The fourth Gigantic Indie All-Dayer at Manchester Academy was an opportunity for indie kids of wildly differing ages to wallow in over eight hours of 80s and 90s nostalgia. Throw in a real ale and cider festival, with several street food vendors outside, and you have a near perfect mini-festival.
First up was whippersnapper Mark Morriss, The Bluetones’ lead singer. While the rest of today’s bill had late 80s/early 90s vibes, Morriss eased us in with a chilled acoustic set packed with Bluetones hits and a handful of solo tunes – beautifully sung throughout, I may add. His set marked the last of the late 90s on stage, although DJs Marc and Jason Jones made sure there was a steady stream of Britpop bangers between each act.
An energetic set by Thousand Yard Stare set us up for my personal highlight – The Primitives. Their Lovely album was the first I bought with my own money. Admittedly, I also bought Push by Bros on the same day but we can overlook that, eh? I’ve waited nearly three decades to see this band and they didn’t disappoint. Lead singer Tracy Tracy is as compelling as ever, and their psychedelic set, packed with three-minute gems, was a jangly delight.
Jim Bob followed with a stripped-back performance of mainly Carter USM songs. Acoustically they had an air of the protest song about them and were even more powerful for that. We were even treated to a ‘cover’ of The Wheels on the Bus – from Carter’s yet unreleased children’s album. I kid you not.
Next up, EMF. Somewhat unfairly, the band has been associated with their juggernaut hit of 1990 and nothing much else. A real shame. Here, they proved to be much more than that – Black Grape’s brash, older cousin from the West Country, they were unbelievable. Sorry.
Pop Will Eat Itself exploded onto the stage and didn’t quit for best part of an hour. Although I wasn’t too familiar with their stuff, you could see why so many of the crowd were sporting PWEI t-shirts. Closest band I can remember seeing live, at least in terms of sheer energy, is The Prodigy.
Headliners The Wedding Present gave a final Manchester outing for their seminal 1987 album “George Best”. And it was a terrific send-off. Again, not a band I was too familiar with, but this album hasn’t been off my playlist since. A terrific way to end a gigantic day.
By Chris Payne, Head Photographer