Having never entered the basement of the Soup Kitchen before I am pleasantly surprised! I get in very early and there is about ten people inside, which makes the room look huge. I decide to leave and come back when the bands are due to start.

As I walk down the stairs for the second time, support act Golden Glow has just started. The place is absolutely packed and it looks like a different venue from half an hour ago.

Pierre Hall’s (vocals, guitar) mono tone, dry voice works well with the music. Hulme (guitar) and Swift (bass) provide the ultimate musical background, which seems to carry Hall’s voice on a journey, accompanied by the drums (provided by Woodward) and I have now fallen for Soup Kitchen and obviously, Golden Glow. The best track if I have to choose one is ‘Adore me’, hearing it really makes me feel like I am watching a ‘Manchester band’.

Photo copyright: Jim Hobbs

By the time Toy come on, it’s insanely heaving with eager music hungry people. You can just see that everyone is here purely for the music; to see, to enjoy and feel live music. I love going to the smaller venues of Manchester and getting that communal vibe, it’s like being at a mini two hour festival.

This is Toy’s first headline Manchester gig, and what a great atmosphere for them to perform in front of too. But they’re no strangers to a big crowd having supported The Pretty Things, and supported/supporting The Horrors, and it doesn’t stop there, their summer is set to be packed with a long string of dates lined up. And all this from a band that only formed in 2010!

Toy has their own unique sound, it’s intense to watch them live; each song has so much energy and life put into it that you almost feel as if you are part of the band yourself. When each song finishes you let out a deep breath of satisfaction, eagerly waiting for the next one to start. Their new single (released 23rd April) ‘Motoring’ does exactly that.

By the time they announce they’re going to play the last song, I honestly think more people are entering the basement, to try and get in one last sound of the band. By this point I’ve been reduced to being a fire safety hazard and am now stood on the stairs. I don’t think I’ve seen so many people happily crammed into one room before, which definitely says a lot about Toy.

The last song is ‘Left Myself Behind’ which I can’t stop listening to anyway, so I’m so excited to hear it live. If you have heard this before then you’ll know how good it is, but I can boldly say it’s twice as good live. They go off on one midway until the end of the song, with a massively extended instrumental. The energy in here is ridiculously intense, we all love it, and each member of the band is lost in their own instrument. If I walked in here and just heard that one song I’d have been a happy lady.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire night; the sound system could have been improved slightly. I hate wanting to tell people around me to be quiet to try and hear the band. You shouldn’t be able to hear other people’s conversations when watching a band, but other than that everything else was utterly satisfying.

Photos copyright: Jim Hobbs

Parisa Esalat

I'm a northern bird that appreciates all the lovely sounds this city has to offer. What I love about gigs, is that not only the music but the venue and atmosphere can create such a vibe that it takes you somewhere else.