Live Review: The Wired and The Brookes (The Eagle Inn, 09/02/17)

Manchester’s Friday night lights welcome many a music lover to the city. Even in the shadow of the Manchester Arena, somewhat symbolic of Mancunian spirit over the past 12 months, there is music to be indulged and obsessed over. Even in the city’s hidden corners, such as where you’ll find The Eagle Inn.

A relative of Gullivers and The Castle on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter, it appears a quiet drinking joint at first sight, with a piano in a back room the only sight of musical activity. That is until Grimsby band The Brookes rip into their set at a little before 9 o’clock.

Benjamin Keal (rhythm guitar and vocals), Fraser MacDonald (lead guitar), Elliott Gant (bass) and Lauren Taylor (drums) power through a breathtaking 45 minutes. It’s provocative, unapologetically political and has the stone walls of this Salford venue quivering.
Initially in a three-piece of sorts, Keal is eventually stripped down to cut a bare-chested figure centre-stage. Strips of duct tape hide his nipples, while bassist Grant effortlessly slaps his mark on the frantic sound. Final song Man Up, an ode to the age-old, skin-deep term amongst men sees Keal head into the crowd and
rip through the latter stages of the set on the floor.

A set of sheer quality delivered by a thoroughly exciting band.

The Brookes (Credit: Dan Pickthall)
Caleb Smelt (rhythm guitar and vocals), Jacob Beaumont (lead guitar), Richard May (bass) and Max Smith (drums) are The Wired. The Sheffield band have been penned as a band to watch by Fred Perry Subculture and Gigslutz.

Their latest single ‘Up All Night’ was Radio X Track of the Week on its release last year and has received several new plays on BBC Introducing. The track has a hazy rock and roll feel to it, with a swagger that has seemingly served them well. It’s complete with a big chorus, swelling the room.

Richard May, centre, Caleb Smelt, left, and Max Smith, right, of The Wired (Credit: Dan Pickthall)

Similarly, most recent single ‘Stay Here’ has already received BBC Radio 1 airplay and support from Huw Stephens, a big coup for any band. It’s romantic, a slower track that brings intimacy to the venue, it’s catchy too.

It’s clear they work hard too, Smelt a driving force on and off stage. It’s therefore deserved that they should pull in a big crowd away from home. They’re heading to Paris this year, on their first European date, they’re in prime position to be another fine Sheffield export.

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