Review: XFM’s Winter Wonderland – Apollo, Manchester – 04/12/12

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Gracing the great Manchester Apollo venue, XFM brought the first of two massive Winter Wonderland line-ups along to create one massive party. Headlined by indie rockers Bloc Party, who were joined on the bill by Maximo Park, Everything Everything, Delphic, Spector and Findlay. The atmosphere was electric and the rave didn’t stop all night.

The night was opened by Manchester’s own Findlay who warmed the crowd up with their edgy guitar rythms and raw vocals.

Next on stage where indie rocker’s Spector. Fresh from touring Europe with Florence and the Machine, the banterous band had the crowd bouncing with opener ‘Celestine’. After seeing these guys live you can see why they have been compared to indie legends Pulp. Fred Macpherson and his band powered through a small 5 song set which also featured dancefloor filler ‘Chevy Thunder’ before finishing with sing a long ‘Never Fade Away’.

Electro indie boys Delphic kept the party going and the rave in the crowd bouncing as they brought their synths and bass to the stage. Using their slot as a chance to play some new material ahead of releasing the follow up to their debut album “Acolyte” in early 2013, the new songs had typical Delphic synths mixed with more bass than usual, a good sign for the new album. The new tracks were mixed with some of their classics including Doubt, Halcyon and Counterpoint.

With the atmosphere absolutely electric, Everything Everything brought their unique sound to the stage. Although seemingly the music equivalent to marmite, the crowd warmed to them and raved hard to big hits Photoshop Handsome and Cough Cough. Everything Everything also took this opportunity to play new songs ahead of releasing their new album in early 2013.

Onto the big acts of the night, first up were indie legends Maximo Park who played a fantastic and energetic set full of classics and a great mix of tracks from all of their albums along with lead singer Paul Smith’s usual wild dancing on stage. Their biggest hit ‘Our Velocity‘ certainly brought the biggest dance and mosh pit of the night, if the crowd wasn’t already warmed up for Bloc Party, they certainly were after that.

Bloc Party closed the night with a 10 song set which was full of crowd pleasing songs including personal favourites ‘Hunting for Witches’ and ‘Flux’ which was played with an intro of ‘We found Love’ by Calvin Harris and Rihanna. After a non-stop dance in the crowd all night, they were given one last opportunity as Bloc Party closed their set with Helicopter.

An absolutely fantastic night in Manchester and the other XFM Winter Wonderland event which will take place in London including The Courteeners and The Editors will have a lot to live up to if they want a night as good as this. I for one would love to see this event turned into a full UK tour with the two line-ups each year being merged into one.



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