BAMBARA: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 22nd October 2019.

23 10 2019

Image result for bambara band

 

I went to this show as someone who casually listened to Bambara; I left as someone who is now obsessed and in awe of what I witnessed in a room that should have been packed.

I think the best way to describe a Bambara show is wonderfully loud and chaotic. As soon as they ripped into their set, I immediately felt like I was watching The Birthday Party for the first time. They have the same raucous sound that is all over the place in the best way possible. I don’t want my music to sound polished or perfect- I want it to be noisy, all over the place and powerful. I got all of that and more from Bambara’s set. They put their absolute everything into their performance, and honestly, Reid Bateh is quite possibly one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. He absolutely puts all he has into the songs, and in a live setting you can truly see just how much this means to him. It’s like he has to get THIS out. I don’t know what “THIS” is exactly, and maybe it’s something we all have in us, but he gets it out in a way that is beautifully enthralling and terrifying at the same time.

Bambara aren’t a band for those wanting roses and sunshine. They are a band for those seeking something to cling to. They’ve toured with two bands that own my heart- IDLES and METZ. Imagine seeing that! It’d be like witnessing something so sacred, and spiritual. I had a great spot at this show, and maybe it was because it wasn’t sold out. It should have been sold out by the way. I could see everything, and I was so fascinated with drummer, Blaze. His style reminded me so much of one of my favourite drummers- Alex Robins. I loved that Blaze’s stage attire was shorts and cowboy boots- if that doesn’t define cool, then I don’t know what does. His style of drumming is intense and captivating. He’s the kind of drummer that a kid would watch and think, “I want to do that.” He made a 32 year old feel that way (me, by the way.) I love how the band all have this sense of solidarity when they play. It feels like a brotherhood (obviously that’s the case with Reid and Blaze!) and this tight sound they have just makes you completely hooked on every sound they make, and every word that Reid sings.

 

 

Songs like José Tries to Leave, and brand new song Serafina (which I think they had only played once before maybe?) were just magnificent to watch. With this possibly being the second time they performed Serafina, they nailed it perfectly. I love how Reid thrashing the microphone wire like an out of control lion-tamer, and he definitely reminds you of a very young Nick Cave when he was in The Birthday Party. This was probably one of the loudest shows I’ve been to at the Soup Kitchen- it wasn’t as loud as the times I saw The Jesus And Mary Chain (I couldn’t hear properly for 2 days, but I was stood right by the speaker so…it was to be expected!) Although the venue wasn’t packed, but to be honest sometimes it doesn’t matter you know. Sometimes it can feel like the whole world is there, and Bambara definitely made you feel that way. At times it felt intrusive as you witnessed them leave their absolute everything on stage, but bands that do this just have my complete respect. To be that open on stage is something to really appreciate and admire for sure.

I love how bassist, William completely lets go on stage. Sometimes you see bass players who are holding back and seem to be teetering on letting go, but William is unafraid and just makes you wish you were as cool as him. Bryan and Sammy are INCREDIBLE guitarists; they could easily have blown the amps with how loud they were, and take that with how grand Blaze’s drumming is- then you get the general idea of how wild and loud this show was.

There was something about this show that at the end, I felt like I had got what I needed. I felt some kind of release. I’m not sure what of. I mean today is 2 months since my Grandma died and I’m ready to go back to bed and spend the day crying. But last night, that gig gave me that feeling that you get from your favourite band. It was truly special for so many reasons. I urge you to see Bambara whenever and wherever you can. It’s not just a show, it’s an experience. An experience that will stay on your mind until the next time. Over and over.

 

 

Their set ended on Monument, and it was such a high to end on. Of course you wanted more, and you just wanted them to carry on for an eternity but this was just one of the most mesmerising shows I’ve ever been to. Bambara have been around for some time now, and these New York heroes are a band to become majorly obsessed with.

This was my first time seeing the band, and I definitely hope it won’t be my last. Their new record, Stray will be out in February. It’s their fourth record and I reckon it might just be their heaviest to date. I cannot wait to hear it, and can probably call it as one of 2020’s finest records.





DRAB MAJESTY + SRSQ: Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 19/09/2019.

20 09 2019

Image result for drab majesty 2019

 

 

If ever there was a dream line-up, then this would be one of them: Drab Majesty AND SRSQ together. Playing a venue that I adore, even if it was an absolute sweat box last night. I missed the first song of SRSQ’s set because I am shit at catching the tram from my flat to town, but that’s irrelevant.

Kennedy (who is SRSQ) was part of a band that I was obsessed with; Them Are Us Too, and to see someone who was part of a band who have left a lasting impact on me live, was something to truly treasure. There is the same passion there, and it is just a beautiful thing to be immersed in. For me, the music Kennedy makes as SRSQ is so ethereal and so delicate. I adore her vocals so much, and how Kennedy has this impressive power within their vocals that are just a thrill to witness. The way Kennedy controls the room with this gorgeous voice and haunting songs just leave you covered in goose bumps. For me it is songs like Cherish that show us just how effortlessly brilliant Kennedy is, and how every fibre of their being is exposed on stage.

 

 

Kennedy uses her voice how a guitarist would create fury with their instrument. She does it all on her own, and you cannot help but be in awe. Her music has been a massive comfort for me recently, with my Grandma dying very recently. I have used her music to escape a little, and to see these songs live just got me. If it can hit you in the gut, then you’ve found a band worth holding on to. Kennedy tells stories and takes you off into another world with her music, and the way she does it in a live setting is just nothing short of beautiful, in its truest and purest form. Only One was the song that just moved me the most. It made me think of listening to Zola Jesus for the first time- they both have this power in their voice, and this tone that is just unlike anything else. It can make you cry almost instantly because it is that soothing and perfect. I hope she comes back to the UK and does her own headline tour because her set was just a joy to watch.

Now it is time for Drab Majesty to take to the stage.

A couple of months ago, Drab Majesty released the chilling new record, Modern Mirror. This is a record that is dripping in synth-filled songs to hit you right in the soul. The songs were made to hit you right in the pit of your stomach. So how do they do this live? Effortlessly. So easy. Deb and Mona D are two exceptional musicians who just have this stage presence that leaves you so intrigued and moved by what you are witnessing. Their songs are euphoric symphonies that make you feel as if you have found yourself in the underworld where Deb and Mona are your leaders.

As someone who has frequent panic attacks (and they are ever increasing) I find bands like Drab Majesty and SRSQ so calming. It is the relaxed tone in the vocals, and it is the purity in the sound. It just eases me. They open their set with A Dialogue, which kicks off their new record. The perfect opener to their set. I’ve waited a hell of a long time to see this band, and I can honestly say it was one of the most moving shows I’ve been to. Something I really admire about Drab Majesty is that their music feels like it could be in a film, and they make you feel like you are part of it. There is so much fragility in the music, and I love it so much. I love how they are unafraid to be gentle in their music. The Other Side broke my heart, but to see it live was just remarkable.

 

 

It was such a joy to see both bands last night, and to see them both command the stage in ways that show us that less is truly more. In an ideal world, I’d watch their sets every single day and be in a constant state of bliss. They all make you want to create this dark, moving music to release all that you’re carrying. You can see for Kennedy that there’s a fair bit of release when she performs live and Drab Majesty have this hypnotic and stoic stance on stage, but there is so much emotion within all of them when they perform their songs. You can truly see how much it means to them, and given that most of this tour is sold out- it shows us just how much they are loved. It was so good to see the venue packed for Kennedy’s set. There was just a lot of love and respect in the venue for both sets, and to see this was nothing short of wonderful.

I can only urge you to see both bands whenever you can. It will feel like the most perfect out of body experience, and you will feel like both bands are in control of how you move during the show. You’re their puppet, and in this instance it really isn’t a bad thing. As hard as it was for me to leave the house last night and go to the show, I’m so glad I did. This is what I needed at this moment, what comes next now I have no idea but I have this to hold on to for a little while.

I can only reiterate that you just need to see both bands, and allow yourself to be immersed in such beauty and ethereal synth magic.

 





ZIG ZAGS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 21st May 2019.

22 05 2019

Image result for ZIG ZAGS BAND 2019

 

Last night I got the chance to see one of the loudest bands ever. There’s only a couple of bands that have left me partially deaf after a show, and Zig Zags are one of them. They are LA’s nosiest band for sure.

They played my favourite venue here, the Soup Kitchen. The only bad thing about this show was that there was hardly anyone there. I’m disheartened about this because Zig Zags are a brilliant live band. However, although the turnout was poor that didn’t stop them and maybe subconsciously they decided to play louder than usual? I don’t know, but I do know this- it was one of the standout shows I’ve been to this year. It was their first time in Manchester, and I really hope it isn’t their last because they are a band that you’ve just GOT to see live. There’s something about them that just spurs you on.

They recently released their new record, They’ll Never Take Us Alive. I wanted to write a review about the record but, I kind of wanted to see their show first before taking it on. I wanted to see how it’d come across in a live environment because it has such a big sound. So, this is part live review/part record review/part me just going on about how great they are. I don’t know where any of this will go, but it’s out of pure admiration.

 

 

The new record is full of anthems, and I as I watched them in awe last night I couldn’t help but feel that their songs would be perfect in a stadium. They have this wonderful, grand sound but it isn’t overpowering. They are amazing musicians, and I swear Dane is one of the greatest drummers of our time. Although the venue wasn’t full, last night he played as if it was a huge fucking stadium and for me- that just sold it. The way they played last night just cemented my respect for them.

Zig Zags remind me of the Misfits mixed with the Melvins and Sleep; with a hint of Noothgrush. Basically, a perfect sound On record, sure you can hear loud they are but when you see them live, something else happens. The songs are heightened and they have this bigger feel to them. Considering they played a small venue, they made it sound like you were somewhere quadruple the size of where you were. For me, that shows you just how great a band is.

With three records into their career, each one is a step bigger and louder. They evolve in a brilliant way, and I really hope I get to see them live again because this was some show! I don’t think there’s a band around right now that are like this, and I just love how they can just annihilate your eardrums in the most beautiful way possible. They’ll Never Take Us Alive is definitely one of this year’s most out there records, and one that oozes fearlessness and this ferocious energy that you just cannot get enough of.

 

 

Zig Zags are the best at what they do, and not only do their records prove this- but their live shows do too. I’m pretty much going to live in the two shirts I bought last night!





CROCODILES. Soup Kitchen, Manchester 17th May 2019.

21 05 2019

Related image

 

How do you write about a band that you have seen 11 times live without repeating yourself? Who cares! Friday night was my 11th time seeing my buddies, Crocodiles and they played my absolute favourite venue in Manchester- the Soup Kitchen. It’s a sweaty and dark basement venue; just how it should be.

End of April 2009, Crocodiles released their debut record. A record I bought by accident on the day it came out and since then, I’ve just fallen in love with everything they’ve done since. Every record has blown me away, and every show has done the same.

However, there is something truly special about their shows in Manchester that stand out. This was my 3rd time seeing them in Manchester, and I just love how you can see how much this beautiful city means to Brandon and Charlie. There was even a nod to local hero, Pete Shelley with their Buzzcocks cover which I’m sure he would have been proud of.

I stood directly in front of Charlie, and was in awe of his pedal set-up. It’s a piece of art, and he swings his guitar around like a machine gun whilst looking like a young Scott Walker. Brandon and Charlie have this way of just changing how you feel about their music when you see them live, and it is always a wonderful thing to witness. They are just of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and they just put their all into their shows.

 

You can’t help but shift your eyes across the stage to watch them all annihilate the stage. Brandon sings with this passion that is just astounding, and Charlie matches it with his effortlessly cool way of using his guitar as a weapon. As cliched as it is, they are just the coolest cats around, and it just shines through perfectly in their songs and their live shows.

The energy in the crowd is typical of a Manchester crowd, and just an absolute pleasure to be part of. The love that Crocodiles have for this city is just admirable, and something us fans here truly treasure. They feed off the crowd, and this crowd were reciprocating it. 10 years in, and they are still making music to lose your shit to. Songs like I Wanna Kill and Marquis De Sade, and new songs such as Exit My Head come more alive. I can’t ever get enough of hearing I Wanna Kill, and the crowd are the same. It’s one of those songs that just do something to you, and once you hear it. It’s an anthem.

Crocodiles are a band that you just don’t ever get tired of listening to, and watching. They have this way of just making you forget the real world for the time they are on stage. They make you want to start a band, they make you want to always be in the moment of being at a live show. As a fan, this is what I absolutely adore about music and how powerful it is. Also, Brandon and I had Bad Brains shirts on which anyone else would regard as a wardrobe clash. However for this, it’s just two people who love one of the best bands ever!

There’s a good balance of songs from all of their records, and sure I’d want them to play all of them but hey- that’s too much, I know! This was my first time seeing them on my own, and as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety I full on prepared myself to have some form of panic attack. I was wrong, I just felt totally safe at this show. Trivial I know, but small things like this help. Anyway, smushy stuff aside- it was just a brilliant show.

 

They are a band that just need to be seen live. Their live shows allow you to see even moreso just how fantastic they are. If I could, I’d see them on every tour at every date. But shows like Friday’s in Manchester are treasured dearly.

Crocodiles new record, Love Is Here is out now and they have 2 more UK dates left before a couple of shows in Paris this week.

 





THE COATHANGERS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 29th April 2019.

30 04 2019

Image result for the coathangers band 2019

 

The Coathangers have been around for a hell of a long time, and it is no surprise that they are one of the best bands around- live and on record. Last night they played one of Manchester’s best venues, the Soup Kitchen. It was the perfect venue for this band. In a dark and sweaty basement was a lot of noise brewing and it was sublime.

The band are made up of three exceptional musicians who swap instruments for a couple of songs during the set- this alone sets them apart from others, and shows just how effortlessly brilliant they are. If you are wanting a solid Garage Rock sound mixed with something to straight up blow your mind, then you need to see The Coathangers live. There is something about their live shows that leaves you wanting more and more.

Something I really love about The Coathangers is that some of their songs have a relaxed feel to it, like Warpaint but then you’ve got those heavier songs like Crimson Telephone (which is amazing live) reminds me of LA Witch. What I’m getting at is, The Coathangers are a band that you’ve just got to invest in. Buy the records, go to their shows. There is something about their live shows that have a Bikini Kill feel to it- rowdy, inspiring and wonderful.

Personally, my favourite song to hear last night was Perfume. I just really, really love that song and it was just perfect to see live.

Hey Buddy is sung by Stephanie who whilst singing, is beating the shit out of the drums. I have massive respect for anyone who can drum and sing at the same time. Stephanie does it in a way that makes you wish you could do it. It’s again, another brilliant moment in their set. They just make you wish you could play like them. They truly are a phenomenal band, who just make you wish you could follow them on tour.

Meredith is such a mesmerising bass player. She’s got this effortlessly cool way of executing brutal basslines, especially on Stranger Danger. She just annihilates it. Julia is also hypnotic, she can sing soft and she can really hit you in the gut with her vocals. It is perfectly evened out with Stephanie’s vocals. Their vocals are opposite, and they work so well but it all comes together in unison on F The NRA, which is one of their most important songs. It’s a real gnarly Punk song that needs to be played and heard as loudly as possible. I love how hardly anyone had their phones out to record songs or take photos, everyone was just in the moment and it was truly beautiful to see.

With their sixth record released in March, it is safe to say that The Coathangers are exceptional, hard-working and one of the most exciting bands around. They play songs from most of their records, and everyone goes nuts for it. There is no denying how talented they are, and how loved they are. They are truly one of the most exciting bands around, and can still make you feel like you’re discovering them for the first time with every single listen.

It was an absolute honour and pleasure to finally see them live last night, and I doubt it’ll be my last time.

VIVA THE COATHANGERS!





SEXTILE: Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 16/09/2018.

16 09 2018

dl7zqv8x4aazgjm

 

If you ever wondered what Suicide and Cold Cave would sound like if they launched head first into each other, they would sound like Sextile. I’ve been a HUGE fan of the band for quite some time now, and last night I finally got to see their live show. When I lived in London, my two favourite venues were The Old Blue Last and The Shacklewell Arms. Now I’m in Manchester, I wondered if I would find a venue that could have the same dark, basement feel. Soup Kitchen was the host of the show last night, and my god it is just the perfect venue for a band like Sextile. If I was in a band, this is where I would want to play. Over the past three years I wondered what their show would be like, and last night just exceeded every single expectation I had.

One of the many things that I loved about the show was how Brady commands the stage without even having to engage in pointless talk between songs. He has this way about him that just makes you walk closer towards the stage and really listen. He’s like a preacher with the way he is on stage. He’s got this wonderful presence about him that makes you wish you could see this band every night. Melissa is one of the best drummers you’ll ever see. She’s got a Bobby Gillespie sound going on (think Psychocandy) and as she stands towering over her drum kit hitting the drum skins with such passion without breaking a sweat is just amazing. She’s effortlessly cool. Apologies for my ignorance, but I cannot remember the name of the guitarist- all I know is that she was brilliant, and during the second to last song she joined Melissa on the drums and they both had this tribal-like sound going on.

Friday saw the band release the EP titled, 3. I’ll be writing about that soon but for now let’s stick with the show. They played most of the EP, and it was so great to hear it live. I’ve been playing 3 on my journey to and from work on Friday, and I loved the grittiness of it. I love how they have a Gang Of Four sound going on mixed with The Vacant Lots. The band may be from L.A but they definitely sound like a band that have been roaming the alleyways of Berlin during a harsh winter. They absolutely ripped through the song, Paradox last night and it was definitely one of the songs that made the crowd go nuts.

I’ve always said that Manchester crowds are the best, and last night’s show was a prime example of this. The crowd was made up of people just having the best time dance so care free to a band that they love. The atmosphere was brilliant, and who cares that the show didn’t sell out. It’s better to have the right amount of fans there who love the band rather than a group of drunk idiots stumble in and be obnoxious. Sextile are equally captivating on stage as they are on record. The venue was perfect for as band like this. You felt like you had fallen into the hands of a cult as soon as they stepped on stage. I loved when they performed Drop You (it’s my current favourite from the new EP) but to be honest, they could have just performed a whole bunch of nonsense and I would have loved it. I just love this band so much. I think this might have been only their second time playing the UK and since then, their line-up has changed but regardless of band members- Sextile are just fantastic.

When they performed, Who Killed Six, that’s when it really kicked in how much I loved the show and wish it could have lasted forever. I LOVE this song so much and it’s my favourite off Albeit Living. Its song that I love playing ridiculously loud, and to witness it live was just nothing short of perfect for me. I’ve not been to many shows this year, but this is the one I’ll be holding very dear to me.

If you ever have the opportunity to see Sextile live, GO.