Review: Away Days at Sound Control, Manchester – 06/05/16


Exiting the taxi on your way to see a new band for the first time, it’s probably considered inauspicious to encounter the band locked out of the venue.  However, it somehow fits perfectly with Away Days ethos.  The band, formed from the ashes of Manchester Nantwich rockers Blitz Kids, have come back fighting with a new EP and a slightly heavier lyrical tone.

Frontman Jono Yates takes the stage effortlessly, a mix of self-deprecation and bravado that sits comfortably alongside honest lyrics about probably drinking too much and definitely being adrift in your late twenties.  Opening the set with ‘I Look Alright (But I’m Not), the band then follow this with ‘Give Me My Life Back’, a song about depression and anxiety.

Lest this come across a little heavy-handed, it’s then followed by a story about how they’ve forgotten to put any merch out for sale and a new song which “doesn’t have any lyrics, but does have a killer riff”.  (This is only slightly a lie – the riff is great, and the song does have some lyrics, although my favourites are “this song will be great when I bother to write it”).

The band close the set with my two personal favourite songs from their EP: ‘Messiah’, their first single released earlier this spring, and ‘Through The Night’, a song clearly inspired by the Blitz Kids split.  Despite any potential for this to be a sore point with the band members, Matt Freer and Nic Montgomery spend the entire show beaming and playing with an energy that belies having spent half of the day napping in a transit van.

Sonically, the band fill my absolute favourite niche of writing messy happy songs about being sad – misery that you can dance to.  There’s something very satisfying about being able to sing “the time I spend doing nothing is fucking ridiculous//I’m lazy and drunk and I’m sad” into an overpriced venue beer and know that you’re most definitely not alone.

It’s also refreshing to encounter a band who have done the highs and lows of little support slots through to regular rotation on Kerrang! and then when it ends go “that was fun, shall we have another go?”.

This time around looks like it’s going to be just as fun.  Here’s to the ride.

Away Days’ self-titled EP is streaming on Spotify and Soundcloud, and available on iTunes for £3.19

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