• James Booton

Venue evacuation doesn't dampen the radiant Indie-Hop energy of Dylan Catlidge's Manchester show!

Ever since the release of Dylan Cartlidge's debut album 'Hope Above Adversity' (check out our review) back in July I have been desperate to see it live. It is a record that is truly reflective of his personality, bubbling with an infectious vibrant energy. So I headed down to one my favourite Manchester venues, YES basement, to see how it translated in the live setting. However, the night did not unfold as I, or in fact anyone, could have expected.


An emergency evacuation due to a gas leak at YES forced everyone onto the surrounding streets. The busy hum of the venue was replaced with the sound of sirens as two fire engines arrived rapidly to deal with the situation. Fans and artists alike milled around wondering what was going on and whether the show even would take place. Eventually it had to be called off...but just as his album title states, he and his band overcame adversity once again and arranged a last minute secret gig at the unassuming side street venue AATMA.


One quick trip across town and a couple of soundchecks later and Dylan was ready to go. He left the night's troubles behind and delivered an album showcase that brought a bright ray of sunshine into the dimly lit upstairs venue. 'Yellow Brick Road' opened the proceedings and provided the perfect introduction to anyone who was new to his music. His groovy basslines and slick vocal flows interjected by the crisp keyboard stabs built up a fun, carefree sound that emitted an audible joy around the room. As he switched from bass to keys from track to track his talent was there for all to see as he poured his funky persona into everything he played.



Yet, one thing that was interesting to me was that the tracks that stood out live weren't necessarily those that stand out the most on the record. 'Brown Bread' in particular made full use of his live line up with the two backing vocalists (one of which being Dylan's fiance) adding a really soulful flavour and helped give the most fleshed out performance of the night. The fullness of the performances was a minor concern I had before the show as it isn't often you see a lineup of just bass, keys, drums and vocals with no guitar or electro element over the top. Although at times it did feel relatively stripped back this only let the more subtle elements take the limelight, in particular Dylan's bass playing. Seeing him groove around the stage intertwining his vocal deliveries with his thick basslines injected a real personality into the set.


The best was saved till last a the uplifting banger 'Anything Could Happen' provided my highlight of the night. Again, the backing vocals offered a bright, feel-good backdrop while Dylan swayed around the stage singing the message of positivity across the room with a beaming smile on his face. He was then beckoned back on the stage for a truly unplanned encore and delivered the mazy high-energy number 'Cheerleader' that closed the show with a vocal flurry that got people on shoulders and rounded off a bizarre night in style.



Although the night didn't go how anyone would have wanted, it was a perfect advert for local live music as it united the community in a magical way that is hard to come by. It forced fans into the beautiful Lass O' Gowrie pub neighbouring YES that many may never have entered and then onto a backstreet venue that I don't think any would have stumbled across if it wasn't for the strange circumstances. The time spent waiting around allowed chance for fans and artists to mingle and shattered any power dynamic whilst the inevitably reduced crowd caused by the late start time only bred more intimacy. Quite fittingly it was a night of hope above adversity as what could have become a wasted miserable night in Manchester became a spontaneous and exciting night of music shared with a tightly knit audience that appreciated the infectious, smile-spreading hip-hop indulgence of Dylan Cartlidge more than ever!