It's a typical midwinter evening in Manchester: it's pissing down with rain, people's heads hunch into their shoulders as they hurry from bus to pub without getting too saturated or depressed that it's been getting dark at fucking three in the afternoon, So on this Friday night, what better place to be than indoors in the Bread Shed, another great addition to Manchester's selection of gig venues. And so, with can of craft beer in hand and the rain continuing to lash down outside, a healthy crowd of revellers settle to surrender to the sensual Slow Crush, This is their third visit to the jewel of the north this year, and along with all the other shows the Belgian-based foursome have played as they criss-crossed Europe, they've taken the cuts off 2018's 'Auroa' and made them ever more slick and powerful. The sound mix is perfect from the off, combining reverb soaked beauty and soft ethereal vocals with the pounding rhythms into effortless dreams of memory and loss that fill the Bread Shed and hold a growing crowd rapt with awe. There's echoes of My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star along with a pounding psych-grunge atheistic that could reach the sky. A pounding 'Glow' brings their set to the end. Have a rest now – you've earned it!
After a brief interval to catch our collective breaths, Torche hit the stage. The Miami foursome haven't been seen as often as Slow Crush in this town, and it's a big regret they haven't visited since they toured with Red Fang three years ago, especially as they pile into opener 'From Here'. Dovetailing and complementing their more laid back tourmates, Torche have long defied easy explanation. Off the back of an absolute banger of a record in the form of 'Admission' – which they justifiably draw from heavily in this set and whose title track is the highlight of the set – they're like a technicolour avalanche of riffs and the joyful fun that comes from losing yourself in sound. It's also incredibly loud in a way that rattles walls and dental work in a pleasing way. And it even gets people's hips a moving – popiness is not a dirty word in the Torche lexicon, and it certainly isn't in the context of cranked up amps and dirty riffs. And in the depths of winter what more could you need on a Friday night to blow away the cobwebs of a dreary working week? It's still pissing down with rain outside as we're forced to finish a gig we wish could never end, but we've all been lit up and said up North, made up.