The blue icicle lights of the Castle Hotel cast a gaze over indie-pop rockets Concrete Knives, a French band who are currently romanced on stage in a group hug before they begin their first ever gig in Manchester. We are all pushed closely together in the crowd, our elbows touching elbows with pints spilling while I stand on my tip toes to see more of the set than merely just the back of some tall lad’s head.

Concrete Knives have made a name for themselves in the past few years as being an energetic and exhilarating band to see live and with the recent release of their debut LP ‘Be Your Own King’, there’s no doubt they will be buzzing off the good energy fuelling through the Northern Quarter tonight.

To start the show off, the thumping beats and charging riffs in ‘Greyhound Racing’ puts the audience in sync for the hum of the familiar Friday night party mood. In a war against vocals versus drums, the room becomes like a bellowing collective of woa-ohs and if you aren’t singing along right now, you’ll feel extremely out of place. Transitioning without hesitation into ‘Africanize’, the band blazes an indie-meets-tribal drum driven sound, while their catchy single ‘Wallpaper’ creates a sing-along in the small and heated back room of the Castle Hotel.

In a whirlwind of musical commotion, the synth player is hitting the drums, the drummer is singing and the singer is dancing. We’ve watched this band transform before our very eyes into a multi-talented assembly, spilling positivity onto a menagerie of people who just can’t seem to get enough. It’s quite a sight to see.

The long intro of ‘Roller Boogie’ gets the crowd clapping as lead vocalist Morgane Coals gives the microphone to a pair of dancing girls during ‘Brand New Start’. A shout of Je t’aime’s echo through the room and for a moment I feel swept away to the allure of France until I’m quickly reminded of where I am when a drunken lad behind us yells something of impertinence at our talented on stage French mates. Sigh. ‘Truth’ and the male vocals from the overtly synthesized ‘Bornholmer’ lead us to the end of the night with the heartfelt ‘Blessed’ leaving the melancholic haze in the air in a song sung about the torment of a broken heart.

Giving credit where credit is due, the light-hearted nature of this band makes me like them more after every listen. Impressive in a way that so carefully stitches the roar of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with the harmonies of Arcade Fire, Concrete Knives gave us a performance that showcased the revival of a youth culture sure to one day take over the world (if it hasn’t done so already).

Brit Jean

One time time Gigs Editor over here at Silent Radio HQ. I've been music blogging and writing in Manchester for the past few years after graduating with a Literature degree back home in Canada. Never have I experienced a city quite like Manchester - so many great gigs and so little time! In 2014 I started an Independent Record label, Blak Hand Records with my best mate, and we aim to put out some of our favourite garage rock and psychedelic artists from both Liverpool and Manchester.