The Big Moon


Are you reading this because you are already on board with The Big Moon? If so, read on. If you are not already on board, especially read on. This London four-piece have released one of the great debut albums of 2017. It is one click away from your ears right now – seriously, it’s called Love In The 4th Dimension, it’s on Fiction Records, and it’s yours to hear anytime you choose, you lucky things. Tonight marks their first visit to Manchester since its release, hence the standing-room-only, lucky-to-be-here kinetic energy that fills the Deaf Institute ahead of their arrival on stage.

Played on by Marvin’s ‘Sexual Healing’, they launch into ‘Silent Movie Susie’, the stage robed in deep blue shadow. The pace for the night is set early, with Juliette Jackson and Soph Nathan’s duelling axes immediately putting Deaf’s springing floor to the test (it passes with flying colours). The band are currently basking in the full afterglow of their album’s release, high on the songs and higher on the songs’ recognition from every corner of the room. There may be no better time in a band’s lifespan than this.

“This is our first ever Manchester headline show,” Jackson tells us, trying to conceal her joy with a rockstar pout. “We are very…handsome,” adds bassist Celia Archer, and everyone’s cool pose breaks. ‘Happy New Year’ follows, which sees Jackson and Nathan sampling full-on rock chick personas for a moment – perhaps ironically, perhaps not, but with foot on monitor and back-to-back posturing and all. They make you want to form a band. Album standout ‘Cupid’ lashes and slays the Deaf Institute, the collective Mancunian voices just about audible during the chorus, but nothing compared to Jackson’s own.

“We’re going to play a cover now,” announces Jackson, and an eerily familiar intro emerges from Fern Ford’s drumkit. “Backbeat, the word is on the street that the fire….” Is about as far as Jackson gets into ‘Wonderwall’ before they all collapse into laughter. “We really practiced Oasis all day on the bus earlier,” she jokes. Genuinely one of the funniest pranks I’ve seen a band pull on a crowd. We do, in fact, get a cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’, a crunchy, Ramones-like interpretation of the song that someone should really have thought of before. “That one’s about getting off with strangers, which I highly recommend,” she helpfully informs us. We have clearly caught The Big Moon in great form.

They save their biggest hitters for the final third of the set, with ‘Sucker’, ‘Formidable’ and ‘Bonfire’ all setting the room alight. By the end of a tight, hour-long, no-encore set that you could not find fault with, the crowd are hungry for more. Manchester will certainly get more of The Big Moon eventually, but it will be months down the line and almost certainly in a larger room. Now, do yourself a favour and check out Love In The 4th Dimension in time for the tickets’ release.

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Max Pilley

I'm a refugee in Manchester, having successfully escaped Birmingham in 2007. I'm a soon-to-be journalism student, used to edit the music section of the Manchester Uni paper, and have done a little radio production to boot. I've been adding bits and pieces to Silent Radio since 2012, mostly gig reviews, but a few albums too. Also hoping now to get involved with the brilliant radio show. When doing none of that, you can usually find me at some gig venue somewhere around town.