Glamour at the Ritz


Glamour at the Ritz is a night that would get any Manchester music fan frothing. Ten bands spread across two excellent live rooms – one massive, one small – over the course of 5 hours… paradise. Well, if your paradise consists of aggressive punk rock, high energy activity both on and off the stage, all soaked and marinated in a mixture of Mossley golly and Northern flair, then you’re in for a treat!

Quick disclaimer: Sadly, I didn’t get to see every artist play tonight due to lack of accessible time travel technology or ability to astral project so instead, below is a nice interview I conducted with Lee and Joe of CABBAGE earlier in the day. They’re truly wonderful lads! But enough of the bollock sniffing, here’s my journey through Glamour at the Ritz!

First up are The Rhythm Method with an intriguing blend of New Order synth pop and Skinner-like ballads of all things British, such as going the local boozer and chatting up a bird. In fact, their song ‘Local, Girl’ is a charming number that like all their other songs tonight, really gets the crowd swaying, toing and throwing. Frontman Joey has certainly got some moves and even I, often stern and unmoving when assessing new acts, have got a groove on and everyone around me seems to be immensely enjoying themselves.

The songs are short and sweet but pack a lot of power. Their “World Cup” song entitled ‘Chin Up England’ has a certain zest and patriotic spunk that transforms even me, a scouse Everton fan, into the most optimistic football fan in the world. Yes, we can win, even if Jake Livermore gets called up due to injury. All the soccer aside though, TRM are a fun act and it’s the perfect opening for a mammoth night of music. BUCKFAST DIE YOUNG!

Next up are Lady Bird, a band with the cutest name, but by far the most horrid sound; and I mean that in a good way. Taking elements of basement, spit in your face punk of the late 70s and mixing it with a modern-day anger fuelled mainly through lack of dungarees and waved garments, it’s definitely a riveting experience. I don’t know any of the songs, but to be honest, I don’t think they do either. Their set is one long 20-minute haze of shouting and 3 chord melodies and I fucking love it.

Moving on, Doncaster’s The Blinders, who as you know already are one of my favourite acts, are a little disappointing. Whether it’s because I’ve seen them a few times and therefore know what to expect or, the atmosphere tonight isn’t as flammable as previous Ritz sets, I come away feeling half bored. I think the vocals from frontman Tom Haywood are a tad more echoey than usual and for some reason songs like ‘Brave New World’, the macabre ‘ICB Blues’ and le nouveau single ‘L’etat C’est Moi (The State Is Me)’, aren’t as face melting as before. All my irrelevant thoughts aside though, everyone else is having a blast and I think it’s me who’s having an off day.

The trio are playing some amazing shows at the moment and the majority of their current material is a huge part of the exciting new wave of punk/alt-rock we’re seeing in the UK. Bands like CABBAGE, Shame and Idles have a part to play in this too – as well as The Fat White Family – however, The Blinders should receive immense credit en all. Their unique sound and approach to lyricism is something I enjoy immensely. Their on-stage performances feel like something we’ll see footage of in future documentaries alongside aging journalists saying shit like, “THEY WERE FUCKING OUTTA THIS WORLD MAAAAANNN!” (In that cheesy, American music-doc way).

Penultimately persistent in powering through to the party’s climax, Manchester’s own PINS lay the tightly packed crowd to waste. Despite winning the award for stillest audience of the night, they certainly appreciate the cool music this five piece are producing via the classic, bobbing of the head. Featuring two drummers, a singer who wouldn’t look out of place on the Rolling Stone, a guitarist who just can’t not hop around like a rabbit on stage and a bass player who’s wearing kecks as baggy as my eyes, they’re a band who are full throttle, all the time. Declaring “I’m only here to save the kids”, PINS’ sound is a constant barrage of quality rock n roll. Songs like ‘Serve the Rich’ are the personification of anti-austerity and the crowd tonight seem to agree. Overall their set is solid, thematically lathered in generous punk lashings and each song is as good as the last. I’ve seen PINS a few times now and it’s great to see an act equally grow and become more comfortable in their emotive, ‘Raw Power’ music.


For the intercontinental championship belt of the North, it’s CABBAGE vs. the people. Hailing from Mossley and weighing in at 2 much, Lee and the boys are serving up their own rumble in the jungle with an electrifying set. At times, it’s a bit fucking messy. I can’t hear a word Broadbent is singing on some tracks but again, the live sound tonight hasn’t been the best for whatever reason. Again though, it doesn’t really matter about the sound quality, it’s all about the energy in my opinion. In the interview, Broadbent expressed great appreciation towards fans who seem to connect to the lyrics more on this current record; the sublime Nihilistic Glamour Shots.

Here that sentiment is true in the sense that during every song, every fucker in here is screaming their heart out (apart from one annoying middle-aged geezer in front of me shouting at his mates towards the bar every five seconds, cunt). For me though, hearing the words to songs like ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’, ‘Fickle’ and ‘Kevin’ isn’t new anymore and it’s nice to listen to the group and focus more on their sound, rather than the arguable “novelty” shouting of Dead Kennedy re-workings. There is a lot more experimentation in the sound and to be honest, I can’t really look at any of their contemporaries and say they follow CABBAGE’s mould. Sure, the whole ethos of punk like releasing 36 songs in two years, whether they’re all good or all shit, is an honest approach which other bands mentioned above echo. However, in terms of actual sound, song structure and song matter for that matter, they’re truly a unique act.

Some may say they’re a bit of a mess live or they’re just lads who got lucky. No, CABBAGE deserve this rise and appreciation, they’ve worked hard artistically and physically over the past few years and this night certainly means a lot to both band and musical community.

Well done fellas, God bless.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC