For the first time, Soup Kitchen plays host to the opening night of PNKSLM’s Slime Ball – an annual party that throws some of the Swedish label’s freshest talent onto one stage. This year sees PNKSLM expand the fun to Manchester and Birmingham – making this Slime Ball weekender the ultimate three-day, three-city event.
Kicking off the night with an array of surf-rock tunes from 2015’s Slow Grind, Beach Skulls immediately win over the crowd with an attitude unfazed by their early slot. Frontman Ry Vieira captures the Liverpool-born, Manchester-bred trio’s hazy vibe with ‘Dreamin’ Blue’, a beachy number positively drenched with dreamy chords. It’s a difficult pick, but no surprise that ‘Baby’s A Liar’ is their strongest tune – its reverb-laden hooks and relaxed bass riffs bringing some sunshine to Soup Kitchen’s grimy basement.
It’s a drastic change of pace as Denim & Leather launch themselves onto the stage, blasting straight into material from 2017’s appropriately-titled sophomore effort, II. A punky Mancunion force to be reckoned with, their material is raw as fuck, as doom riffs and raucous drums act as a backdrop for visceral screams. They prowl their away around the stage like it’s their second home, animalistic and sweaty; you’ve probably never seen a vocalist dive headfirst into concrete so many times. It’s a memorable yet lengthy performance that channels the vibe of Fat White Family with a whole new Northern twist.
Luxury Death aren’t to blame for their set being cut short – but they certainly make up for what was missed with their lo-fi brilliance. As Meg Williams brings some much-needed 80’s nostalgia to the party via her glitchy synth notes, it’s clear that ‘Needle’s infectious chorus will be stuck in everyone’s heads all night. The Manchester quartet has seen frontman Ben Thompson and bassist Tommy Stewart ditch their respective Nai Harvest / Church Party facades for a fresher image – and watching them perform, there’s no doubt that the appeal of this modern aesthetic plays a vital role in Luxury Death’s success. New track ‘Kids of the Club’ features harmonious vocals from Williams and Thompson – but its debut single ‘Radiator Face’ that’s the ultimate crowd pleaser, the perfect closer to an uplifting set the night needed.
The smoking area clears and the basement crams to its maximum as everyone realises that headliners HOLY are here to show us out with a bang. Latest single ‘Premonition’ sees the enchanting Hanes Ferm take a seat at his keyboard, whilst the remaining multi-instrumentalist members pass guitars between themselves every other minute. The Swedish five-piece don’t hesitate to make a statement; dreamy chords and reverb-drenched vocals enrapture the room, truly bringing tracks from 2015’s Stabs to life. It’s no surprise that ‘Clouds’ sounds almost Brian Jonestown Massacre-like with its psychedelic synth (Anton Newcombe’s a self-proclaimed HOLY fan) . At times it all gets a bit Pink Floyd, at others more Wand; it’s a versatile performance that’s arguably one of the best the venue’s seen this year. As ‘Lights’ builds into a explosive catalyst, and Ferm takes to ethereally gliding around the stage, nobody can question that PNKSLM have just hosted one of Manchester’s best parties. Let’s hope they bring it back for 2018.