As if going to see Tame Impala live wasn’t enough, news that Wolf People were to support had made my week. Sounding as though they’d been locked in a barn, in Devon, with nothing but their instruments and a copy of ‘The Rolling Stones: Rock and Roll Circus’, the hairy four-piece gently feel their way into the set with delicate and then soaring ‘Morning Born’.

There’s a decent turnout for a gig at this early hour, with good reason. Like a more serious and stoned version of Wolfmother, Wolf People threaten to single handedly revive the British blues-rock scene and banish any memory of The Darkness. ‘Silbury Sands’ is a slow burner, the simple repeating guitar riff ripples towards the verse before a thumping, deeper riff takes over, bringing us to Jack Sharp’s clean and crisp vocal, which tells a wistful folksy tale. Guitar solo? Yes please. The drummer builds the tension once more before they launch into a progressive instrumental ending, which could cause whiplash.

Applause that a headline act would be delighted with follows the pulsing, race car of a tune that is ‘One By One From Dorney Reach’. It’s Fleetwood Mac at Silverstone in a Mustang. Obviously, Wolf People have made a lot of new friends tonight… I could go home happy right now.

Oh wait, yeah ok, I’ll give Tame Impala a listen as well if you like. The Australian psychedelic rockers brave the beer soaked wooden floorboards with bare feet and the drummer is brave to be wearing that vest. The capacity crowd are primed and ready for what they’d paid for, there’s no need to persuade anyone to enjoy themselves tonight. ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ washes away the grinding, dirty distortion of the support band and the reverb heavy vocal invites you to close your eyes. The cheeky sounding ‘Solitude Is Bliss’ starts the jumping. Imagine a stoner on a bouncy castle (without any puke).

‘It’s Not Meant To Be’ continues the frenzy from the first chord, the fresh drum beat and addictive basslines faze around our ears, bathing us in psychedelic bliss. The tune breaks down to an instrumental version of ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ by Serge Gainsbourg, a natural progression with the mood, perfect.

‘Expectation’ has the crowd voluntarily accompanying with a handclap, the band admit Manchester is their favourite place to play (joining a long list of bands to do so… I don’t make this up). The abrupt end to the song reveals a moment of complete and engrossed silence, before rapturous applause. Extended versions of songs from their recently re-released album ‘Innerspeaker’, one by one, produce even more adulation, as we’re invited to “get down and boogie”.

They cover Massive Attack’s ‘Angel’, with lead singer Kevin Parker doing a credible impression of Horace Andy, though the bassist struggles to keep up. Someone fittingly ignites a funny cigarette before having their moment of hedonism interrupted by security. Instrumental ‘Jeremy’s Storm’ was written whilst “very stoned”, after which they promise, “We’ve still got some sound to hurl at you.” And they don’t do encores. ‘Lucidity’ literally blows the PA and they respond to many requests by finishing with ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’, spinning two of the stage monitors around to compensate for the damaged equipment.

A broke crash cymbal had already been replaced, mid song. Anything that could’ve gone wrong tonight would’ve in no way deterred the crowd, and indeed the band from having a great time. The sound was perfect, the mood was electric and the roof was lifted.

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.