Bayboards kicked off this year with the release of their EP, Modern Age Disaster, in March, and things are only looking up for the Manchester-based band. On the 28th of April, I had the pleasure of seeing their biggest headline show, presented by Scruff of the Neck at the iconic and newly refurbished Manchester, venue, Band on the Wall. I went into this without knowing what to expect and it was probably one of the best indie concerts I’ve attended to date!
Upon entering the venue, the familiar buzz of the concert atmosphere hit like a refreshing wave of nostalgia. A small table, only just visible in the dim room displayed items of merchandise such as tote bags, shirts and sunglasses inscribed with the Bayboards logo, along with physical copies of their EP on vinyl, CD and cassette. I have no control when I see tote bags so I had no choice but to get one, and I must say that the quality is immaculate. 10/10 would recommend it.
The first opening act, T-Bloc, hailing from Bolton, describe themselves as a ‘post punk/indie rock’ band and they were the perfect fit to open for Bayboards. The main singer, who had a very Matty Healy-esque charisma, along with the rest of the band members gave an excellent performance that ensured the audience was awake and ready to party for the night ahead.
Also opening was the indie band Uno Mas, who ensured that the crowd was hyped up for the main act. As well as their good vibes and massive stage presence, frontman Olly ensured everyone was entertained with his jokes and humorous persona. Every person in Uno Mas had a great stage presence and was so clearly passionate about their music which was refreshing to see.
The one thing I wasn’t expecting to see at a Bayboards gig was the amount of Joshua Bassett lookalikes in one room. So get yourselves down to a Bayboards concert if you want to experience that! We took it upon ourselves to see how many we could spot before the anticipation of the lads taking to the stage.
The Manchester-based trio consisting of Ben, Javan, and Will paraded onto the stage in their iconic white suits, now splattered with various shades of paint as debuted in their music video for Mean Girls, opened their headline gig with, Ghosts, the first track from their EP Modern Age Disaster. The song itself has an eerie kind of backing track created by a loop pedal, which band member Will skillfully uses when they perform live as well. Throughout the night, photographers Liam (@liammaxwellphotos), Matt (@matt_eyre_films), Holly (@holdoesphotos) and Lewis (@bylewisholland) were in and out of the crowd as well as up in the balcony to get shots of the band at the iconic venue.
There were a few technical difficulties after the first song as the drummer, Javan, couldn’t hear anything but this was soon sorted, and frontman Ben kept the crowd entertained until the show was resumed hastily. Javan also halted the performance prior to one of their songs to take his BeReal which was quite comical and made the performance more authentic as I’m sure we’re all aware of the hype of ensuring you get a creative BeReal. During the track Fire and Air, friend of the band and featured actor in the music video, Bart Ashby, who also designed the cover art for the EP, joined them onstage whilst a mosh pit formed in the crowd. Ben also joined the audience to experience the mosh himself!
The band were eager to get back on stage prior to the encore, they had hardly left when they came strutting back on to play their last song of the night, Gold, which is one of their pre-pandemic tunes.
The Band on the Wall performance was their last together as a trio. In early April, Will announced that he would be departing from the band due to personal commitments, meaning that this gig would be his last in Bayboards.
The bands engagement with their fans is remarkable, which is reassuring that they won’t end up in the same category as stuck up elitist artists. Post gig they stood at the merch table signing copies of their CDs, vinyls and cassettes before heading to Manchester nightclub 42s for their after party to celebrate such a successful night.
If you get the chance to see these guys live, 100% do. Their stage presence and performance are absolutely incredible and they are not ones to miss!