It’s been really hard to look forward to anything in these strangest of times with any great certainty.
But tonight is one gig that had been in the diary for a long old while, remaining thankfully untouched by cancellation or movement.
Since first hearing their debut single Taking You With Me early last year, Manchester-based (but not actually from there) Blanketman have been high on our radar, and our interest has been further piqued with each subsequent release, culminating in their recently released first EP, the 7-track National Trust.
Intelligent, humourous lyrics, as well as each track differing wildly musically with a hint of ’80s jangly pop running through them, they seem a lot more interesting than a big chunk of what’s currently emerging, leading to our excitement this evening.
But first there’s some mystery in the form of the support act.
Unbelievably, you may not realise this, but there is some prior research done for these reviews, but all the searches on social media and Google came with nothing on the subject of Dog Sport (except a few greyhound racing sites).
All we knew is that they are recently signed to the glorious roster of Eggy Records, and tonight is their live debut.
Looking nervous for the first few minutes, they let us know that they are usually a four-piece but down to three for tonight only.
Their second song reminds us of Fretwork Homework by HMHB (which is no bad thing), in fact a lot of the songs had a sprinkling of them with a talking rather than singing angle.
The highlight is the one where they heavily borrow the chorus from one of Talking Heads finest, and they close their set repeating the line, “I’m out of my depth”.
Suffice to say, they are nothing of the sort.
There’s lots of interesting stuff going on there, which will become ever more intriguing with subsequent outing.
Just time for another splendid pint of the house IPA before making our way down the front for Blanketman.
They are straight out of the blocks with Beach Body, the first (and by no means the last) banger of the evening, followed by the aforementioned debut.
But tonight is not only about the ones we can already sing along to, there’s new material on display as well.
Blanketman find a certain beauty in the minutiae of life, a case in point that one of the new songs seems to be about travelling by public transport.
Just before the excellent Dogs Die In Hot Cars, there’s a lovely moment where they praise Future Yard for looking after them so well, and we would second that, it’s such an excellent addition to our local roster of venues.
There’s further rousing new stuff interspersed within the older tracks, and it sounds so good that we end up having to Google the lyrics to make sure they are not doing covers, as it seems so rounded and fully formed even before it comes out.
We can only imagine how much the songs are going to be loved upon their release.
The set ends all too soon with a raucous Harold.
This is the feel good band of this summer and, judging by the new stuff, far into next year too.