There’s a lot going on in Manchester tonight – out towards the Trafford centre, the Bowlers Exhibition Centre is hosting A Night Of Salvation, the now traditional warm up event for Damnation Festival, making its full B.E.C bow the following day. The Apollo is the place to go for THE AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD show whilst, just up the road from the Student’s Union, FOZZY are playing one of their biggest shows to date at the Academy. Inside the Union itself, all three rooms –Academy 2, Club Academy and Academy 3 – are offering live music and all manner of individuals are floating about, making for a great atmosphere. It’s the largest of this trio which is of interest here, as CARPENTER BRUT, the synthwave alias of Frenchman Franck Hueso begins the first of three dates on these shores in support of colossal new record Leather Terror; for all that’s going on, it seems this is the hottest ticket in town with the show sold out and many throughout the day looking for a way to gain entry.

The warm up is SIERRA, hailing from Paris and providing a different take on the synthwave genre, at least in a live setting, that many would be used to. An electronic producer by trade, she has a sample pad on one side, a laptop/keyboard setup the other and microphone in the centre, and her set blends the loops and beats that synthwave is very much associated with – alongside a hefty dose of Sehnsucht-era RAMMSTEIN – with the delivery of a DJ set; despite there being very distinct movements, there are no breaks between her tracks, instead segueing one song into the other with such ease that she might as well be at an alternative club somewhere tropical, not a university hall on a rainy night in Northern England. The longer she plays, the more impressive she gets, getting the crowd hyped and backed by a small but impressive light show that merely adds to the whole experience. There’s something so awe-inspiring watching one musician put on a performance as fluid as this, and it would be no surprise if SIERRA returned here for her own headline run; she’s made a lot of friends.
Rating: 8/10
With Chris Jericho and co next door, CARPENTER BRUT is forced to adapt to the stage confines of Academy 2 more than other venues, which means that Hueso performs without his customary digital screens adorning the back wall. It’s something so associated with his shows that there’s an early feeling that it could harm the entire gig, but this is not the CARPENTER BRUT of before; there is a new animal inside Hueso, one that is transitioning from a mere musician to a bonafide artist. When he toured previous record Leather Teeth, the images of the B-movie slasher flick music videos and karaoke lyrics were integral to hiding his identity; he was on the side of the stage, allowing the visuals to entertain the fans while he concentrated on his songs. This time, however, Hueso is front and centre, no longer trying to conceal his face and embracing the adoration his audience is giving him. Along with a stupendous light show and a killer setlist that spans his entire career, the fact he’s performing without screens is immaterial; this is a heavy metal rave for the ages.
It takes all of three songs for a pit to open up – specifically to Widow Maker – but it’s follow up track Roller Mobster that sets the place alight and shows that, for all CARPENTER BRUT has exploded into the limelight in recent years, the songs from his TRILOGY series are still very much beloved; the audience singing the main synth hook back is testament enough. Day Stalker and Night Prowler are appropriately played back to back, the lighting going from white to red on a sixpence in a beautiful moment of timing and scene setting, whilst both Lipstick Masquerade and Disco Zombi Italia provide more feel-good party vibes to an audience now hanging on every note.
Imaginary Fire, which features Greg Puciato, has suitably red and orange floods to take Manchester on a journey through hell and, in a lovely booked to earlier, Turbo Killer matches the energy of its TRILOGY counterpart with a goddamn Wall of Death splitting the Academy audience straight down the middle. Then, of course, there’s Maniac, the MICHAEL SEMBELLO cover that has closed every CARPENTER BRUT set for years, delivering one final moment of sheer ecstasy before nearly a thousand people shuffle off into the evening rain. If you ever needed proof that CARPENTER BRUT can deliver without certain stage elements, this was more than enough.
Rating: 9/10
Check out our photo gallery from the night’s action in Manchester from Sarah Sidwell here: 
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We here at Distorted Sound are delighted to premiere the brand new album from COLLAPSE CULTURE!

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