The queens of the modern day disco revival Ekkah have hit us with newest track Just A Thing, a certified heartbreaking, hypnotic dance floor filler doused in flirtatious funk just in time to rescue any kind of valentines disaster. Of course, the track has that distinctive sparkling synth sound that Ekkah so flawlessly fixate but this time it develops into a millennial pop classic with a slapped bass sound worthy of featuring on a Grandmaster Flash mix.
Just A Thing follows behind the bands latest release Homesick that retains that tight, indie disco sound. Rebekah Pennington and Rebecca Wilson have once again established themselves again as the hottest stars on the newly inviting sequin laden skyline. The track explores the expectations we have in love. It tells us It’s okay not to fall in love and to love yourself before anything else, a stern message that preempts anything too overwhelming.
Their glittering, hopeful music is so desperately needed during these bleak early months of the year in which we’re all lacking our high levels of vitamin D and kicking ourselves for not sticking to that new years resolution that tried to stop us gathering an abundance of fridge cheese. Just A Thing is the glimmer of hope and boogie inducing spring-time song that paints a glowing smile across your face and depicts that bit of sunlight we’ve all been craving. Ekkah are that friend you need that grabs you by the hand and drags you to the pub for a few beers and some Friday night karaoke and there is no doubt that Just A Thing will be your next drunken slur into the microphone.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets aren’t the usual sunny side of Warburtons or in-fact, the first thing you’d want to hear in the morning. The Perth quartet brought their melodic, intricate music to YES’ sold out Pink Room for an evening of hairy fun with their very hairy following. Lit by the neon hue’s of the peony walls, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets tore through the venue, transporting us to the cosmic realms of outer space psychedelia.
The Mysterines were first up, bringing their messy L7 inspired punk rock to an audience already fully immersed in the energetic elegance of frontwoman Lia Medcalf. The Wirral trio’s pissed off psych-rock rattles the chests of onlookers and Lia’s growling vocals are somewhere between Courtney Love and Bonnie Tyler, contrasting the dainty tiara she has placed upon her head. They manage to effortlessly disperse the crowd into a flurry of 1970’s punk pogoing through their song Hormone that emits a natural anarchy and is the perfect pre psychedelia stretch.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have managed to stuff the sold-out crowd in like a removal van transporting the old to the brand spanking new. Their trippy, Dragonforce-esque riffs paint the room in kaleidoscopic colours that disperse the crowd into full head-bang mode sending arms flying and bodies hurling into each other. The sound tonight isn’t the most dazzling but distorted guitars can get lost in a such a small space. Their intricate melodies may be missing in the waves but the audience are now starting to surf each other so I guess no one else has noticed.
The band glide through trippy tacks such as Cornflake, a song that almost diverts into the speed metal genre lead by the likes of Judas Priest and would be a certain expert challenge for any guitar hero fanatic. They’re a band of very few words but Psychedelic Porn Crumpets manage to keep the room in the palm of their hand for the entire evening like a weird exorcism overseen by the true priests of Aussie psych-rock. The band’s newest single Keen for Kick Ons is met with the response it deserves and rounds of the evening, as calm is restored across the venue everyone is left feeling like they’ve possibly had the best acid trip of their life.
Their mind-altering music has been the perfect match for Manchester tonight. Even though their sound seemed to be a little drowned at times, the energy of Psychedelic Porn Crumpets is no force to be reckoned with. Just sit back and absorb the out of this world sensation that requires nothing more than a sterling head of hair and a back catalogue of trip inducing tunes.
Cub Sport has become somewhat of important LGBTQ icons since their career started in early 2010. Hidden beneath the Australian quartet’s beach pop, the innocent love story of frontman Tim Nolan and his now husband and synth player Sam Netterfield is enough to warm your heart, but their sparkling synth-pop sound filled the sold-out basement of YES like a packed out post-wedding party.
London based twosome Dirty Nice are the supporting pop prop-up of the evening, giving us the ’90s version of Jungle with their experimental electronic music. The band had sounds that mirrored tracks such as Jungle‘s Happy Man but the air, grace, and humour of double-denim laden poster boys NSYNC. For just two musicians they’re energetically fun, jumping down from the stage during their set and dancing with the crowd transforming YES’ small dance floor into a Studio 54 set up.
Cub Sport start their set with the acapella Unwinding Myself, a perfectly tuned performance by Tim Nelson who is adorned in an Elvis style gold jacket with matching twinkling eyes. It’s an emotional performance met by a crowd who are completely engaged and evidently still finding themselves. Cub Sport and their music are identifiable and prominent for a generation who are longing for acceptance. Songs such as Chasin and it’s lyrics “I don’t even know what I want/out of life/what I’m chasing” are reassuring and comforting to an audience that is still exploring life’s endless possibilities.
Cub Sport’s set tonight is a homage to the utmost pop perfection. The catchy chorus in Hawaiian Party is forcefully sung back to the band almost drowning the musicians under a sea of synchronic, passionate voices and ‘Sometimes’ is played like the ultimate pop classic that it is, with hints of ’80s Madonna synth-pop whirring the atmosphere into full party mode. The band’s music is raw, emotional and straight from Tim Nelson‘s heart. The constant eye contact between the frontman and his husband displays perfectly why the band has formed and grown so organically. It’s an expression of love and affection, embracing and accepting and that’s why most of the audience are here, to dance without a label or care for anything but the safety blanket of the pure pop paragon.
Pouring their hearts into their set, Cub Sport deserves the sold-out party they have been greeted with and are constantly thanking the crowd for coming down to show their support for their music. “I just can’t believe it,” Tim exclaims with a hand resting on his chest and an expression that’s struggling to hold back the emotion in his quivering smile. The quartet is a special kind of band, with all four interacting with their fans after the gig, signing autographs and showing genuine care for the people here tonight. It’s rare to find, but Cub Sport are always reaching out through their relatable rhetoric and charming interest in their audience who are so beautifully absorbed in their music.
Brighton based quartet THYLA brought their beautifully raw post-punk to YES for an evening of spectacular sub-genre talent school standoffs with a tonne of musicians who are taking the scene by storm.
If a Saturday evening features a psychedelic, cosmic disco pop mash-up with a hint of harmonious harp playing and some seriously ferocious girl power grunge, you know you’re possibly attending the hottest breakthrough gig in Manchester to energise yet another bleak day in February. YES’ packed out bottom floor basement is the ideal set up for this DIY, delightful display of emerging talent.
Velvet Shakes are first on, the lead singer dressed in a shirt laden with love hearts because after all “it is the month of love” as mentioned by the band who seem as love-struck with each other as they are with their melodic, 2010 foals-esque music. The band retain their tightness in their live set and bass led dance tracks including ‘The Love I Feel’, that are fully doused in that distinctly nostalgic disco sound, make sure the crowd are pleasantly warmed for the bands about to follow.
Next, Diving Station join the party, bringing the music equivalent of a classic bottle of Merlot, the kind you get that wears a fishnet and is left with the perfect pink lip stain around the rim.A suitably suave set up as vocalist Anna McLuckie takes to the stage armed with a Clarsach Harp and an even more stunning set of vocals. Think Wolf Alice circa White Leather, collaborating with The XX in the dreamy days of electro-pop hits such as VCR. Their music makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room, completely transfixed and emotionally engaged with their hypnotic dream pop.
Headliners THYLA brought something a little different to the table, or party if you like. A bottle of vodka and 20 cigarettes kind of band. Ferocious, angsty post-punk that’s delivered so innocently by leading lady Millie Duthie. They’re the kind of band who would’ve slotted perfectly into place in the thriving Brighton scene of 2013. A homage to their hometown but undiscovered gems to those unlucky ones who aren’t in attendance tonight. Tracks like Only Ever rip through the packed out basement, the rawness of the guitar combined with Millie’s euphoric vocals pierce the percussion and scatter the band into a flurry of headbanging bliss.
Grungey undertones that mirror early Hole are prominent in I Was Biting and during this dynamic display, it’s obvious that the band are having as much fun up there as the day that they first jammed together. The glittering, hazy guitar sound proves to be the most fitting match for Millie’s honest vocals and their live performance is met with a packed out crowd that responds to every song with an enthusiastic eagerness for more.
THYLA are an effortlessly cool band, with each member sporting a straight bob-like hair trim that was cut straight out of the music video for Sonic Youth’s Dirty Boots. The band’s stripped back song Candy brings the quartet into an emotional display of pissed off post-punk poetry and the band still have the crowd in the palm of their hand as they swing straight into Sharon.
Ending the set is Blue, a track that is met with a serious hair swing by each member of the band and audience alike. It’s a track that has a bass line to make you boogie and lyrics that bare all. The quartet are evidently slightly overwhelmed by the response from the crowd but even though modest, clearly believe they deserve every whoop and cheer that rounds off a Saturday evening in February good enough to pull even the best of us out of our S.A.D.
Want to be in Club Kuru? The first rule of is that you have to be horrendously sexy. The second – you have to be into jazz. Or more importantly, the sweet, sweet sound that the London five-piece perfectly project. Jimmy’s hypnotic back drop couldn’t be more fitting for the cord clad southerners and their psych-rock, synth led, kaleidoscopic craft.
Opening the night are Manchester based Solis. Singer Sarah-Louise’s haunting vocals transfix the room into a still silence with a hypnotic performance that mirrors early Lana Del Rey and induces you into a goose-pimpled daydream. Songs like ‘Be Together’ transport the room to a smoke filled, red lit, downtown New York jazz bar, disclosing a mischievous get away. Solis seem to effortlessly warm the crowd creating the perfect podium for Club Kuru to take to.
Starting the show with their most recent single: ‘49 Years’ the band automatically adopt a theatrical style through the haunting chants that accompany this track. Club Kuru are so beautifully in-sync and tighter than a child’s school photo ponytail. With sensual jazz-esque drum beats and vocals that are delivered so innocently on a vibe that is always glowing and never disrupted, dimly lit grins are painted on the faces of onlookers throughout tonight’s passionate production.
The quintet are no strangers to an elaborate live performance and that is only met this evening with the removal of singer Laurie Erskine’s shoes and a passionate kiss by one member of the audience. Other tracks such as ‘Giving In’ are delivered on a wave of psychedelia that could’ve easily been mistaken for a page in Kevin Parker’s note pad and the excitement grows as the band give the audience a subtle sample of something new. The song is called ‘Film Credits’ and forces the five-piece to erupt into a frenzied jam of severe instrument bashing. It’s also seemingly impossible to move the audiences gripped stare from guitarist Laurence’s mesmeric fret-board fondling after this particular track.
As the band make their way through the rest of their set, their jazz routes and music teacher certificates are waved straight in your face. The performance of songs such as ‘Ribbons’ is such an effortless groove. A song that is stunningly stripped back but still carries the same energy through intricate piano solos yet made out to be something you feel you could learn in an hour. For front-man Laurie, it’s his impressive CV curated by a piano teaching career that makes this seem so effortless.
Club Kuru end their set with the rather fitting ‘The Memory Junkie’ which has been a neurological hook since the release earlier this year. The song is something you wish you could package up and deliver to your most loved as it is such a delicate little announcement of affection. It is a refreshing burst of modern psychedelia that is performed to its upmost perfection this evening. With help from fans carried along by that distinctive wah-wah guitar riff, it feels as good as it sounds. Club Kuru are a band of vibrant and distinctive individual talent that when combined is the tastiest psych-rock recipe you could ever get your lips around.