SHADE’s Biggest Show to Date at Deaf Institute

Navigating their way through a dynamic, competitive music scene in Manchester, SHADE have successfully rallied quite a following over the past couple of years. Securing the fifth spot on the iTunes alternative charts for their 2021 single ‘Fallen Skies’ and having sold out several recent, headline shows, I was eager to witness the up-and-coming band at Manchester’s Deaf Institute on Saturday 12 March. After a warm welcome from the faultless, Halifax-based duo The Hazy Janes and another from London’s own The Great Leslie, the crowd were certainly enlivened and ready for action.

Strutting on stage to ‘Freed From Desire’, the four lads were clearly buzzing for their biggest show to date. It’s a shame this enthusiasm became lost at times, as I noticed that in the photos I was capturing of the group, all were looking down. This can be excused for guitarist Macca though, who pulled through on every song with clean, chorussy riffs that were evidently a testament to the styles of Johnny Marr and John Squire. His solos were unique in their own style, however, and were the standout element to many of SHADE’s tunes. Macca was a mysterious, nonchalant character on stage in who’s hands the audience felt safe and reassured. His talent was a continuous asset that brought togetherness to the performance as a whole.

The group pulled an impressive crowd who supportively sung along to several tunes. Fan favourites were definitely ‘Jump Into Heaven’ and ‘Neverdie’. ‘Illusive Dreams’, the band’s newest tune, was a successful offering that was clearly well rehearsed and was passionately delivered. Frontman Luke Owens’ vocals shone on this one, and had you hooked at the catchy chorus. Released on February 18th, the track can be streamed on Spotify and has admittedly made its way onto my own speakers several times since the gig.

Classic northern legends such as The Stone Roses, Oasis and The Smiths carved an indelible legacy on the music industry, and by no means made themselves easily surpassable. While the band are rightfully heavily influenced by their iconic predecessors, there is a worry of SHADE’s own sound becoming lost in another act’s inimitable style, for example overuse of the whammy on some tracks. In moments where the group truly relaxed on stage, though, their own personalities shone. It was easy to see in these moments why so many have fallen in love with the cheeky lads and the clear friendship between them. The further the gig progressed, the more enthusiastic the group became, and it was wholesome to see them so elated at the end of the show while the audience continued singing the chorus of ‘Neverdie’ after the band had stopped playing.

SHADE’s sound is invigorating, and for their biggest show yet, they made a damn good effort. SHADE will be performing at SoundSounds festival in Southport this April and at FOCUS Wales in May. It will be exciting to see the band thrive after another year of live shows.

Published by Olivia Dennison

Third year English student & creative based in Manchester.

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