As DUDS play The Bagelry, Getintothis’ Matthew Wood finds a solid exhibition of Northern alt-rock.
To put his nerves to rest, it seemed his microphone would refuse to reach optimum volume, and he was going to have to scream his way through the set with little vocal aid…
What the set lacks in distinguishable vocals, the riotous trio make up for in their tight, energetic set. For each gig they play, they seem to settle a little more in themselves; those early jitters are nearly completely ironed out and they perform with an ever-growing confidence, sitting comfortably in their respective elements, even if they don’t look quite so comfortable.
Guitarist, Liam Bates is unfortunate when a stray foot in the audience would unknowingly unplug a pedal mid-song, but from here he didn’t look back. His schizophrenic style shifts from heavy blasts of breakneck speed chords through to more melodic, often jangly avenues, covering both rhythm and lead guitar duties single handed.
After minor sound faults, it was up to Ohmns to give their freebie PA a whirl a few minutes before their set. This would prove a smart idea from the off, while there’s still microphone difficulties, the stoner doom-laden jams are fantastically brutal and punishing. Their drummer is a relentless powerhouse, keeping the tempo high and the intervals to a minimum offering us renditions of Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure as well as Kumbaya, when sound issues took another turn for the worse.
Paul Is Sure taken from their Rice Tape is a simmering juggernaut of a track, opening on a relatively tame chord progression, before they explode into a Ty Segall’s FUZZ style rumble, yelping sans microphone over their bludgeoning blasts.
The failing PA means their bass guitar cuts out mid-set and this proves the final nail in the coffin for Ohmns tonight.
Third on the bill is noise-punk trio, Mincemeat, who performed here at The Bagelry last year, supporting Plax. Their charismatic front man prowls with purpose from the off, catapulting into Heels taken from their debut EP; a stomping jam charged with a mighty sludgy bass line.
Their set grows with strength as it progresses, amid the roaring noise come flourishes of bluesy, rock & roll riffs that encrust their pulsing set. Their front man continues his prowl into the audience, marking his territory before freaking out on the spot, attacking his guitar with all his might.
For their final tune he ventures even further afield and takes his place up on the Bagel counter, ditching his guitar to reel off his favourite bagel toppings from the menu; unruly, wild and entertaining, all that punk should be.
It was time for DUDS to hit us with their mass assemblage of jaunty talent as the seven of them clamber into position, clad in their humble uniforms of metallic blue epaulet shirts.
For those of you who’ve heard their debut record, Of A Nature or Degree, you’ll be familiar with the Manchester band’s super tight, angular brand of art rock. DUDS are indeed a guitar band with great attention to detail in ensuring those jarring, discordant stabs of guitar sit just awkwardly enough with the other, and while their record exhibits some astounding percussive and rhythmic patterns, its in their live performances that this really comes alive.
From the first jagged edged note, The Bagelry springs to life. An impressive collection of cowbells sits astride the drum kit, intelligent strikes scatter the lively ensemble and we’re treated to some quite spectacular rhythmic expression.
Cinematic horns join the cacophony lighting Reward Indifference up with their emotive fanfare, both horn players gambol on stage awaiting their cues, and the audience feels their energy and joins them as they move tribally along to the math-rock infused concoction.
The septet race through their record, Elastic Seal emerges from the pangs of their lead guitarist, shuffling unexpectedly into a Bowser’s Castle-esque jam, fuelled with a barrage of lightning quick wrists hammering heavily on their guitar strings.
Keine, in contrast, feels drowsy in comparison, rumbling toms and a tumbling riff give the feel of an Omni track thrown down a spiral staircase. However it’s their final song of the night that stands out, the record opener, No Remark. With this one they strike a perfect balance of skittish beats, agile bass work and they even cram in a hasty guitar solo.
At this point the crowd is impressed but left desperately hungry for more; their energy is enchanting and their compositions are oddly addictive bitesize chunks of dark, DIY, post-punk goodness.
Despite the excruciating sound issues, the nights is otherwise a success and a healthy injection of hype into a scene that deserves such nurturing.
DUDS continue their Europa tour into February and for those of you who missed out, they’ll be back in Manchester on February 23 for their closing gig.