Saturday 3 September 2022

Dream Wife / Bleach Lab - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 2nd September 2022

Dream Wife headed to Hebden Bridge for an intimate warm-up for their appearance at Manchester Psych Fest on Friday night supported by Bleach Lab. Mixing new material that promises to be their strongest to date with crowd favourites from their first two albums they created a real sense of communal purpose and message whilst drawing everyone in the room into their joy of performance.

Bleach Lab open up the evening with a six-song set featuring recent singles Obviously and Take It Slow from their forthcoming If You Only Feel It Once EP alongside Old Ways, Lighthouse and Flood from last year's A Calm Sense Of Surrounding EP and the lead track and standout release to date Real Thing from its follow-up Nothing Feels Real. The six songs feel connected, each one with its own personality, but with a kindred spirit aimed at enveloping the listener rather than bowling them over with raw power with Jenna's vocals dipping in and out over the surface of them rather than sitting dead centre above and you sense the audience warming to them as the set progresses, the cheer getting louder as each one draws to an end.

Within a couple of songs Dream Wife are complaining about the heat on stage and it's no surprise given the ferocious energy that they put into their performance. Rakel, Alice and Bella barely stand still for the hour they're on stage and it's exhausting just watching them, but also exhilarating to watch a band with such joy and purpose in their music. As Sports becomes a duel between Alice and Bella with Rakel as arbiter and crowd cheerleader and as she sits down and watches the two of them extend out the intro to a blistering and unequivocal in its message F.U.U. (Fuck You Up) it feels like they're whipping up an unstoppable energy and power that transmits itself to an initially static crowd.

Their message is one of inclusivity. At the start of Somebody, Rakel takes time out to tell us that we need to break down gender constructs and that the only criteria for being one of the "bad bitches" that they invite down to the front for the song with the punch (to the face) line of "I am not my body, I am somebody" is that you look after the other bad bitches. Looking around the crowd the audience varies from teenage girls to older women, from young guys to some approaching pensionable age. Yet they're all focused on the stage and singing along to every word of the older songs in a way that most bands with a narrower spectrum of fans could only hope to achieve.

Their method of spreading that message is through joy, and there's a lot of joy in the performance and the audience reaction even when the subject matter turns a little darker on Validation and one of the new songs Leech. Hot may deal in the perils of relationships - "don't date a musician, they see you as competition" which will pose many questions when it's inevitably released as a single from their third album, but in the moment here it's delivered with joy alongside the dismissal of the fragile ego of the other party.

They finish with their traditional set-closer Let's Make Out, one final summoning of the little energy that haven't already spent and they leave to the roars for more ringing around the venue for a good five minutes. Like everything else about them, Dream Wife don't deal in fake rituals though, they are direct, uncompromising and in your face and right up there amongst the very best live bands in the country.

Dream Wife's official website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.  They played Hey Heartbreaker, Hasta La Vista, So When You Gonna Kiss Me, Hot, Temporary, Fire, Validation, Somebody, Sports, Leech, F. U. U. and Let's Make Out.

Bleach Lab's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

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