Stereophonics grace Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl with support from the hilarious Clean Cut Kid and Walking On Cars.

“What about an outdoor gig in Manchester” someone once suggested. Then, amazingly someone else said – “yeah ok – seems like a good idea”

The dark clouds and sodden streets of Manchester are no secret. Whilst things always seem nicer when the sun is shining, it didn’t stop 8,000 people cramming in to Castlefield Bowl to watch the headlining Welsh lads ‘perform‘ some new material with a ‘cocktail‘ of crowd pleasing classics and as soon as the gig was underway, the weather made no difference at all!

Clean Cut Kid

Castlefield Bowl is a great venue that boasts an intimate atmosphere. Opening up the night was Clean Cut Kid who ironically have more hair than Chewie and Bigfoot combined. Never the less the the Liverpool band were practically playing to a home crowd who in turn showed their appreciation.

Fresh from a pretty cool Glastonbury performance, Clean Cut Kid recently announced a 10 date UK headline tour including a hometown show at East Village Arts Club inLiverpool on Saturday 29th October. The band is enjoying a fantastic 2016, releasing acclaimed single ‘Pick Me Up’ appearing on the BBC R1 Live Lounge, as well as playing shows up and down the country. One to watch out for and one to go see! If you can understand what Mike (lead singer) is saying with his pretty thick Liverpudlian accent he’s actually very funny! Cracking the jokes, not taking things too seriously, they look like they are thoroughly enjoying every minute at present! Fair play guys. Hope to see you some time in the near future.

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Walking On Cars

Not a band I’ve had the pleasure of hearing of in the past however it’s a name that is consistently popping up everywhere at the moment and rightly so. With their 100,000 Facebook fans, 30,000 twitter fans and 11 million youtube hits theres no wonder!

The Virgin/EMI signed, alternative rock band, composed of Patrick Sheehy (singer/lyricist), Sorcha Durham (pianist), Dan Devane (lead guitarist), Paul Flannery (bass guitarist) and Evan Hadnett (drummer).

It’s been a busy 4 years for the band; releasing their debut single, “Catch Me If You Can” in 2012, their debut EP, As We Fly South in 2013, their EP, Hand in Hand, was released alongside their single, “Always Be with You” in 2014, their single “Speeding Cars” in October 2015 with a 13 date headlining tour and in January 2016 the band released their debut album, Everything This Way.  The band are about to embark on a European tour visiting Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, France – you get the idea…. you can get tickets here

The Stereophonics

A band that has without doubt stood the test of time and show no sign of slowing down.

As much I would have liked to have been born in the late 40’s and lived through the 50’s & 60’s I’ve also got to count my lucky stars to have been born in the 80’s and lived through the 90’s.

It means I, like many others got to witness some pretty amazing bands that the 90’s produced. An era of great guitar based music and maybe the last era we’ll see where bands such like Stereophonics dominated the charts – lets hope not!

Formed in 92′ the band didn’t really become a house old name until around 97 which saw the release of their debut album ‘Word Gets Around’. I guess its probably around that time a school mate (Ryan Johnson) introduced the band to me  (along with anyone else who would listen to his relentless man love for Kelly Jones… now married with kids btw)

9 albums later, 6 of which No. 1’s and over 550 weeks in the charts its pretty obvious why The Stereophonics are packing out venues.

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With 24 years of gig experience under their belt you wouldn’t expect anything but polished genius like sounds as they opened the set with their 2015 track C’est La Vie. A track that fits seamlessly in to a phonics set which coincidently could have been released way back when. ‘I Wanna Get Lost With You’ followed, another track taken from their 2015 record Keep the Village Alive.

If you’re a regular gig-goer,and you make it down to the front on occasion,you may notice the pit (the space between the barrier you’re crushed up against and the stage) only has photographers in for the first three songs. This is a general rule for most gigs and when bands like Stereophonics come along with their immense back catalog of tunes, as a photographer, you’re always hoping that they drop something pretty special while you’re in said pit. To catch the bands debut single ‘Local Boy in the Photograph’ was pretty special and it  was instantly recognised by fans too.

From this point on the tone of the night was set with more bangers following such as ‘Vegas Two Times’, ‘Have a Nice Day’, ‘I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio’, ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ and ‘Pick a Part That’s New’. Only 8 tracks in to the night and you’d be pretty chuffed it it ended there, however just like the rain, the tunes kept coming.

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One of the cool features of Castlefield Bowl is the hillside grass verge. A perfect elevated view of the stage which is still pretty close so you never feel like your half the world away. However, as much as a cool feature it is, I chose the canopy to watch the remainder of the gig. Packed in tight I fully enjoyed the crowds renditions of ‘Just Looking’, ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’, ‘Mr Writer’ and as the band slowed things down a little with the intro of ‘Violins and Tambourines’ before smashing it out of the park.

‘Indian Summer’, ‘Graffiti on the Train’, ‘Sunny’, and ‘Catacomb‘ to round up the set before ending on a crowd pleasing favourite ‘Handbags and Gladrags‘ At this point of the night amid the waving hands, the saturated coats, running makeup and the abandoned umbrellas, there’s something quite special witnessing 8,000 people unite and have a damn good sing along whilst dancing around like nobody is watching. Maybe its the British way but there is definitely truth in the term ‘music brings people together’ its great to see!


There’s a lot to be said for encore’s. I’ve seen bands do 2 or 3 encore’s before getting kicked of stage however most keep it traditional just smashing out 4 killer tunes which is what we got tonight. Starting with ‘White Lies‘ before playing one of my faves ‘The Bartender and the Thief‘ at this point you’re already trying to figure out what the night is going to end on. We were pleasured with ‘Dakota’ and ‘Traffic’. Personally I’d have liked to have seen these two tracks swapped round however as ‘Dakota’ is probably my favourite track I am slightly biased on that one. Nevertheless – still a quality finish!

Round Up

As I previously said – Its pretty cool to go see and especially photograph bands you grew up listening to. Its equally cool to see Kelly and the band still producing the goods, sounding great and filling venues.

The Castlefield show had it all! The sound, the lighting, the crowd pleasing anthems and a boatload of fans who look to have been following the band since day one.  You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a greatest hits set – well it kinda was really and with a bag full of tunes like that – why not bring people together with them.

There was a good age mix which is always nice, to be expected I guess but the gig wasn’t without its adolescent drunken states – again, nothing new at gigs and equally expected.

If you haven’t seen this band yet… put it on your list of things to do ASAP. You can catch the band playing playing Edinburgh and Glasgow. More details here

Castlefield Pano