Photos and words: Scott Reid
It’s a Friday evening, the nights are getting shorter, and the sweet knowledge that festival season is literally around the corner. My favourite part of festivals is not the headliners, but the smaller stages which encases new and exciting bands, and few bands excite me as much as Rosellas do. On their final night of their tour, to a sold out Manchester Academy 3, they brought the passion and the excitement which has carried their entire tour to an excited hometown crowd.
Before the main event, we were treated with an opening performance by Cornwall rockers Colour TV. Having featured on Our Sound Music before, I was excited to see these familiar faces pop back up. Watching frontman Sam Durneen bring his chaotic and spontaneous energy to the stage brought a large smile to my face. Colour TV was brought to my attention during Paul Laird’s review and everything he had to say rang perfectly true. The band's catchy riffs and raw energy instantly transported me back to the heyday of Indie rock. I couldn't help but draw comparisons to the early works of Razorlight - though I mean that as a compliment rather than an insult! Colour TV had clear inspirations from the heyday of brit indie in the mid 2000s but also a flare of jangle-pop reminiscent of The Smiths. Being in the crowd during the debut of their song “Sex Death Etc," was a massive treat. I found myself particularly hooked on Durneen’s stage presence, making the entire stage his personal dancefloor. Their performance was a perfect warm-up for the night ahead.
The next band up was a stellar surprise. Following just announced as the support for some nights of The Sherlocks UK Tour (their Glasgow & Newcastle dates respectively) was the Scottish five piece The Rahs. Throughout their entire set, the band's use of synths was on point, bringing in just the right amount of indie flavour to make their performance stand out. The combination of electronic and organic instrumentation created a dynamic and engaging sound that had the audience grooving along all night. It was clear that the band had put a lot of thought into their setlist with both new and old tracks, and their performance, and the result was a truly memorable experience. Frontman Jack Macleod brought a certain swagger, a bit of Scottish suaveness to his presence and had me hooked. Throughout the set, the crowd swayed to the beat, clearly entranced by the blend of guitar rock riffs and funky synths melding together. Considering how little I knew about The Rahs going into this gig, they were an absolute treat on the ears. Yes I might be slightly biassed, but I will never tire from hearing a glorious accent in music, so that was another check from The Rahs from me! The Rahs really brought it! That blend of guitar rock and synths hit me deep and my ears are still ringing. They definitely left an impact on the crowd and I'm already itching to see them live again.
As the lights dipped down, the chants of "Selby! Selby! Selby!" echoed through the venue as the stage lights went out. A hush fell over the crowd in anticipation of the main event. Suddenly, a thunderous roar erupted from the audience as Selby and the rest of Rosellas swaggered onto the stage, igniting the already high energy in the room.
Having recently launched their most recent single ‘Hideaway’ mere weeks ago, they opened with that very tune. Instantly, the crowd was absorbed by the presence on show. As each song came and went, the energy only continued to get higher and higher. If you had told me this was the final night of a UK tour, I would’ve been surprised. The energy from Rosellas on this night would’ve been impressive on the first night of a tour, let alone the very last.
As their set came into full swing, it became clear that they were warmly welcomed back to their home turf and the audience absolutely adored them. They started off strong with an outstanding performance and continued to impress throughout the rest of their set. Every song they played seemed to fit perfectly, with no filler tracks in sight. The band poured their hearts into each tune, radiating energy and enthusiasm that infected the crowd with excitement. It's evident that the Rosellas are a group worth keeping an eye on.
Personally, I didn't have a standout favourite song as each one seemed to be impeccably selected, with a well-crafted balance of different moods and styles that suited the moment perfectly. It seems to be a running theme of the night that all the bands performing had a charismatic presence and Selby is the exact same. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what, but there is a certain edginess and Manc swagger on him, if you know you know. My expectations were set high, but they were completely exceeded tonight. The energy was on par with that of a large arena concert. A particular highlight of the event was Rosella's encore, which brought a smile to my face as I heard the iconic sounds of The Charlatans' "The Only One I Know" mixed with Deep Purple's "Hush" in a fantastic cover performance by the band. The way the two classic songs blended together was truly impressive.
Rosellas definitely have a special ability to connect with their fans, and being back in their hometown must have been a particularly sweet moment for the lads. The night was truly exceptional, with all three bands delivering outstanding energy. In fact, I've been to stadium gigs with less energy from bands who have been around for over two decades! I am incredibly excited for the futures of these bands, and I highly recommend catching Rosellas live if you ever get the chance. This performance proved that they are destined for great things in the world of indie rock.
Before The Storm
Is It Any Wonder
The Same Curse
Feels Like Yesterday
Born Under A Cloud
The Only One I Know / Hush (Charlatans/ Deep Purple Cover)