Working Mens Club: Manchester YES – livecast gig reviewWorking Mens Club
Manchester Yes
July 2020

This is a snapshot of the now and a glimpse into an exciting future. A fierce and concentrated moment and an island of hope in the endless pandemic void.

I’m sat at home reviewing a gig on Livecast on my phone, the future/now of a gig beamed into the small screen is one of many futures hurrying their way towards us. Of course the physical, emotional and human rush of a gig is the backbone to our culture but the future will be both physical and livecast and if it involves bands as intensely brilliant as Working Mens Club then we have no need to fear.

The young band understand the medium and straddle the live experience with a keen idea of how to make their dark matter digital muse explode from the small phone screen. Instead of being a detached experience the band make you feel like you are there in the modern oblique corners of Manchester’s great YES venue. The multi-camera shoot, with its great angles, the band’s innate intensity and their brilliant multi-layered heavy death disco groove all combine to make something impulsive and compulsive.

Working Mens Club have already embraced technology. They moved fast forward away from their indie guitar roots and ruptured the band into pieces when they moved into dark electronics to create an enthralling 21st century spectral post punk disco trip, a trip that is the perfect soundtrack for this endless moment.

They perform with a perfect stroppy cool and their dance-floor adventures are brilliantly realised. Veterans of this kind of post punk and electronic interface will have enjoyed this perfect tension before in early ACR, DAF, PiL or many other acronymed adventurers but WMC have their own new generation agenda and their shape shifting brilliance transcends the tiny tinny phone speakers and creates a rich sound full of huge and wholesome binary textures. Growing up in the current cultural hot spot of the Calder Valley gives them a perfect outsider perch on the decades old post punk post industrial adventures of Manchester and the ground breaking electronics of post punk Sheffield but what I really love is that they are very much in control of their own creative destiny and are creating their own agenda.

Tonight’s gig is part of this. We may be in chaotic times but the creative young frontline and creating their own agenda and their own soundtrack. 

The rhythms are taut and tight and the keyboards and instruments paint broad and dark brush strokes over the top. In the end it’s impossible to tell which noise comes from where yet it creates an organic whole that draws you into its textures and moody landscapes. Groundbreaking, daring and lacking any notion of compromise, this band and this gig are a portal into an enthralling future music and a feel good pick up that we all needed.

Words by John Robb

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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