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  • Writer's pictureBeau Waddell

LIVE REVIEW: Yard Act, Warmduscher & Gustaf @ Manchester Apollo

A trio of Dance/Art-Punks greatest 21st century stentorians lit up the Apollo on an unassuming Wednesday night. 

First up on the bill were Gustaf. Frontwoman Lydia Gammill was a remarkable stage presence. Located somewhere between peak no-wave era Michael Gira and Lydia Lunch - as well as a healthy dose of her own manic, simmering energy - she embodied the raucous shards of blitzkrieg sound emanating around her. To her right, Tarra Thiessen (who’s birthday it was that night) dug through a treasure chest of percussion to bring a puckish sense of humour to the proceedings. 

Photo Credit: Dylan Cox @ Liverpool's Invisible Wind Factory

Warmduscher kept the energy ceiling-high, revelling in their groovy sonic mayhem. Clams Baker Jr may have been sunglasses-laden, but his riotous sloganeering to spit in the face of power was transparent, bolstered by their ear-shattering command of synths and noise. Needless to say the moshpit was alive like a hornets nest by this point, it’s sensations as pummelling as the hardcore drum assault firing from the back. 

After these two blistering opening sets came the main attraction: a fiery Yard Act on top form. Stringing together the conscious Post-Punk of their debut album and EP, with the more Hip-Hop and electronic-indebted palette of their recent triumph 'Where’s My Utopia?', the setlist careered from crushing sermons like ‘Down by the Stream’ to rabble-rousers such as ‘The Overload’ and ‘Payday’

Photo Credit: Dylan Cox @ Liverpool's Invisible Wind Factory

James Smith’s controlled lassoing of the English language continues to stun, even more impressively when it’s executed so perfectly amongst his various detours across the stage in the duration of the performance. 

While the backdrop may have been a static statement of intent, the band chose to party through the confusion over modernity expressed within so many of their lyrics: songs were extended to accommodate for dance routines that were more than just window-dressing. Rather, they embodied the band’s central dichotomy; can we still achieve spiritual peace whilst grappling with past failures, something main set closer ‘A Vineyard for the North’ explored in delectable fashion. 

Delighting in the crowd’s electricity, the band issued many thanks throughout the show, culminating in an extended ‘Trench Coat Museum’ to cap off the night: unfurling over 10 minutes, it took in synchronised dance routines, pit chaos, turntable scratching, MC toasting and so much more. 

All things considered, it proved that all three bands are the best they’ve ever been; but something tells me the only way is up for this trio.


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