Tuesday 22 March 2016

DIIV / Ulrika Spacek / Aldous RH - Manchester Gorilla - 20th March 2016

Sunday night sees Gorilla transformed into a strange mix of hipster musos and some incredibly young kids all fixated by the curious musical phenomenon that is DIIV. What starts out weirdly as Zachary tries in vain to get someone to adjust the front of the projector to get their visuals set up behind them on the wall finishes in near chaos as the crowd surfers brave the heaving mosh pit as the crowd gets lost in one of the most thrilling gigs this venue has probably ever seen.

Opening up are Manchester's Aldous RH and, despite not really taking to them at the start of the set, by the end of it we're loving them. Where else would you get to hear a bongo solo these days for starters, but despite the brilliance of that they're about much more than just that. Their final song Sensuality feels like a never-ending jam rooted in those influences that permeated through the likes of A Certain Ratio and many of Manchester's finest bands of that ilk, but with a thoroughly modern feel to them, but throughout their set, they reveal themselves to be a tight live outfit pushing their own boundaries, even though the bit mid-set where they try to get everyone to sit down on the floor strikes us as a bit odd, and generally succeeding. We started off indifferent and finished intrigued and wanting to know more.

Next up are Ulrika Spacek, who we know nothing about before they come on and whilst we were expecting some dark-haired Swedish chanteuse, they're one of the hardest rock and roll bands we've come across in a while. So much for a name. Their set is based around their recent debut LP The Album Paranoia, which we pick up after they've finished, which is probably the best recommendation we can give you. Huge loud guitars test the Gorilla sound system to its very limits, but it's not all noise, there's far more that going on - think the way Ride, The Mary Chain et al managed to weave beautiful yet harsh melodies into their wall of sound and you'll get the general drift.

The start of DIIV's set is one of the most bizarre things we've ever witnessed at a gig. They're already twenty minutes late before they clamber on stage, Zachary coming through the crowd before instructing someone, or anyone, repeatedly to adjust the front of the projector upstairs to focus their video show on the back wall. It gets more surreal the longer it goes on and people start to get restless, but after a few minutes he decides to just go for it and once we're a few songs in it's all forgotten and it's hard to see what it could possibly have added to the gig, such is the impact of the music on the crowd which moshes in a way we've never seen Gorilla do before.

The set mixes tracks from both their debut Oshin and their recent follow-up Is The Is Are although at times, unlike so many bands, it's impossible to time date the early from the new given the fervent reaction everything gets. DIIV are at their most impressive when they crank up their guitars to full and let loose to deliver the soundtrack to the lives of many of those going wild just feet in front of them.

As Dust, Waste Of Breath and Doused bring the set to a close, we're almost expecting a full on stage invasion and complete mayhem as the odd kid comes out of the pit looking completely knackered yet exhilarated in the way that only music that means everything to you can make you feel. It might not quite speak the same to us, but we know from our own experiences how it feels exactly the moment a band grabs you in that way and it's impossible to deny the power of these songs and the performance.

DIIV's official website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Ulrika Spacek's official website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Aldous RH's official website can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

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