In Pictures: Stay Fresh Fest at The Deaf Institute

Gallery by Jess Hardiman | 28 Sep 2016

Manchester's Deaf Institute hosted its first Stay Fresh Fest in September, with some of the most exciting bands in the North on the bill.

The Skinny teamed up with The Deaf Institute last Saturday for the inaugural Stay Fresh Fest, a two-floor festival of rising bands from the UK. We were knocking about giving out free tote bags to the earlybirds, before we grabbed a pint of ShinDigger and got stuck in to Cowtown, Francis Lung, Ethan and The Reformation, Kyotoya, Peaness, Shaking Chains, Catholic Action, and an undeniable highlight in the form of Pink Kink.

First up were Peaness, an effervescent indie-pop trio from Chester who ably set the tone for the afternoon with their fun, upbeat hooks and lyrical prowess – and a strong merch stand to boot.

We also caught Ethan and The Reformation in all their Paisley-clad glory, bringing their set to a close with an epic psychedelic jam, before shoegazey post-punk lot Kyotoya laid some firm foundations for a promising future in what was the Deaf Institute’s very first gig in the main bar – musing, “Wonder if this’ll go down in the history books?”

It certainly deserves to, as the band brought riff after riff after riff with confidence – and we fast became firm advocates for the space as an intimate gig hole, and for the rising Manchester quartet themselves.

Back upstairs it was the turn of Glaswegian glam-rock troupe Catholic Action, led by Casual Sex’s Chris McCrory, followed by local heads Shaking Chains; while down in the bar, Liverpool’s up-and-coming Pink Kink were winning hearts with their Manchester debut. Their high-octane electro, post-punk, jazz, rock and pop-infused sound brought the Deaf to life in a flurry of glitter, rainbow leotards and bunting. Definitely believe the hype.

Francis Lung took to the stage with a full live band, giving a rousing performance to close the main bar stage, after which Leeds-based post-punk outfit Cowtown did the rites upstairs. Despite having taken on the behemoth that is Liverpool Psych Fest the night before, they were on fine form, giving the festival an impressive climax and showcasing new stuff that's packed with spiked staccato guitar lines and relentless, sweaty drums.

You can relive the evening and check out what photographer Jack Kirwin caught of the night above.

Meanwhile, we're already hyped for round two of Stay Fresh Fest next year… Watch this space.