Live Review: Cowboyy // Castle Hotel, Manchester

Cowboyy are fresh from the release of their debut EP, Epic The Movie, a stellar mix of post punk and avant-garde released by Mancunian hit makers Nice Swan Records. The trio bring the noise to Manchester’s Castle Hotel on a sunny bank holiday, capping off a long weekend with a serious showing for their first-ever show in the city.

Locals Bleach Boy open the night with a superb set of loud-quiet noise rock – as the back room of the Northern Quater venue filled, Bleach Boy round off a fantastic showing with a more sensitive, synth-accompanied piece – one to watch for sure. Before long Cowboyy take to the stage, opening with their second single ‘Tennis’, the band blast through the cut with powerful intensity. Singer and lead guitarist, Stanley Powell plays like a man possessed – his right-handed guitar is hoisted around his neck and played upside down at a million miles an hour. Powell’s riffs on Epic The Movie are mazy and wandering, and see the frontman climbing up his fretboard with laser-like precision. The accompanying band are sharp, too, Kai Smith adds thunderous bass to the mix and Rhys Teal is a whirlwind of limbs on the drums, like black midi’s Morgan Simpson in a blue boiler suit.

Cowboyy don’t stick rigidly to their EP, playing three of their five released tracks. Everything else offered up by the band is almost otherworldly: they seriously push the envelope of avant-garde; playing driving and cacophonous long-form jams. Powell continually plays on the neck of his guitar, shredding like no one else in the scene. There are definite glimpses of 80’s power rock in the mix, as well as a hefty slice of Windmillcore bands like Squid and black midi – the whole thing comes together to fantastic effect, with effect pedals sending juddering feedback and wailing guitar lines directly into the ears of a sweaty Manchester crowd. It’s jazz-punk on a monumental scale.

Cowboyy have made waves and earned critical acclaim with their debut EP, but what they are pioneering next is unlike anything being created at the moment. Punk, prog, metal and jazz are all prevalent here, and whatever this band do next will surely be interesting, challenging and fantastic.

Author avatar
Charlie Brock

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