This is the 3rd time I’ve seen Millie Manders & The Shut Up in less than 12 months. From opening for Less Than Jake, kicking off the R-Fest outdoor stage at last summer’s Rebellion Festival and now the legendary indie venue, The Star & Garter in Manchester. Or “Mandchester” as my yellow wristband proclaims!
Tonight’s gig is sold out, rearranged from last winter, and it’s a very early show, with doors at 4pm. In fact I’m back home in doors by 9pm!
First up is Potteries folk/punker Sally Pepper, who regales the early comers with a fine set of spiky political songs, with both big and little Ps.
Sheffield’s Air Drawn Dagger, a name taken from Macbeth, describe themselves as an Electronic, Punky, Angst-Pop collective and singer Maisie could well be the green answer to the current energy crisis, if we could find a way of harnessing her energy to the National Grid. They generate a big sound with just guitar and drums, but Maisie’s voice is an instrument in itself. They go down very well with the swelling crowd, and Millie herself watches the whole set from front of house. If they’re on a bill near you, get there early and treat yourself.
Millie Manders & The Shut Up are massive favourites here at Backseat Mafia. Starting out as solo artist over 10 years ago, and expanding into the current line-up barely 4 years ago, Millie has come along way, but still remains as down to earth and approachable as when first starting out.
This is a very tight set, comprising as it does of the whole of 2020’s “Telling Truths, Breaking Days” LP, with an airing of a brand new song, the current single “Rebound” and last years singalong crowd pleaser “Sweet Melody”.
Millie switches seamlessly between saxophone and guitar, and when the song doesn’t require her to play, she bounces around the stage like the proverbial Tigger, a grin wider than the North/South divide plastered across her face. It doesn’t seem to matter what size the venue is, Millie has a way of communicating to you whether you’re front row or stuffed somewhere at the back. She connects and connects well, judging by the people who suddenly seem to have something in their eye as the last strains of “Not Ok” fade away, a song about mental health, a subject that Millie returns to throughout her lyrics. See “Here We Ago Again (Black Dog)”.
There’s not a duff song in their set, I honestly don’t believe they could write one. What you get is a glorious mix of punk, ska, metal and power pop, searing guitar, pounding drums, bubbly bass and infectious brass, topped off with Millie’s powerful but playful delivery.
I firmly believe that if they came from California, they’d be taken much more seriously in the UK. However, with some major appearances coming up this summer, including Slam Dunk, Bearded Theory and a return to Rebellion Festival, this could be about to change.
You can catch them in April as they head out on tour again. Thanks to Ian Cheek PR for getting us in!!!
Sun 09 MANCHESTER Punk Festival
Wed 12 BOURNEMOUTH Anvil
Thu 13 LONDON 100 Club
Fri 14 MILTON KEYNES MK11
Wed 19 YORK Crescent
Thu 20 SETTLE Victoria Hall
Fri 21 LEICESTER Musician
Sat 22 BOSTON Dogfest
Tickets available from: https://millie-manders.com/
New single “Rebound” is out now on all streaming platforms.
Check out the video here