Gig Review: Vukovi / ZAND – Manchester Academy 3 (13th October 2022)

ZAND (c) Charlotte Emily Photography

Arriving at Manchester Academy where there were three separate shows on a Thursday evening, it’s hard to even notice it’s raining as there’s definitely no spirits being dampened. The atmosphere is electric as we locate the correct entrance for our gig and climb the stairs to Academy 3.

First up on stage is the fantastic ZAND, with their gritty-dark popwave sound and darkly demonic aesthetic. Having previously been unfamiliar with their work, I’ll definitely be listening to them more. Making their way through their spooky set all while captivating the audience who couldn’t remove their eyes from ZAND’s quirky yet fun performance. Stage props, fluffy wings and between-song banter led to some impressive crowd engagement. As long as they never get too big for their boots, I can only see them getting more popular.

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Vukovi (c) Charlotte Emily Photography

Following on from their incredible support act, bouncy Scot-rockers Vukovi explode onto the stage. A whirlwind of energy and glitter amongst the strobing mayhem, mixing both older songs such as the high-octane pop-punk fuelled “La Di Da” and far heavier, darker songs such as “I EXIST” their setlist was perfect for veterans and newer fans of the band alike. Erratically swerving between the two combining them definitely had everyone up and moving and even found their way into creating a couple of pits for their heavier songs.

NULA, which was released earlier this month, was the focus of the set taking up a full half of the songs played. Thankfully Vukovi have a pretty dedicated fan base and it seemed like every one of them had already bought a copy (or streamed it to death) and knew every word of each of the seven songs plucked from it. I’d never say that Janine Shilstone’s vocals were drowned out, but the crowd certainly seemed to be trying their best at times!

As well as the pitting and surfing for the majority of the energetic set, the band gave everyone a breather with “I Am Sorry”. It does make for a change of pace when a ballad is played, and this one was welcome.

All in all it was a really fun night. Both Vukovi and ZAND brightened up what was otherwise set to be a dark and drizzly Thursday evening.

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Photos by Charlotte Emily Photography

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