Twisted Wheel: Manchester Academy 2 – live review
Manchester Academy 2
Tuesday 7th March 2013
Manchester indie band Twisted Wheel are shaking off the new Oasis tag and creating a sound all of their own. They played a hometown gig at The Academy 2 and everyone had a great time including our very own Alana Turk.
Spirits run high in the bustling Academy 2 as the audience stand in wait of Twisted Wheel’s stage entrance. Glancing at the people around me chatting away to each other, I notice there is a real diversity between the types of folk that are here tonight. There are, of course, a lot of denim-clad hipsters, each sporting their own attempt at a proper Mancunian haircut. Chav-wannabe-indie-cindy’s completely done up to the nines, all in a giggling frenzy about how “the lead singer is such a babe”, alongside full tracksuit wearing skinheads already on their sixth pint. The list goes on… But in spite of all the stereotypes, one thing is quite clear – everyone here is “well lookin’ forward to hearin’ the Wheel play”.
Strolling on stage to huge applause and chants of “Wheel! Wheel! Wheel!”, Twisted Wheel don’t waste any time and get immediately stuck into their set with Poppi Love. It is evident from the word go that the three-piece are on top form tonight.
“This one’s called Bad Candy!” frontman Jonny Brown exclaims with a snarl and with the first beat, the floor starts bouncing. Brown rouses the crowd during Bored which finds him singing in a truly punk fashion, while more security guards make their way to the front as Let Them Have It All kicks in. Brown vocalizes his lyrics with real feeling and the fans reciprocate by doing the same and clapping along encouragingly. It is apparent that every person in the room is really feeling it tonight, whether onstage or off and it’s proving to be an extremely lively gig indeed. The tempo is slowed down momentarily for the beginning of Strife, the lyrics of which are left alone by Brown for the audience to belt out themselves, for the first few lines at least.
Bassist, Stephen Evans, and drummer, Eoghan Clifford, leave the stage as Brown asks “Do you wanna turn the lights down a little bit?” whilst wiping his dripping face with a towel. Fans storm to the front of the venue in an attempt record his solo performance of Double Yellow Lines as close up as possible. The rest of the band take the stage again and immediately begin to play Lucy The Castle, which proves to be one of the biggest hits of the night among the crowd.
It becomes apparent that Twisted Wheel fans really know their stuff – not one song so far hasn’t had pretty much every lyric sung back at the band. Usually this far into a set I would expect to have witnessed at least one track that the crowd aren’t 100% into – commonly consisting of a mandatory trip to the bar – but it seems that this audience get more lively with each song.
Invention really shows off Brown’s vocal capacity well, ranging from high pitched wails and harmonies to more grand, lower tones in this track. “Feel free to let your anger out at my gigs, man!” he exclaims when noticing a circle pit has been created within the crowd. This, paired with the audience’s vocals being noticeably more audible than Brown’s at times during Ride, makes me realise that this is one of the most energetic gigs I’ve been to for a while – just as a teenage boy appears next to me with a bloody nose (still having the time of his life, I might add!).
Twisted Wheel briefly leave the stage and reappear again for the longest encore I’ve ever witnessed – five songs in total. There seems to be an unspoken agreement with the fans – that if any crowd surfer gets too close to the front they are quickly pulled back again, snagged out of the security guards’ reach and into the safety of the pit. Providing a succession of hits in a truly crowd-pleasing fashion, the band played Oh What Have You Done, Postman, UK Blues, One Night On The Street and finally You Stole The Sun. A superb ending to a brilliant gig.
All words by Alana Turk. More work by Alana Turk on Louder Than War can be found here.