Native Kings were a somewhat unusual choice as first support for Thomas Cohen, having stepped in to replace Blueprint Blue who had originally been set to play, and who had been the opening support for Cohen's previous tour dates. The Liverpool alt rock trio's Cameron Warren provided vocals and repetitive guitar, supported by David Knowles on bass and Scott Harold on drums. Closing with their latest single The Sound of Victory, their sound was evocative of a less polished You Me At Six circa 2010. Following on from Native Kings was local band Blooms, playing songs such as Waves and their upcoming single Porcelain. The highlight of their set had to be the atmospheric and dreamy shoegaze-esque guitar echoes which were consistent throughout, this in combination with Matthew Adams' vocals (left untouched by reverb, which you couldn't be blamed for expecting) created an interesting sound which was genuinely enjoyable.
"If there is anyone who is writing a review here, I have your opening line for you: 'Friendliest psychopath in the music industry'" - this statement highlights one thing which is hard to miss, Cohen has undeniable stage presence. Former frontman of S.C.U.M, this is Cohen's first UK tour of his debut album Bloom Forever and the conclusive date in Manchester saw him perform songs such as Honeymoon, Hazy Shades and even cover Patti Smith's Pissing In A River.
Throughout the set Cohen looked the part as he danced around the stage barefoot wearing a white suit and a t-shirt showing the American flag as his distinctive vocals filled the room to the brim, whether it was in tandem with a crescendo of strong guitar riffs during his more upbeat songs, or when his voice gently melted into the backing vocals during more harrowing songs such as Country Home. It is hard to ignore the influence that the death of Cohen's late wife Peaches Geldof has had on many of the lyrics of his songs, and this melancholy was clearly felt by many in the crowd, including one fan who described the set as like 'being punched in the soul, in a good way' to Cohen after his set. The overall atmosphere of the gig, however, was one that left you feeling energised.
Words: Kate Hockey