After finishing playing Shiiine On Weekender’s cruise to Amsterdam, Space Monkeys focused their attention on their return to Manchester and performing at Band on the Wall. Fellow Shiiine On Weekender act Deja Vu supported, alongside Scuttlers who opened the show.

Scuttlers, looking like a fresh faced indie band dressed to suit the scene, started the evening off with some fast paced guitar and a buzz about them in the venue. They started off well with an air of The Enemy about them and the first two songs went down well with the older crowd. After the opening few tracks people began to lose interest as, despite being relatively good songs, they all sounded very similar and the singers voice was hard to hear and didn’t captivate the audience who grew up in a much different music scene.

Expecting big things after their show on the cruise to Amsterdam people piled into the venue as Deja Vu began their set. The three-piece from Winsford didn’t live up the expectancy though and played a mediocre set which none of the audience really got involved with. Deja Vu had some good guitar riffs and catchy beats but the vocals didn’t suit their sound and seemed to be a pained shout rather than a melodic sound to match the instruments.

After a disappointing opening two acts Space Monkeys finally took to the stage launching yellow smiley face balloons into the crowd – a great idea for the first song but an annoying distraction by the third, and then for the rest of the show. They opened their set with a looped intro of “Acid House Killed Rock and Roll”, a fitting song to accompany the yellow smiley faces bouncing around the room, and got the party started from the beginning. With lots of energy in their music Space Monkeys showed that their sound is still as relevant and powerful today as it was back in the 1995 when they first formed.

Throughout their performance a projector displayed different film clips behind the band, including a rather strange cut from Planet of the Apes, which added to the nostalgic and hallucinogenic nature of the band. The Middleton born band knew their roots and what audience they were playing to and used it to their potential.

A surprising low of the evening was their biggest single “Sugarcane” which not many fans sang and danced along with. However the following song “Keep On Tripping On” made up for this as the whole room erupted and balloons started flying again. This proves that the audience weren’t just fans of their greatest hit like many bands from their generation are known for.

Space Monkeys reinforced what they told us when we met up with lead singer Richard McNevin-Duff last week and announced that they would have a new album coming out next year; as they are heading into the studio to record the new songs they have written.

Words: Stuart Daley