It’s a busy night at the Academys in Manchester tonight with Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra playing the big Academy 1 building and a couple of goons playing Disney hits downstairs to a packed-out Academy 2, but the real action is upstairs in Academy 3 with “electro-pop princess” Cassyette playing a sold-out show as part of her Sad Girl Summer tour – and those who know what’s happening are all in the room to witness it.
First up is Kid Bookie, an instantly likeable character who oozes personality and energy, whether it’s his cheeky stage banter, his vicious attacks on his guitar (which he is apparently notorious for breaking every night) or his rapid-fire lyric delivery. The show is an equal mix of Bodycount heavy energy and Tech N9ne style rapping with a cracking version of Radiohead’s “Creep” thrown in for good measure.
He’s one of those performers that leaves it all on stage and ends the set with a bloody fist from punching the stage monitor repeatedly, before jumping into the crowd to rile them up even more. He said to me after his set that “You’ve got to die on that stage” and had his set not already made me a fan that comment would have.
The stage is cleared for the arrival of Cassyette who, thanks to a fair bit of radio play, some killer summer shows and shout-outs from people like Nova Twins, has been on the radar for a while and has built up a huge buzz around her shows.
As she bounds onto the stage to a cacophony of noise she looks as excited to be here playing Manchester (for only the third time ever) as her fans are to welcome her. Launching into “Picture Perfect” and “Dear Goth” the energy levels in the room were insane. Inviting a fan onto stage to sing “Behind Closed Doors” you can see the relationship she has between her and her fans means so much to both sides.
The whole set only clocks in at around 45 minutes so as it seemingly passes by in a flash the pure adrenaline drive that the music gives you makes ensures nobody feels short-changed. It’s not perfect, later in the set, there are some shouty moments where the tuning gets lost in favour of the expelling of energy, but who wants ‘perfect’ music – especially in a live setting? Perfect is sterile and has no soul – this show is the complete opposite of that.
The night came to a close with a fantastic “Petrichor” which had to be stopped halfway through so Cassyette could check on the safety of a fan who looked to be injured in the pit (she was ok, thankfully) before the brilliantly titled “Prison Pocket” became an unnerving remix with the Academy’s fire alarm going off throughout and, nobody being sure whether they should stay to the end or get the hell out of the building, it was a surreal end to a brilliant show. If Cassyette isn’t already on your radar, she should be.