JULY TALK is a Canadian alternative-rock band, currently touring the UK with their late 2016 album, Touch. They found themselves at Night and Day Cafe in Manchester as part of their tour. 

The album is only their second release since 2012, so the setlist for their Manchester gig features songs from across their career. With their cult fan-base and lead duo Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis, known for on-stage intensity, their shows are never going to be a relaxed affair.

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Support act Thumpers take to the stage

Night and Day Cafe in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a step down from their previous Victoria Warehouse gig, where they toured with indie sensation Catfish and the Bottlemen. Tonight, the small venue sells out, and those without tickets are turned away as the doors open. Colourful ‘Day of the Dead’ style streamers hang from the ceiling, leading up to the humble looking stage at the back of the room.

Unconventionally, the doors open later than usual, with the support act starting at 8:40pm. This adds to the audiences somewhat lukewarm response to the support act, Thumpers. With only two members, Thumpers is far more mellow than a July Talk audience is expecting. The songs do not carry the energy that July Talk brings to the stage, but the set is still enjoyable.

That is until the amusing moment when Fay and Dreimanis enter the stage with a birthday cake for singer Marcus Pepperel of the Thumpers duo. Dreimanis steps up to the mic, and with a rare smile reassures the crowd, “We’ll be back soon.”

True to his word, it is not long before July Talk finally takes the stage and the audience at Night and Day Cafe were in for quite the performance. The two singers are joined by guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton, and drummer Danny Miles. Wasting no time, they explode into their first song of the night: Lola and Joseph. While this isn’t one of their biggest hits, the crowd has waited a long time to hear it, and instantly the mass of bodies starts jumping to the beat.

To say Fay and Dreimanis are an electric pair is a huge understatement. They explode through their set with such chemistry it would make any other live performer jealous. Other hits of the night included July Talk staples such as Push + Pull, Beck + Call, and Paper Girl.

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Bloody gushes from Dreimanis’ nose

It is impossible not to mention the intensity of Dreimanis’ performance during the popular single Picturing Love, in which he obtains multiple nose bleeds. With blood smudged down his white shirt, he flashes a grin at the crowd, asking “How do I look?.” Leah contrasted Dreimanis’ grit with cutesy audience interaction, including handing out water to the moshing crowd, and asking a girl to come onto the stage to plait her hair.

The show ended all too soon, with an encore of one of their earliest releases, The Garden. The show ends with the band promising to “come have a drink with you guys!”

The crowd disperses, after a scramble to see who can grab Dreimanis’ bloody nose rag first. Fans return home covered in blood, sweat, and whiskey.

All pictures courtesy of Walrus Music.

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