Ghost//Signals, In Isolation, Holy Braille, Manta Reay, @Independent Gig Review

Over the last 40 years, I have come to appreciate music in it many forms, more so the diversity of the Rock and Metal genres. When I was invited – by Holy Braille – to go and see Ghost//Signals at the Independent in Sunderland, I was thinking OK, I want to see Holy Braille, as they are a local band. Plus I get to see bands that I haven’t heard or seen before. So I thought, I am going!!.

As November 2nd 2018 came around, I was somewhat getting excited, not only seeing a local band performing for the first time, and after twenty five plus years of going to gigs and forty years of listening to music, I still get excited about discovering new bands. When I got to the Independent, I tend to get to venues early, just to hear – and in some cases see – the soundchecks, like I said in some cases when I do see the soundchecks, I like to see them, as I can see the process and the interaction between the band members before the crowd in. This time I just got to hear part of the soundchecks.

While I was waiting for the doors opened for the gig, I was talking to someone about Whitby Goth Weekend, which happen on October 26th – 28th 2018, I was at the Whitby Kustoms car show on the 27th, whilst they were there for the whole weekend. So, the doors opened and when in. When we got in we met up with HOLY Brialle, and we chatted, for a while before the gig started.

Manta Reay

Well, after about fifteen minutes, the first act came up on stage. Manta Reay is a solo act. Now I have seen quite a few solo acts over the years and some have been….. OK, and others have been really good. With Manta Reay, this was his first gig as a solo act, and from what I was told, he doesn’t play guitar usually as he is a drummer, so, I thought, Oh, OK. Prior to finding that out, I was watching him and listening to him, he’s not bad, he’s actually pretty decent guitarist and vocalist, he’s a bit nervous, but decent. But when I did find out that he is a drummer and this was his first gig as a solo act, and at the time, that explained a few things I was thinking, I was thinking this explains the nervousness and the slight fumbles on the guitar. I was also thinking that even people who have been performing to a live audience for years, do get nervous and have fumbles, and that is the joy of performing live, you never know what to expect. Anyways, back to Manta Reay, well as he went through his set, I could hear that he has potential, not as a solo act as such, but with one or two people behind him, just give his music a but more of a bite to it. As Manta Reay, came off stage, there were a few things going around my mind, that this guy was not bad, he was pretty decent, and by the end of his set, he got my interest. and I will keep an eye on Manta Reay to see how he improves.

HOLY Braille

HOLY Braille are duo, Steph Mac on vocals and Elliot Reeves doing the sequencing, programming etc. Over the last few years, I have gotten to know Steph and Elliot, and have become good friends, and when I heard that HOLY Braille were to play a gig at the Independent in Sunderland, I was OH, brilliant, I have to go see these guys. They were one of the support acts for Ghost//Signals. Now, iwas looking forward to seeing Steph and Elliot up on stage performing as HOLY Braille, as I wanted to know what their dynamic is and how they perform together, I  have seen both in two different bands, Steph being the vocalist for PussyWillowFurryVenus and Elliot being in Mausoleums. Both bands are polar opposites, PWFV are an alternative rock band and Mausoleums are more an electronica goth band. now I have heard their single Murder She Spoke and I have played it on my Radio Show, and I wanted to see this live.

So they were up next. When they started their set, they used little snippets of dialogue/speeches to set up the songs that were doing. As they were doing the songs I was at the front of the stage, taking photos and recorded two of the songs God Said and Murder She Spoke, (which can be found on the PMM Facebook group page).  When I heard those two songs I had a massive grin my on face, as I love those songs, with God Said, this is a PWFV song and it is an upbeat track, that you can rock out to, but HOLY Braille, they have slowed it down and has a more darker spin to it. With Murder She Spoke, this is a song that hacks back to the early eighties goth music, as it has that ambience of the synths, drums and the haunting vocals that symbolizes the goth music of that time period. As this was there second gig, I was yeah these are good and I could see why, as they have performed live for a few years in separate bands.

As HOLY Braille finished their set, I was like Yeah, I am glad that I came to see them as they were good and have written some really songs.

In Isolation

In Isolation are a band from Nottingham, UK. I was immediately struck how good this band was and I was glad that Ghost//Signals added them to the line up. Just before they started their set, I was wondering what these guys sounded like, and my curiosity was peaked when they started to play, as these guys pretty good. When I was taking some photos of the band, I glanced back to the crowd and they were enjoying In Isolation.

This is another band that I have to keep an eye on, as these guys like I said before are pretty good. I have say a Thank You to them for coming all the way from Nottingham, to play and the Independent in Sunderland.


When Ghost//Signals came on stage – and they were a new band to me – and I was also curious about them and wanted to find out what they sounded like. so when they started their set, I was thinking, OK, they have – sort of – Eighties vibe going on, with a touch of The Cure about them. I was standing next to Elliot from HOLY Braille and I said to him that they sounded like The Cure and he said that they do sound a little like The Cure.

So I watched them play a couple of songs and then started to take some photos of the band. Like with In Isolation, I glanced at the crowd, and there was a few more people in the audience rocking out, so I took a couple of photos. As they went through their set, the singer / guitarist was talking to the crowd in between the songs, which is a good thing, as it connects the audience to the band, and makes the gig more enjoyable for both parties.

When the set was coming to a close, and the band did their last song, the crowd was shouting, More, One more, so the singer and guitarist obliged, and just before that did the encore, the singer explained that the particular song is a Christmas, and did it, and the crowd loved it.

After the gig, whist heading home, I reflected on the gig, and all four acts were good and I will be keeping and eye on, on all four of the bands, as all of them are good, as they impressed me enough, for me to go to their next gig if they either play Sunderland or Newcastle.

I would recommend that you go and check out all four bands. Their Facebook pages are below:

HOLY Braille

In Isolation


Note: I couldn’t find a Facebook page for Manta Reay

Project Metal Music

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