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Tribes

H&M, Manchester Market Street Store, Thursday, April 18

Tom Martin/NME
Photo: Tom Martin/NME
The sight of Tribes setting up in a clothes shop to play to 250 fans whose love of rapscallion indie is matched only by their love of moshing alongside mannequins dressed in the latest festival-wear might seem a little strange given that the Camdenites are more famous for playing scuzzy house parties. But then again, why not? This is a band who are proudly indebted to The Libertines – and we shouldn’t forget that alongside the dog-eared poetry books that fell out of Pete Doherty’s pockets a decade ago was another staple of the scene: the guerilla gig. Razorlight on a truck. The Others on the London Underground. Art Brut inside a carton of milk (possibly). It’s easy to forget how much fun it is to shove a band under the spotlight in unique surroundings.

Placing tonight’s show in that context, it makes sense that Tribes are here, cranking out ‘Sappho’ while curious window-shoppers peer at the chaos and wonder whether to call the police. Manchester’s Market Street H&M has been given a thorough makeover, with an impressive sound system making the crowd feel so at ease that three songs in people are throwing themselves around with all the energy and vigour you’d expect at any traditional venue.

No-one quite goes so far as to grab the ample supplies of frilly bras stocked within arm’s reach to chuck at Johnny Lloyd and co (a missed opportunity), and though he admits “playing a gig in a shop is a bit weird”, by the time they reach new single ‘Dancehall’ he’s changed his tune, deciding that “actually, this is pretty fun”. Mixing the best of their debut ‘Baby’ with a smattering of new songs, including ‘How The Other Half Live’, by closer ‘Coming Of Age’ kids are strewn across the shop floor like ill-fitting changing-room try-ons – proving that rock’n’roll is all about passion, no matter which rack you hang on.

Alex Hoban


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