We’ve had to wait two years to see Millie Manders and The Shutup, with previous attempts derailed by Covid and train strikes, but at long last we were able to catch the band at the MK11 venue in Milton Keynes. The venue itself is easy to miss, tucked as it is behind a small cluster of houses. It’s not the most inviting looking place, with a small entrance sign pointing you at a big, black door trimmed with metal, the sort of thing you’d expect to see on the side of a warehouse rather than a music venue.
But stepping past this, you’re inside a surprisingly light, airy and welcoming pub/music space. Passing through the main space you hang a left down to where the actual music venue is. It’s a simple affair, pretty much just a big, boxy space with a stage at one end and a bar in the corner. But what more do you really need? A place for the band, a place for the crowd, a place for drinks, a place for merch. Done. MK11 definitely ticks all the right boxes, and on top of that they also do really rather nice food.
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This year it’s the ‘Rebound’ tour, named after the band’s latest single, and at this stage of the tour they were ably supported by two other acts. Kicking things off in style were Junk Season, who have serious Blink-182 vibes. Check our their track ‘Glass House’ if you don’t believe us!
Their upbeat, pop-punk grooves got the crowd up and moving, setting the stage for support act two, the somewhat harder-edged Eat Defeat. Check out their track ‘Shortcuts’ for an idea of what they sound like. Both bands performed for about half an hour and if you’re any sort of fan of this genre of music, these are two bands that absolutely deserve your support. Both have releases available on Spotify (and other streaming platforms) for your listening pleasure.
And after that, Millie took the stage. After two years of anticipation, did the gig live up to it? Hell yes, it really did. The band exude positive energy and radiate joy in everything they do, even as the songs tackle material such as climate change (‘Panic’), mankind’s treatment of nature (‘Right to Life’), and mental health (‘Not OK’).
There were even two new songs. One about how women are treated and often shamed/victim blamed by society (‘Me Too’) and another about the issue of fake friends, the sorts who only ever seem to remember you exist when they want something from you (‘Shut Your Mouth’).
Millie made sure to pause every now and again to chat to the crowd and thank both the support acts and the folks at the venue. She encouraged a sing-along or two (‘I’m Bitter’ / ‘Not OK’) and even a drinking/hydration game (‘Bacchus’). All in all they were one of those bands who remember that the audience exists and has paid money to see them in the flesh, unlike some other acts who come on, tear through their set, and leave with barely a hello or goodbye.
From start to end this gig was just FUN. It had an enthusiastic crowd who were obviously there to have a good time, with a large contingent of women right at the front who seemed to know the words to every single song. The bands all seemed genuinely excited to be playing in this little grassroots venue tucked away somewhere outside of Milton Keynes.
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Wrapping things up, respect and thanks needs to be given to not only the bands, but the friendly and helpful staff at the venue and especially whoever MK11 had doing their sound that night. That was one of the cleanest, most well-balanced audio mixes I’ve ever heard, and it genuinely put some larger venues to shame.
The Rebound tour continues through April, and you can catch Millie Manders and the Shutup if you’re quick! The rest of the dates are: Wed 19th York – Crescent / Thu 20th Settle – Victoria Hall / Fri 21st Leicester – Musician / Sat 22nd Boston – Dogfest.