2018 was a big year for the independent music scene but 2019 is already looking bigger and better. Over the past year I have been to several gigs and watched plenty of bands. I have compiled my list of bands who i’m tipping for big things in 2019.


Jane Doe have had a great 2018, they released their debut EP ‘Controlling Behaviour’ in September and since then they have been on a roll. They have had some great gigs, they played a last minute slot for The Pentatonic at Jimmy’s back in October and blew us away. Since then they found themselves opening up for Dear Caroline at a SOLD OUT Deaf Institute in November! Jane Doe continue to build on the groundwork they achieved in 2018, they have already been announced to support Urban Theory at their huge hometown show at The Met, Bury on Friday 15th March! That is why they take the #10 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list!


In 2018 Delights released singles ‘Naked Heart’, ‘Jungle’ & ‘Sun Visor’ all of which have been very successful; their single ‘Jungle’ has had over 20,000 streams on Spotify! Delights took their ‘laid back easy going vibes’ on tour in November playing gigs all over the UK including their huge hometown headline gig at The Bread Shed on 1st December (some footage from this amazing gig can be found on the bands youtube channel). Delights are set to have a big 2019 having already announced their next Manchester date at Gullivers on Saturday 23rd February! We are delighted (pardon the pun) to give them the #9 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list!


I had heard about Narrow Margin from social media; they hadn’t released any music or had many gigs but there was a massive hype behind them. I went to see them play at Gorilla and was very impressed on how they came across on stage. I had a chat with them about potentially getting them on a gig, they told me how they had been a support band for over a year and felt it was time they had their own headline gig. We announced Narrow Margin at The Star And Garter, it sold out in a week, making it the first sell out gig for The Pentatonic! Narrow Margin were very professional when I was working with them and made the gig feel special. Since then they are under new management, and they have announced that they will be releasing their debut single ‘Oxford Street’ on 18th January. They have also landed themselves the main support slot for The K’s at Manchester Academy 2 on Friday 25th January, this is a gig you won’t want to miss! I am proud to give Narrow Margin the #8 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list!


Dear Caroline are one of the most exciting bands I have seen in 2018, the indie/alternative quartet have had a fast year rising to the top. They have released singles ‘Idle Tongue’ & ‘I Still Taste Blood’ which have both had over 5,000 streams on Spotify! Back in August they supported Ist Ist at the atmospheric St Phillips Church, the perfect venue for Dear Caroline to showcase their dark, poetic & almost haunting set. Their rise to the top finally sunk in when they headlined The Deaf Institute and sold it out! There is only one way Dear Caroline can go and that it up. I’m excited to see what they have in store for 2019 because it can only be bigger and better than what they achieved in 2018. That is why i have given the #7 spot on our ‘Big in 2019’ list to Dear Caroline!


What a year it has been for Freeda, they released 2 singles ‘Plug It In’ & ‘Go Home’. Not only did they release their first 2 singles; they had a single launch gig at Aatma, travelled to Paris to headline the famous Le Truskel Club, secured themselves a spot on the Dot To Dot Festival lineup, had a slot on the main stage of Cotton Clouds Festival and they finished 2018 with a huge set at the O2 Ritz for Scruff Of The Neck’s Years End Festival! We managed to catch Freeda’s headline worthy set when they played Gorilla with Narrow Margin, lead singer Sean Rowles had the audience in the palm of his hand – it was exciting to watch! We are not too sure what 2019 holds for Freeda, but one thing we do know is that we will be seeing and hearing a lot more of Freeda. They have just been announced to support Glass Caves at Manchester Academy 2 in February, that gig has potential sell out written all over it, so make sure you get your tickets before it’s too late! Their successful year is the reason why I have given them the #6 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list!


Carnival Club have already started 2019 with a brand new look and have announced their next hometown headline at The Star And Garter on Saturday 16th March! 2018 was a great year for Carnival Club they started off with announcing a UK tour to promote their EP ‘Nomad And Crooks’ which was released on March 16th. They headlined a packed out Bread Shed to close the tour. Carnival Club then announced they would be playing at Dot To Dot Festival which was well deserved after the hard work they had put in at the start of the year. They went on to play gigs and make a name for themselves all over the place including playing at Victoria Warehouse for The British Sound Project! Carnival Club finished 2018 releasing 2 live session videos which everyone has been talking about as they covered Ariana Grande’s ‘God Is A Women’ and debuted a brand new tune ‘Marble Eyes’. This was a great way to build some hype as they headed towards their final headline gig of 2018 at The Deaf Institute; they also chose Broke Casino to support who are on our management roster. The Deaf Institute gig was special as they debuted brand new material and also played some older fan favourites. Carnival Club are one of my favourite bands on the Manchester music scene at the moment, they are the nicest bunch of lads and everything they do seems fresh and i’m excited to hear their new material in 2019. That is why i have given the #5 spot in our ‘Big In 2019’ list to Carnival Club!


I had never heard of Red Rum Club before, never seen them live or listened to any of their music until they played a gig for The Pentatonic at Jimmy’s on a Sunday evening; this was the same week they signed with Modern Sky UK. It won’t be long until they are following in the footsteps of label mates The Blinders and The Slow Readers Club. They are now one of my favourite bands to come out of Liverpool. The Scouse Americana 6 piece have set the bar very high for 2019 as they have just released their debut album ‘Matador’. ‘Matador’ is now high up in the itunes charts and this is only what Red Rum Club deserve as all their hard work and determination has finally started to pay off. They are the band everyone is talking about, I have had their album on repeat everyday since it was released. They go on a headline UK tour in March; after they play a gig at Night & Day Cafe on Friday 25th January for This Feeling. It won’t be long until Red Rum Club are playing huge sell out shows and releasing more top class music! That is why I have given the #4 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list to the amazing Red Rum Club!


Saytr Play All Day! These boys are amazing, they always put 100% into their live shows, making them one of the most exciting bands to watch. They had a great 2018, with the release of their single ‘Fragile’. They decided they were going to take a step back and headline an intimate gig at The Star And Garter in August; I was lucky enough to get on the guestlist for this gig as it ended up selling out. I decided to get stuck in at the front, and it was such a fun gig to witness. Frontman Fred Farrell had had enough of the stage and decided he would attempt to crowdsurf! Not only did he accomplish this, but he also decided to climb on top of the speakers and jump into the crowd below. The band showed what they could do in front of the intimate crowd, this gig had a really special feel to it! Saytr Play have kicked the new year off with a bang, literally, their new single is called ‘Bang Average’ although it is much more than just Bang Average! The feedback from their new single has been insane with over 20,000 streams on Spotify in a week! ‘Bang Average’ has also been added to several Spotify playlists including ‘New Music Friday UK’, ‘The Indie List’ & ‘All New All Now’. It has also been featured on BBC Music Introducing & Radio X. This song is really going to give Saytr Play the push they need. They have announced their biggest Manchester headline to date as they play Gorilla on Friday 22nd February! Tickets are on sale now but I can’t imagine they will be for long! I am pleased to give the more than ‘Bang Average’ band Saytr Play the #3 spot in our ‘Big In 2019’ list!


It seems The Reytons have become big overnight, the 4 piece from Sheffield have been making a name for themselves all over the UK. They are massive in Sheffield where they brought 2018 to a close with a sellout hometown gig at the iconic Leadmill, videos from this gig can be found on the bands social media pages and they just show how incredible the atmosphere was that night. People have compared The Reytons to the modern day Arctic Monkeys, because the rise of The Reytons is somewhat similar to the rise of the Arctic Monkeys back in the day. In 2018 they released their 3rd EP ‘Alcopops & Charity Shops’ which doesn’t contain a bad song! Their song ‘Harrison Lesser’ that featured on the EP has have over 90,000 streams on Spotify which contributed to 500,000 streams in total in 2018! They have kicked off the new year by releasing their first single on 2019 ‘Canine’. They have also announced a UK tour playing Liverpool, Doncaster, Newcastle, Leeds & Manchester. 2019 is set to be a huge year for The Reytons as then continue to build on the momentum they have spent the past year building! That is why I have chosen The Reytons to take the #2 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list!


So finally we get to our #1 position in our ‘Big In 2019’ list, it was a tough choice on who to pick, but Sly Antics are a true stand out! They started 2018 with the release of their single ‘Sunday Fear’ with a music video which starred ‘Line Of Duty’, ‘Misfits’ & ‘Black Mirror’ actor Craig Parkinson. Sunday Fear has had over 25,000 streams on Spotify! Sly Antics went on to play their first headline of 2018 at The Bread Shed, this felt like a turning point for the band, they had ditched the shorts and played brand new music. The crowd were fixated with what was happening on stage. Sly Antics left the stage with the fans chanting for more! A few weeks later they landed a support slot with Oddity Road at a sold out Deaf Institute. You could tell the band were enjoying this gig as they could see the young crowd bouncing up and down! This gig was a possible highlight for the band as they had a glimpse of what they had to come. The lads then went on to support Fun Lovin’ Criminals at Warrington Music Festival in May, it was great to see Sly Antics playing a big stage in front of a big crowd. Sly Antics released their 2nd single of 2018 ‘Bin Juice’ and had a single launch gig at a packed out Night People in Manchester, they even had a crack fox serving Bin Juice at the side of the stage! Sly Antics played many festivals in 2018 including Tramlines, Kendal Calling & Neighbourhood Festival which they continued to build their ongrowing fanbase. Sly Antics ended 2018 with an intimate headline gig at The Star And Garter in December. As the fans were warming up they started to notice something was different, Sly Antics were now a two piece! Sam & Lee tore the roof of the iconic venue with their brand new set including new material and their atmospheric custom light show. The fans left with the upmost respect for the all new Sly Antics as they showed how well they could adapt as a 2 piece.

Sly Antics are heading towards what could be their biggest year as a band. As they have a new image, new tunes & more incredible gigs lined up! We are not 100% sure what lies in store for the ‘alternative 2 piece’ but we do know this is bound to be a huge year for them! Sly Antics have accomplished so much in such little time and they are already one step ahead in there rise to the top of the independent music scene music scene. I am proud to award the #1 spot on our ‘Big In 2019’ list to Sly Antics who are the ones to watch in 2019!

Written by: James Thomas

Photo by: Stuart Daley