Originally forming in Fife, Scotland in 2014 Dancing On Tables are a pop and rock band who have recently released their debut album 'Colour In The Grey' a collection of songs worked on before and during lockdown. They have supported bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen on their arena tour and have also played festivals such as Latitude and Kendal calling however, have now set out on their own headline tour across 8 UK cities following the end of 2022. 33 Oldham Street is a 80 person capacity music venue located in the centre of Manchester's Northern Quarter, which also acts as a bar and brunch spot during the day. It is the perfect venue for smaller bands from in and around Manchester and the UK who are developing a growing crowd. Allowing a sense of intimacy between the acts and their audience, whilst also having crisp and digestible sound quality despite the size of the room, I always thoroughly enjoy gigs at this venue and was looking forward to watching the three bands of the evening.
The first band supporting the Scottish 5 piece was Paid By Cash who delivered an enthralling array of bass driven post-punk, perfectly paired with the ethereal wavy sounds of shoegaze guitar riffs, not unlike those of bands such as Fontains DC and Sonic Youth. The Leeds based band broadcasted their front man, Ollie Carter’s deep, moody vocals displaying the familiar themes of existential uncertainty, anxiety and alienation in their lyrics which filled the room with angst resonating with the resurgence of the classic 1970s post-punk era. Classically inline with the genre, the band kept the interaction with the audience minimal and left lots to desire however each song was perfectly executed and the set was filled with an interesting array of heavy lead bass riffs and psychedelic guitar.
The next band on was Sleepyhead an indie pop duo from Manchester, the boys displayed a familiar set with a heavy Manchester feel typical of the genre. The light rhythm guitar riffs juxtaposed with the deep voices of the singers and created a romantic and melodic atmosphere around the growing audience completely contrasting to that of Paid By Cash’s deep sense of existentialism. The mix of acoustic love songs and upbeat melodies felt almost nostalgic as they explored themes of heartbreak and growing-up. As someone who grew up around the indie-pop scene in Manchester this set felt familiar and comfortable and had interesting bass lines for the audience to pick up on and dance to, completely typical of the late 2000s and 2010s indie revolution.
Finally, it was time for the headliner Dancing On Tables, as the room filled up and the crowd became more excited. They open with the song “Breathe” from their latest EP, from this first song it became evident that this band has a cult-like following and i even met some girls who had followed them from Scotland, one girl had even travelled from Canada just to watch them perform. The band were clearly comfortable on stage and had excellent stage presence constantly addressing the fans and even recognising a few people and naming them personally. The upbeat drums and synth keyboard created a buoyant atmosphere throughout the set and the crowd was dancing for the duration. The band followed the typical pop rock topics in their lyrics talking about love and relationships likely to resonate with their young teenage audience and bridge the gap between artist and the crowd.
Overall, 33 Oldham street was the perfect venue to host this quintessential indie gig night that can be enjoyed and is easily digestible for anyone no matter what type of music from the depressing existential tones of Paid By Cash , to acoustic love ballads from Sleepyhead all topped off by the synth upbeat dance pop tunes of Dancing On Tables. I would highly recommend watching any of these bands given the chance.