Hot Milk’s homecoming show felt like the O2 Ritz was hosting a party from start to finish. Packed to the gills with youthful energy and love, soundtracked by the most exciting take on punk/pop rock to be heard in recent times.
“Dirty Southerner” Clarence (his words, not ours) was playing his first-ever Manchester show to open proceedings and he lit the fuse for what was to come with an energetic set that saw him spend the majority of the first three songs tearing up and down the photo pit. He returned to the stage for a handful of songs before disappearing completely into the audience at the end.
Next up was Jools, who sounded angrier. Apparently, they’d had the week from hell leading up to this show, but seemingly once the lights went down, they forgot about all that and stormed through a set of dirty, dirgy and above all noisy sonnets delivered with the urgency of Idles and underpinned with a touch of the sound of The Pixies. Brilliant, theatrical, and incredibly hard to take your eyes off.
Alternative rockers As December Falls have been around for a while and seem to have their own army of fans in attendance. Enough it seemed to have been able to headline this show on their own. They delivered a highly energetic barrage of bangers with Ande and Will on guitars whirling about the stage like Tasmanian devils while Bethany held court at the lip of the stage engaging with the fans in the front rows.
Hometown heroes Hot Milk’s ascension is guaranteed if their live shows are anything to go by.
Live, they are a four-piece with the rhythm section anchored at the back of the stage allowing the two huge personalities of founders Jim and Han to devour the stage with their energy. Of the two it’s Han who makes the most use of the space tearing around with enough energy to fuel the city for a week.
There are some stars who are “created” or formed into stars and then there are the likes of Lemmy, Joan Jett and Liam Gallagher to name a few, that are obviously just born to be rock stars. Han Mee is one of those, and she’s an absolute wonder to watch through the show. She is also equipped with the self-deprecating wit most residents of her adopted home city Manchester are born with, which makes for hilarious between-song banter.
With a hint to the future sound of what will become their debut album, they turned up the heat and unleashed a track with all the pop-punk venom they’re known for, but with the added breakdown of what sounded like The Prodigy at their guitar-driven heaviest, and it sounded like perfection.
This show set the bar extremely high for 2023 and may take some beating when it comes to gigs of the year time. Discovering a couple of exciting new acts and seeing a band on the cusp of greatness is never bad. Normally Hot Milk before bedtime makes you sleepy but the buzz of this show will take a while to wear off.