TOY – 15/02/19

I woke up this morning with a headache, spawned in hell by the devil himself. I’m already feeling the effects of a Valentine’s Day with Mold (Read my review here). Today I have a long day ahead, filled with Postmodernist lectures and excessive painkillers. However, no amount of Co-Codamol can get me off the hook this time. There is only one thing on my mind, how to cure a hangover.

As many would guess, a night of indie-punk shoegaze is not the correct answer. Therefore the prospect of seeing The Starlight Magic Hour alongside TOY is a grim one.

The ritualistic 192 from Stockport is nowhere near as enticing as it once seemed. Instead it is a nauseating, claustrophobic nightmare. About twenty minutes into the journey I pick up on a familiar scent; the warm allure of a freshly cracked bottle of Peroni. Suddenly the nausea dissipates, I look across the isle to see a man as tired as the day is long, suckling the green teat of the bottle neck and wonder if there was any shame or solidarity in asking for one to share? Instead I opt for silent judgement.

Alcohol craving asides, I begin the walk to YES, with a slow pace down Canal Street where neon lights satisfy my tender eyes and the glamour of 7ft drag queens ties my stomach in knots. However, I make it to the venue, salivating with the pre-vomit sweats forcing the doorman to keep a keen eye on me. I head upstairs and succumb to weakness, ‘£2.95 please’ I’m told as the first pint of Amstel is passed my way.

I find a calm area to stand as I watch the seven-man strong Starlight Magic Hour take to the stage. This is the third time I’ve seen them play support and tonight retains the question, ‘why are they not headlining?’ They give a performance that is just as memorable as the last, chanting songs that wouldn’t feel out of place in a dusty saloon, considering each member looks as they were thrown together and gave birth to a stunning sound that separates them from their peers.

I’ll be honest; I mainly wanted to come tonight to see the support, as I haven’t really found TOY all that interesting in the past. I was particularly fond of 2013’s Join The Dots, yet have never looked further into them aside from avoiding their set at last years Manchester Psych Fest, which was a supposed highlight of the event. Ultimately, I’ve never really been into the shoegaze style, and feel it takes a certain calibre of band to pull it off. I am however very fond of the Neu-beat influence that feels like the backbone of every song TOY play.

I found myself swaying to the pulsating bass lines and hypnotic repetition of the drums, but felt uninterested in anything else from the band. Spacey echo vocals that get lost in the mix have never really been my thing, either sing or don’t. The guitar work did add a certain atmosphere, but also felt jarring at certain points.

Overall, I didn’t feel cheated by TOY’s performance, but feel if the billing was the other way around, I personally would’ve enjoyed myself more. Although, I feel many attendees would be inclined to disagree with me as certain songs received a solid reception and a specific group of people seemed to love every minute of the set. Therefore, you shouldn’t trust a word I say, as if it mattered to anyone in the first place.

As I slowly slide through the crowd, vomit contained, three pints down and a fresh headache on the horizon, I head back to the promise land. A long awaited 192 bus journey home, where my only vice to keep my awake is making an early start on this review. Upon reflection, there is no hangover cure, only preventative measures that will make tomorrow an inevitable regret.

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