Not content with already having the monopoly over Manchester’s best gigs, Now Wave and Deaf Institute seem to have larger things in mind. Whilst fans from the Good Shoes gig in the upstairs music hall milled about in the bar area post-gig and attendees for Now Wave’s own club night poured in, the doors opened to the venue’s basement, hosting its first ever gig.
Originally billed with So Cow headlining, that plan was quickly nullified by the eruption of a volcano or something. Spectrals don’t seem like the kind of band to be bothered about such hiccups. By the time they come on stage at quarter to midnight, the small room is fit to bursting, whilst the stick heat suits their swirling, surf rock sound. Whilst they’ve done countless support slots on the bigger stage upstairs, down in the cramped, awkward surroundings, performing face to face, they’ve really found their home. Their set is the usual mix of sun-tinged blues and a superb Billy Childish cover.
Spectrals debut album is slated for later this year, and whilst it should see them get the recognition they rightfully deserve, it could mark the end of a golden era of performances with fellow hopefuls Mazes. Having played countless gigs together, a house party and with May seeing the two share a 7”, the two outfits seem to counterbalance each other perfectly.
With limbs loosened by alcohol, the crowd seize the opportunity to have a dance with both hands, jumping about in time with the threesome. Mazes are almost a completely different animal in the flesh compared to their recorded works. The lazy strumming transforms into frantic, jagged riffs, whilst drums turn from relaxed to relentless, genuinely getting the pulse racing, whilst punters visiting the toilets from upstairs take advantage of the lapse on the door to pile in to show for free.
The hype has obviously travelled further afield than the basement itself, though, as Darwin Deez and friends, fresh from their NME Radar show down the road, rush down the stairs midway through Bowie Knives and dutifully join in, turning almost every head in the room in the process. It’s a shame that this can’t last forever, but if the 50 or so people who saw these performances learnt anything, it’s that these two bands are destined to fill out venues far, far bigger than this.
Spectrals – It’s Okay not to be Okay
Mazes – Painting of Tupac Shakur