Live Review: Normandie, William Ryan Key & Grumble Bee - Sound Control, Manchester 13/12/2017

Manchester’s Sound Control, a venue which is unfortunately closing down soon was the bittersweet place for Normandie and William Ryan Key (Of Yellowcard) to bring their EU/UK tour to Manchester with support from Grumble Bee.

Grumble Bee was the first act of the night, who is an acoustic singer/songwriter who plays both acoustic sets and full band performances also. On the night we were treated to an acoustic set which is in my opinion his better sound. Playing songs such as ‘Red’, ‘Bravest Soul’ and ‘HCADC’ the young artist had a great set. Unfortunately as he was the first support, the room wasn’t as full as I would like to see for such a talented performer but nonetheless he made the most of his performance.

Grumble Bee - Manchester Sound Control - 13.12.17

The second act of the night who is co-headlining the tour was William Ryan Key. William was the lead singer of pop punk legends ‘Yellowcard’ who recently split earlier this year and I was really interested to see what he had been working on since the separation. The cheers from the crowd as William entered the stage and the amount of ‘Yellowcard’ t-shirts around the room proved William had a strong following to kick start his solo career. William started the performance by indicating that it wasn't going to be what we expected, “I don’t have an acoustic guitar playing my old Yellowcard songs, that would be unoriginal”. Instead with his electric guitar he completely re-wrote old Yellowcard songs making them sound fresh and up to date. The vibe was electric-funk, something I certainly didn’t expect him to sound like, however it certainly worked well from the very first song. Playing songs ‘Lights and Sounds’, ‘Only One’, ‘Southern Air’ & ‘California’ the set was full of Yellowcard hits with the whole crowd singing along to every song. The only song that William performed which wasn’t a Yellowcard song was called ‘Live on’ an upcoming song on the latest ‘Like Torches’ record which William has been co-writing. The song was a tribute to Chester Bennington and was written after William performed at the Linkin Park’ memorial show for Chester, This song is certainly one to watch out for when ‘Like Torches’ release it. William then played a song I didn’t expect to hear and one of my all time favourite Yellowcard songs ‘Keeper’ which in my opinion is such an underrated song and one William made even better with his updated fresh sound, making it the best song of the night by a long shot. William closed a great set with a song we all could have guessed ‘Ocean Avenue’ this being a fan favourite got huge cheers and everyone singing along with the first note played. Overall this was a great performance from William and here at When The Horn Blows we are very excited to see what’s to come from him and we will be watching his journey as a solo artist very closely.

William Ryan Key - Manchester Sound Control - 13.12.17

Time for Normandie, a swedish four piece rock band. Fairly new to the scene we were excited to catch them perform early on in their career to see what they were capable of. The swedish quartet didn’t disappoint, bursting onto stage with great energy. Opening up with ‘Fight’ and ‘Awakening’ of off their fantastic 2016 debut album ‘Inguz’, the latter being one of the more popular hits. This was a great way to set up the tempo of the night with the crowd, With them thriving of off the bands energy, moving and singing along with the upbeat sound, I knew the crowd were going to show Normandie why Manchester is one of the best cities to play in in the UK. Continuing with songs from ‘Inguz’ I was rather disappointed that they didn’t play anything from their first EP as this has a much heavier sound, a sound I personally prefer from the band. This could be down to the fact that the band lost their screamer since the release of this EP, that said I know Normandie are striving for the heavier sound and with a new album hopefully on the horizon I hope we will see this come across with their next instalment.

Normandie - Manchester Sound Control - 13.12.17

Continuing on with the rest of the set they played my favourite song ‘Loop Hole’ which is one of their heavier tracks from ‘Inguz’ which is why this is was my favourite track of the night. They then played their new single ‘Pay For This’ a song I do really like and one that is really good performed live, however I don't like the direction this could lead the band as I feel this is a softer side of the band, for me the song lacks that oomph we usually get from Normandie. The boys closed the set with their biggest hit ‘Collide’ which set the roof off the venue, everyone was in full voice for this one, a great way to end a great night. Overall this was a great night from the swedish four and we can’t wait to hear what's to come next from the boys and to hear them on their next outing in the UK, here’s to a great 2018 for Normandie.

Review by Joe Mellor and Photography by Jessie Jones