With Star Wars being one of the most popular franchises, hosting one of the biggest and most dedicated fan followings ever, it was only a matter of time until a band came along with both the talent and the willingness to put enough effort into their aesthetics that they look like they came straight from the films. Enter Galactic Empire; the world’s first professional Star Wars themed metal band.
Instrumentals seems to be the name of the game for the evening, the first of which being in the form of EZXP  (that’s “easy xp”), and, yes, for all of you familiar with gaming, that’s exactly what the Lancaster outfit’s area of expertise is all about. Though focusing on medleys from the more classic titles in video games over the years like the Super Mario franchise and the aptly titled ‘Solid Snake Medley’ of Metal Gear fame, it’s the closing ‘Pokémon Medley’ that’s the shining highlight.
Glaswegian songwriter Sithu Aye  doesn’t have a specific franchise, or schtick (or gimmick, if you’d rather) that he latches onto unlike the rest of the evening’s line-up, but he does certainly hold the same level of talent and artistry required to be even a marginally interesting instrumental act. It’s just a bit of a shame that, though his talent is indisputable, and a flare does lie within his work, that the variation that does exist bleeds into one other far too much to the point that it’s hard to stay on your toes and excited.
Spawning only a short while ago within a galaxy that we’re all already in, Galactic Empire  have Imperial domination in their sights, and any Star Wars fan would agree that here tonight in the (in their words) “metropolis of Manchester”, they can count that mission as a success. Baring their instruments in one hand and a shiny red lightsaber in the other, Dark Vader (because Darth Vader died a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, remember?) and co. begin their assault.
From the very first notes of that instantly recognisable opening theme, we’re shot throughout their set to the barren planes of Tatooine, the industrial and stark utopia of the Death Star, the glacial deathtrap of Hoth, and the Ewok occupied Endor to name just a few stops. ‘The Imperial March’, of course, reminds us of the impending dark side looming over us within Satan’s Hollow, but even a bit of a light-hearted metal rendition of the ‘Cantina Band’ can wash that away.
We may have escaped a Vader strangle, and a blast from a Storm Trooper, but Galactic Empire certainly made the presence of the Siths known without a Jedi in sight.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)