Gigantic – Classic Indie All Dayer – The Academy, Manchester, 24th May 2014

Manchester offered up its traditional welcome of rainfall for the gathering of some significant blasts from the past.  It was clear from the mainly forty-something ensemble that this was a special outing for both themselves and their rediscovered t-shirts!  Fitting that the city of indie should host such an event and the support on the day suggests it’s a market that needs provision.

At a mere £25 a head (clearly subsidised by the extortionate price of ale!), the memories on offer were bountiful as their former heroes set foot on stage to possibly the biggest crowds they’ve played to for some considerable time.  And the crowds did indeed turn out, maybe surprisingly for the organisers having only provided one food outlet (which unsurprisingly bore a very long queue and ran out of food!).

No matter, first up on stage were those jolly Irishmen The Frank & Walters, decked out in resplendent orange shirts for the day.  Paul Linehan has always had the ability to write great pop songs and they are indeed an underappreciated band.  Not here however, as they kick off the day with “Colours” to set the crowd swaying and singing along.  Excellent banter fuelled the performance and by the time “After All” carried everyone away, they had nailed it with a great set of old and not so old material.

Always a bit of a novelty act, The Sultans Of Ping followed their fellow Irishmen and were perhaps the least anticipated of the day’s performers.  That said, they put on a decent show and rattled off tracks from their first two albums to the delight of the converted.  “Stupid Kid” set the crowd rolling of course and the inevitable finale of “Where’s Me Jumper” ensured they left a suitable mark.

Leeds band Cud have never really taken themselves as seriously as their fans to be fair but they showed true delight and energy for the occasion.  With a sizeable back catalogue to delve into, the set was a varied one, yet it was the classic “Robinson Crusoe” that sparked off the crowd.  Time hasn’t been over kind to Carl Puttnam but then that could be applied widely here.  Even so, he remained agile throughout an enjoyable set that kept the gathered masses on their toes looking for more.

The Chameleons not only pre-date all the other bands but reside outside of truly being indie.  They chose to play the whole of their debut album – originally released in 1983, “Script Of The Bridge” deserves more recognition in the world of post punk and the execution here was superb.  Officiandos revelled in the memory whilst those hearing it with lesser familiarity were mesmerised.  Welding together The Cure with Killing Joke coupled with some clever lighting made for one of the day’s finest moments.

The Wedding Present need no introduction of course…or do they?  Whilst the band’s identity is that of David Gedge, he has drafted in three band members who were probably not even born when the band started out.  Gedge’s set is always an unpredictable one and today he chooses to splash out album tracks to leave many in disappointment.  Cries for “Kennedy” and “Brassneck” were finally met with the latter, albeit too little too late maybe.  No show at all from the band’s finest moment “Take Fountain” as wonderment of why the band weren’t headlining turned to a possible sense of relief.  The man remains a pioneer of course but crowd pleasing fell short on this occasion.

Headliners Ned’s Atomic Dustbin find themselves amidst a sea of furore and expectation.  The only band sporting the original line-up, John Penney dons his best Manchester pose and throws repartee at the excited gathering.  “Manchester, so much to answer for” he puns and then both band and crowd are off at full pace.  A high energy performance that befits the conclusion of a fine day, “Not Sleeping Around” is the first tune to set things truly on fire.  Returning for the encore and the inevitable “Kill Your Television” takes the roof off and they are forgiven for the omission of “Happy”.  A band on top of their game for sure.

So tired and happy limbs make their way home to their kids with hearts fulfilled, pockets empty and unable to rid their head of a dozen tunes they hadn’t heard for a long time.  Talk of other bands that could’ve made the cut yet a true feeling of belonging and looking forward to the next outing.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.