I had high expectations for the Friday’s Magnum Cum Laude event at Manilla Bar for the following reasons:
1. The last time I frequented Manilla was on Christmas and, after doing some of the worst drunk texting of my life, I felt like it was necessary to return and redeem myself.
2. I had never seen Christian Tiger School live and I had only ever heard good things.
3. I am a fan of everything David Thorpe touches.
I decided to bring my most electronic music savvy friend, Morgan, along for the show and after the R4 shot special at Gandalfs (don’t judge, we’re students goddamit) we were ready to head to Manilla Bar.
We were greeted by the sounds of Sakawa Boys upon our arrival. I had heard mixed opinions about this band, but I enjoyed their performance. Frontman John Seth did a stellar job at keeping the crowd entertained with little anecdotes – explaining to us how one song was about being in love with someone, but there’s a side of them that you’re scared of and don’t really know how to deal with. Because don’t we all know the feeling? I especially loved the song which Seth described as not having a name but “being sick as fuck”. The band looked like they were enjoying themselves throughout their set and I look forward to hearing how their live sound will translate into recorded material. Also, shout out to the guy who recorded the whole performance on his iPad.
Then Gateway Drugs took to the stage. I have seen snippets of their shows in the past, but this was the first time that I have managed to see one in its entirety. I cannot say that I was at all disappointed. David Thorpe is one of the most charismatic frontmen around and his dance moves add another element to the entertainment value of their performances. About halfway through the set I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to be anything but happy whilst watching Gateway Drugs live. I was thrilled to hear them play my favourite track, a cover of Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s ‘I’m Gonna Stop Loving You’. The crowd seemed equally as stoked as I was when the first notes of their latest single ‘Give Me Your Love’ became audible. If you’re looking for a night of pure fun and slightly cringe-worthy dancing then Gateway Drugs is an essential.
By this stage of the night Morgan and I had managed to sneak our way to the front where we impressively managed to remain for the whole of Christian Tiger School’s set. I was glad as we got to see their intricate magic first-hand as they played to a sea of happy faces, one belonging to Morgan who kept shouting “I LOVE THESE GUUUYS” over their hip-hop centric tracks. The duo’s tunes are extremely easy to listen to and have hints of psychedelic grooves mixed in for good measure.
By the time Damascus started the crowd had thinned out significantly. His visuals were interesting, but I didn’t stay for his whole set as because Morgan and I decided we wanted to mission home with our dignity more or less intact. Schoolboy 2, you did good.