Turning the Deaf Institute into a climbing frame - October Drift live in Manchester!
Somerset Grunge outfit October Drift set a precedent with their debut album 'Forever Whatever' back in 2020 and became well known for their infectious melodies hidden underneath a dense wall of distortion. Now, they are gearing up for their second record 'I Don't Belong Anywhere' which is set for release on September 23rd this year. You can hear us talking with their lead singer Kiran Roy about their new record including their latest single 'Insects' on our new 'Venue Of The Month' podcast. To sample the live sound of their new music we headed down to The Deaf Institute, our March venue of the month, to watch them in action.
When you open your set by blasting 'Born Slippy' through the speakers into a packed out crowd you know that it's not going to be a quite one. In fact, this track, although not similar in style to their own, perfectly reflected the drama of the performance that was about to unfold.
What instantly stood out was the on-stage energy of the band. As they sailed through the gritty anthems of their first record each member was bouncing around the stage, crashing down onto the stage floor with all the force of their huge riffs. However, it wasn't simply a manic frenzied affair, it was a cohesive physical performance as Kiran, Alex and Daniel all leapt and landed together, flicking their thick Grungey locks in every direction. This kind of energy elevated the force of each and every track and you could genuinely feel the gritty sonic storm pouring out of every band member.
However, these antics were by no means confined to the stage. Kiran used every inch of the venue to create an immersive experience. From strutting across the bar to crowd surfing, he quickly dissolved the usual performer/audience dynamic, moving around the space at one with the crowd. He then turned The Deaf Institute into a climbing frame, tentatively scaling along the raised viewing platform above the main floor space. As he hung off the railings you could see members of the crowd constantly turning heads, unsure where to focus their attention. It can't be overstated what this adds to a performance. Just the simple alteration of having things happen all around you rather than just in front makes the show so much more engaging and Kiran led the performative charge with an impressive charisma.
Their debut album's title track 'Forever Whatever' was a standout. After the crowd opened up the song with an intimate vocal back and forth with Kiran, the band jumped into the poignant chorus filled with raw passion. Among all the gritty Grunge sounds there is a really uplifting melody lying underneath. In the live setting this melody felt elevated, resonating strongly as the crowd sang back the chorus.
The highlight of the main set was probably their newest single 'Insects'. Although it may not have been as well known by the audience, having only been out for a month or so, the strength of the track more than compensated for this. It carried the same high energy and bittersweet tones as songs from the first album however the balance between instrumentation and the vocals had a notable difference. Instead of the melody acting as the diamond in the rough, lying beneath the heavy instrumentation, it really comes to the forefront on this track. It was the biggest chorus of the night, providing the perfect moment for both moshers and sing-a-long fans to indulge in an infectious barrage of melodic grunge energy. By combining all the grittiness of the heavy riffs and smashing drums with the catchy vocal line that teeters between gravelly and harmonic tones, they created the ideal concoction to get every member of that crowd fired up.
After the dust had settled following an electrifying main set, there was just time for one blissful finalé. Kiran re-emerged and came into the centre of the crowd for an intimate, heartfelt rendition of 'Like The Snow We Fall'. As everyone huddled together and sang along in a deep and resonant tone the room became hugely emotional. The song itself is very stirring yet the quiet optimism and beautiful togetherness created by everyone singing as one made a really poignant finish to a night that had it all!
Head to https://www.octoberdrift.com/ to book tickets to the remainder of their tour and pre-order their new album!