The first of a new series of BBC Introducing showcases at Manchester's Night And Day Cafe saw headliners and hometown heroes Ist Ist play their first non-distanced show in the city since June 2019 with an impressive supporting cast of Introducing favourites The Goa Express, Abbie Ozard and Julia Bardo in a sold-out venue of music lovers making their first excited tentative steps back out into the world of gigging again.
No disrespect to the other bands on the bill, but this is a seriously intimate show for Ist Ist, stepping down from bigger venues to play their first non-socially distanced show for eighteen months in the place they played for the first time ever. They're not your traditional Introducing band either having grown organically over the past few years to the point where they reached the highest points of the physical album charts with their debut album Architecture last year.
The first half of the set features that album heavily, its brooding bass-heavy opener Wolves shakes the walls of the Night And Day before they dispense of a trio of songs - early single You're Mine and album stand-outs Black and Discipline - that really set the pulses racing, steeped in elements of the city's musical history, but brought right up to date and delivered with a mix of clinical precision and passion wrought in Adam's vocals that seem to be stronger every time they play. Love Song, played at that first gig at breakneck speed, is slowed down to funereal pace yet feels even more impactful. Night's Arm, another survivor from that night, is driven by an unstoppable momentum and connection with the audience.
Album two is about to hit the ground running though, and the three appetisers they serve us tonight - Fat Cat Drown In Milk, Extreme Greed and It Stops Where It Starts - suggests Ist Ist's trajectory is going to continue upwards artistically, and if they can catch one of the rides denied to them by the industry with Architecture commercially too. Extreme Greed has the sort of soaring build and chorus that people would be filling buckets with if they were from the East Coast of America whilst It Stops Where It Starts has a sharp spiked edge to it that threatens to tear the room apart. They finish with Slowly We Escape, a slow-builder into a raw explosion of sound that sees Andy's adrenalin pump so fast he almost topples from the front of the stage, bass in hand, as he moves forward to survey their kingdom. Ten songs and forty minutes these days feels like you've been short-changed with Ist Ist, the list of songs missing longer than the set itself, yet still the heart pumps faster, the pulses race quicker and everything feels for a moment like it's back to normal.
Their debut album Architecture is available to order from their store on vinyl as well as CD, cassette and download. Our review of the
album can be found here.
Digital versions of their previous limited edition releases and a number of live field recordings are available to download from their Bandcamp.
They are currently scheduled to tour at Liverpool Invisible Wind Factory FESTEVOL (August 7), Blackpool Bootleg Social (November 26), Hebden Bridge Trades Club (28), Birmingham Dead Wax (December 1), London Camden Assembly (2), Bristol Louisiana (3), Nottingham Bodega (4), Leeds Hyde Park Book Club (8), Glasgow Broadcast (9), Sheffield Record Junkee (10), Manchester Academy 2 (11) and Manchester Ritz (18, supporting The Chameleons)
Julia Bardo's website can be found here and she is on Facebook and Twitter. Bauhaus L'Appartamento is released on October 1 and can be preordered via Piccadilly Records. She plays Preston Ferret (July 22), Manchester Psych Fest (September 4), Leicester O2 Academy (18), Manchester Yes (26), Birmingham Hare And Hounds (October 6), Sheffield Sidney And Matilda (14), Nottingham Bodega (17) and Halifax Albany Arcade (22).