– Castle Hotel, Manchester –



It’s a later than expected start tonight, scheduled support act Loose Articles are sadly unable to perform, here’s wishing a speedy recovery. It means I arrive barely ten minutes before the main event, just in time to hear Black Flag then Black Sabbath playing as background music, as though the playlist has been sorted alphabetically. The Castle is sold out this evening, and it’s all a bit cosy in the back room when Sprints reach the stage.

From the off, the music is very much in-your-face, but well balanced, it’s possible to identify all the individual parts within the onslaught of sound. I find myself watching bass player Sam McCann’s technique for playing the first song with his left hand over the top of the bass guitar’s neck, it’s probably just me interested in that though.

Still damp from the Manchester rain, the crowd are settling slowly, but guitarist and singer Karla Chubb is keen to get things rowdier, “are you all ready to get a bit messy and sweaty?” she asks, pointing out where the door is to those who aren’t. Not wanting to issue instructions without following them, the band throw themselves into the next song in aggressively energetic fashion.

Sprints at The Castle Hotel

Sprints at The Castle Hotel

There’s a lot to like about the performance, from the buzzing fuzz of the bass in ‘Drones’, the chant along “Die for you. Lie for you” of ‘Ashley’ and Chubb climbing atop the stage monitors to demand hands meet each other above heads. ‘The Cheek’, ‘Manifesto’, ‘Modern Job’ and ‘How Does The Story Go?’ is a glorious run of songs, a run that brings the set to its close.

With the venue’s quirk of the band having to leave the stage through the crowd, there’s nowhere for them to go as everyone remains standing in the way. “You want more?” enquires Chubb, fully aware we do. She asks for a pint glass to be passed up to the stage, apologising to The Castle Hotel for what she’s about to do, before collecting a drumstick from drummer Jack Callan.

The encore, if we can call it that since they were unable to leave the stage, is a cover of Wet Leg’s ‘Chaise Longue’. Chubb’s face is a fearful grimace as she bashes the pint glass with the drumstick, every clink a potential shattering. The performance is inevitably far more raucous than when I saw Wet Leg perform the song at Isle of Wight Festival, dare I say more entertaining for it? The one-act nature of the gig means I’m in and out in under an hour, but it was a triumph. Often chaotic, but the most delightful chaos.

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Adam Smith

Silent Radio Editor-in-chief. Watching excellently crafted live music is one of the great pleasures I get to enjoy. Having too often seen excellent bands fail to garner the attention I believe they deserve, I'm here to spread the good word of the under-appreciated musical performer. I encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same. Get in touch if you'd like to do that here.