Transformer is a brand new live music event hosted at Manchester’s iconic Victoria Warehouse, boasting an era-defying array of seminal acts from across the alternative music spectrum. It falls on the 27th May in 2017, the Sunday of the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Christened Transformer as a tribute to the late Lou Reed, a figure whose visionary approach in The Velvet Underground and solo work changed the musical landscape for ever. Mirroring the seminal influence of the genre-defying figure, the event displays an eclectic line-up of post-punk, experimental rock, psychedelia and noise rock artists from around the globe. In addition to being treated by exceptional musical performances in a setting reflective of an indoor festival, attendees can expect cinema screenings, food stalls, several bar areas, DJs and a record fair. Essentially Transformer will blend art and music into a cultural soiree in a similar manner to Andy Warhol’s curation of his ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ events.
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Past performances at the Victoria Warehouse have included Warehouse Project all-nighters, psychedelic extravaganzas and iconic performances from artists such as John Carpenter. Recently, Transformer have announced four new exciting acts to be added to an already incredible line-up of The Fall, Swans, This Is Not This Heat, Royal Trux, Loop and Mueran Humanos. Those artists in question are Suuns, Sex Swing, Little Annie, and JC Flowers.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and with the first tier of early bird tickets having already sold-out, it’s definitely a good idea to snap a few up before all are gone. The prices are set to increase as the event draws nearer and with special enactments ranging from a hometown gig from The Fall, This Is Not This Heat performing after a three-decade hiatus, the last tour of Swans’ re-incarnated line-up, and an incredibly rare gig from Royal Trux, Transformer is set to sell-out in the very near future.
Transformer will be a hometown show for the iconic post-punk band The Fall. Featuring driven instrumentation, cryptic lyricism paired with sharp vocal delivery, the influence from the motorik repetition of krautrock, The Fall’s unmistakeable sound has been imitated by hundreds, including serving as the primary musical reference point for modern acts such as Parquet Courts and Girl Band. They were championed by DJ John Peel and he stated numerous times they were his favourite band of all time. Despite numerous line-up changes and thirty studio albums, the band who are fronted by the peerless Mark E. Smith (who famously declared “If it’s me and your granny on bongos, then it’s The Fall”) will serve as one of the many highlights at Transformer.
The seminal group Swans will bring their deafening live show to the Victoria Warehouse as part of their final tour with their current line-up and to put it simply, the group are unmissable in a live setting. The act, fronted and led by Michael Gira, have always been notoriously difficult to pin down to a genre: their early career was based around sludgy, discordant noise rock which eventually shifted into a post-punk orientated sound in the mid-80s. However, their 1996 classic album ‘Soundtracks For The Blind’ hinted at the experimental post-rock sound that they have enacted since their 2010 reformation and Swans have since recorded some of the most acclaimed music of the decade.
Loop are known for being one of the most uncompromising bands on the planet, with a unique sound which blends droning noise with spacey psychedelia. Their live shows characteristically consist of bone-rattling volume levels, whilst the band bask in krautrock repetition and harsh feedback. The groups trio of albums from their preliminary run became landmarks and emphasised that psychedelic music was alive and well in the 1980s. They reformed in 2013 for a slew of gigs and continue to make noise across the globe. Their performance at Transformer will be nothing short of spectacular.
This Is Not This Heat
This Is Not This Heat are acknowledged for their revolutionary take on post-punk and were perhaps the most experimental of any of their contemporaries of that era. ‘Deceit’ is a proto-industrial classic, with Pitchfork ranking their sophomore record twentieth in their greatest albums of the 1980s list. Initially named This Heat, the band changed their name out of respect for original member Gareth Williams who passed away in 2001. Despite over three decades of inactivity, the bands come-back performance in London was rapturously received.
Royal Trux are the perfect example of the extraordinary, exclusive and rare performances on offer at Transformer. The pair of Neil Michael Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema have barely been seen together since their initial split in 2001 so their first UK set since their reformation at Transformer will be an extra-special occurrence.
The Berlin-via-Argentina two-piece Mueran Humanos are an exciting group who have been channelling urbane energy into gritty post-punk music for the last five years. Pleasing critics and fans alike with two albums crafted with electronic-tinged reverberations, Transformer are really treating the spectators who will grace the Victoria Warehouse in May.
Montreal quartet Suuns are making waves in the alternative music scene thanks to several albums consisting of an interesting blend of art rock, indie and post-punk decorated with vibrant electronics. Suuns will excite the masses at Transformer, not only due to the quality of their intriguing music, but because they have recently fine-tuned their live skills after embarking on an extensive tour in support of their 2016 release ‘Hold/Still’.
Sex Swing are a London based quintet whose debut album ‘Karnak’ drew praise from the music press and landed them a spot on The Guardian’s ‘Future 50’ list which concentrates on forthcoming rising stars in music. Their music is heavy, noisy, and rhythmical; the perfect soundtrack for a party at the Victoria Warehouse.
Little Annie may be familiar to fans of Transformer headliners Swans, as she provided vocals for ‘Some Things We Do’ from their massively acclaimed ‘To Be Kind’ album in addition to recently supporting the band on a huge European tour. Some may know her as Annie Anxiety, a collaborator with anarcho-punks Crass yet her creative endeavours stretch from numerous solo projects focusing on industrial music to collaborations with Bonnie Prince Billy and Coil.
Also set to appear at Transformer are JC Flowers, a collective of musicians inspired by power pop, the Paisley Underground scene and 80s alternative rock. They’ve recently received fans throughout the UK whilst opening for Toy on their most recent tour and have the tunes to back up their live show, including a cover of Iggy Pop’s ‘China Girl’. JC Flowers are set to blow up any moment so catch them whilst you can at Transformer.
This Is Not This Heat