jackets and Levi jeans bring back distant memories of the 90s and I am expecting more of the same tonight with London’s shoe gaze specialists Mazes stopping off at Soup Kitchen before continuing along on their nation wide tour.

I’m pleasantly surprised to find Pierre Hall’s Golden Glow on the bill tonight. Having seen them a couple of times before I’m intrigued to see whether they have developed into the band I hoped they would. Joined on stage by three other members, Pierre fights about the jangling guitars, and ear splitting drumbeats by spitting his low toned vocals towards us. The band describe themselves as a post punk indie group and its’ fair to say that they are your stereotypical Manchester sounding act. This is not a bad thing, quite the opposite. Pierre and crew draw the crowd in, impressing with their song craftsmanship and ability to sound a lot larger than they are.  Channelling all things New Order, Golden Glow is the kind of band who could develop into a real cult act, finding themselves on underground mix tapes throughout the city.

Weird Era come on to a bit of a whisper amongst the crowd. The four piece continue the night’s proceedings by blending their buzzed out tunes into one another, giving the impression that they are in their own element and not to be disturbed. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t seem to get them. Each song seems moody and repetitive but the audience around me are getting into it .The lighting show is good, colour-tastic circles surround the band and suiting the atmosphere, however something is missing. It’s hard to find any info on Weird Era before the gig and I get the feeling that’s exactly how they like it, just doing their thing to whoever wants to pay attention. I think the promoters may have missed a trick by putting on Golden Glow first.

Touring for the release of their new album ‘Ores & Minerals” released on the 18th, London’s Mazes open proceedings with ‘Bodies’ which brings the night back on side with the positive tempo it needs to get going. Without having much personality on stage, the guys let their music take over and it is proper 90s nostalgia, if you closed your eyes it’s like you are listening to a mix of Pavement and any other 90s American indie band you want to throw in there. The bassist’s fringe flops about to the tune of the music while the drummer goes from a hidden synth machine to his kit while putting on one of the most serious faces I’ve ever seen. They are the kind of band I can imagine seeing in a 90s teen movie where the bad boy takes the goody two shoes to some club and everyone is jumping about in dodgy sweaters. After a brief pause to solve some technical problems ‘Jacki’ hits us with its twirling verses creating exactly what their name portrays. The new songs certainly seem to have an extra serious dimension to them compared to the good times offered on 2011’s ‘A Thousand Heys’ showing that the band is growing in stature.

Fan favourite ‘Summer Hits or J Plus J Don’t Like’ get the feet moving while the brisk low fuzz of ‘Go Betweens’ is a cracker. The boys end their hour long set jamming out with ‘Skulking’ before walking off to a happy applause.

They might not say much, but Mazes are a band to pop on before you head out, especially if it’s for your high school reunion. In the last few years, the best 90s throwback bands seem to be coming from London and if the trend continues there may still be more life left in the old flannel shirt.

G’day folks. I’m an Australian traveller who is still sulking because I have found myself living in enemy territory. I like to discover places with decent music scenes so its no surprise I’ve been in Manchester for two years now. I’m a typical you’ve heard it all before music lover who tries to see the positives in every band.