No Strings Attached....
Puppet Rebellion, Dry Bar, Manchester
Did you know that walking with your hands on your hips is the equivalent to a light jog?
Nope, me neither. But Puppet Rebellion’s flyer says so, therefore I’m taking it as gospel and wondering why the frigging hell I don’t weigh 8 stone yet since I’ve been doing it constantly for the past fortnight. Maybe I should knock the takeaways on the head too…
Dubious yet humorous promotional material aside, this Manchester five piece have been making mildly sarcastic, hugely talented waves in the slightly jaded, overrun indie scene since their inception only ten months ago. Generic riffs and lacklustre beats, anyone? Not here. Puppet Rebellion have blasted their way onto the airwaves by making full use of social media - Twitter in particular - to interact, promote and build up a loyal following. I am proud to be one of them, and I have travelled to Manchester to finally see them live at Dry Bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a proper, moody, matt black paint and concrete floor joint full of friends, family, fans and Red Stripe. It’s a hell of an atmosphere and it’s set up perfectly for an asskicker of a homecoming gig.
As opening track The Greatest Lie Ever Told blazes the room into life, singer Simon stalks the stage with the innate confidence of someone that truly owns it, a catchy chorus of ‘we don’t need you, I don’t believe you’ is delivered with growling intensity and echoes round the crowd. There’s a bloke in front of me with his arms outstretched, bellowing along, loving it. This is a gutsy, in-your-face stomper of a song. It has echoes of indie in its purest form, that characteristic Mancunian sound of the 90s that I have long adored, but with new life breathed into it. I say breathed - kicked in the nuts and told to get a decent hairstyle and grow up would probably be more accurate. It is properly brilliant.
Next up is the live debut of new track Tame Imposter, another cracker with killer riffs aplenty and a hook reminiscent of Eton Rifles towards the end (maybe that’s just me, but there’s certainly no harm in channelling a bit of The Jam). Pirouette and Loner In Disguise follow in quick succession, keeping the crowd hyped and cheering loudly at the end of every song. There’s a lot of love for these lads in here, and it’s hard to believe they’ve been together for such a short amount of time. Their sound has a bedded-in feel, like they’ve honed and perfected these tracks for years and filled them with their personalities. I could try and make comparisons - bands like Editors, Bloc Party and Interpol spring to mind - but I don’t want to. They’re like all of them but none of them all at the same time, and that’s a bloody good quality to have.
The New Twenty was one of my most played tracks of the summer, and it will always remind me of the sunshine whenever I hear it. This ode to not just giving up and settling down when you reach 30 will never fail to make me smile, possibly because it reminds me of myself. Have a night round town and shake it all around like you were young again? Go on then…
Penultimate track Green Eyed Monster is setting us up for a stonker of a finale, we all know what’s coming - the title track of the band’s first EP, an industrial, thumping riot of a tune named Chemical Friends. As the crowd bounce, enjoying the last few minutes of what has been a remarkable set, the volume seems to be cranked up a notch, the lights look that little bit brighter and the atmosphere crackles. It’s been one hell of a gig, and it’s over way too soon. As the band exit the stage to rapturous applause they look ecstatic - and totally knackered. Time for a well-deserved after party!
You can follow Puppet Rebellion on all good social media outlets - Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, you name it they’re on it. is well worth a look, especially for the blogs - from Craig’s deep musings to Jim’s obsession with James Cameron films (‘why? Because fuck off, that’s why’. No way I‘m arguing with that). Next EP, No Means Yes, is released in February next year, when the band take over Manchester's Gullivers and no doubt raise the roof. See you there, yeah?