Wednesday 22 March 2023

Brand New Legs / The Redroom / The Basement Collective - Manchester Night And Day - 21st March 2023

Brand New Legs launched their new EP Basement View with a packed out show at Manchester's Night And Day Cafe on Tuesday night, playing the EP in full, early singles, some unreleased material and a couple of showstopping covers. Support came from the equally impressive The Redroom and The Basement Collective.

When The Night And Day is packed and buzzing like this with a young enthusiastic audience there isn’t a better place to watch music in town. The bands know it, the crowd know it. If the council are going to support grassroots as they say they need to get to know it.

There's not much information to be found online about The Basement Collective so we go into their set completely blind. What we see is a band that, almost appropriately given their name, are best suited to small smoky jazz club basements. The level of musicianship on show is extraordinary, whether it be the Freddie's sax, Rory's keys, Tom's guitar or Charlie's bass, all of which are given their moment in the spotlight to shine individually or Martha's warm rich vocals that sit atop the hazy wonderfulness of the music. Their drummer Izzy sits way back, as is the stage set-up for Night And Day, and provides the glue that holds this all together. At times the music feels like it's there to show off the capability of the musicians rather than to form a song as there's long instrumental breaks where one of them takes centre stage but that's by no means a bad thing when it's this good. The crowd, already extremely busy for a rainy midweek, rightfully adore them. And it's great to see so many people down and watching the support bands.

The Redroom have already sold out this venue on their own headline show earlier this year and plenty of the crowd seem to know them already, such is the way Manchester adopts bands from other cities when they move here, in The Redroom's case from Newcastle. Their seven-song set is a mightily impressive one that sets a high bar for Brand New Legs to follow. Fronted by Jess with a vocal that's as comfortable at home with the set's soulful moments such as early single Time, their next one The Woman From Nowhere and the unreleased After The Storm as it is when The Redroom let loose, they go beyond the indie rock band which they describe themselves. 

Their final two songs - Nostalgia and Forced Stability - are particularly powerful, songs that feel like they belong on the radio and in festival fields and which, as evidenced by the audience response, possess the ability to connect to new listeners as well as be sung back word perfect by those who already know them. They'll be headlining bigger rooms than this in their own right in the not too distant future.

The same can be said for Brand New Legs. The anticipation in the room is feverish as they take to the stage and the screams around us tell their own story about how they've become one of the hottest properties in town. The room is full of (mostly) young devotees and they know every single word of these songs like they've written them themselves and they're being lived out vicariously through Jenny. The band at times look like they've overwhelmed by the response that they get, a beaming smile is never far from Jenny's face as the roar kicks in at the end of each song, but it's something that they're going to have to get used to very quickly.

They open with early single Pleasure before playing the five tracks from their Basement View EP, released just a couple of hours before the show, in order. Those songs demonstrate the versatility and skill that Brand New Legs possess. Bloom ends in a flurry and headrush of guitars that's thrilling and exciting. The EP's lead single Porcelain has Jenny stopping astonished at people singing it back to them and roars as Rory lets rip with a stunning guitar solo before the song drops down to Jenny singing with a depth and richness that you associate with the most celebrated of vocalists. Laurel is stripped down and intimate without losing the power to connect with the crowd who are spellbound by them. They're joined by a second Rory, from The Basement Collective, for the EP's final song Freckles. Gloriously soulful, more intense yet still holding the audience, it's a song about telling someone to learn to love themselves that resonates with the front rows as Jenny takes a step onto the barriers at the front to sing it.

They then take on a cover of Gnarls Barkley's classic Crazy. It's unnecessary in the context of the quality of their own material, but it's a lighter fun moment in the set that's expanded to forty five minutes as headliners and allows Jenny to showcase that voice in a more familiar context while the band are note perfect. The screams from the crowd continue unabated as Jenny introduces the two Rories, Ethan and Lucas as they interchange guitars again.

It's back to their own material and a new song Slut For A Hug is probably the highlight of the evening. Set to a gloriously groovy backing with half-spoken half-sung verses that almost resemble a rap at first before breaking out into something more eloquent. They make it look so effortless creating something that has you hooked on first listen. Another brand new song, played for the first time, Reference, shows that there's no danger of Brand New Legs slipping into the rut many bands do of finding a song that gets some attention and trying to recreate different versions of it. There's an ambition and fearlessness to them that will stand them in good stead.  Reference stops, starts, builds and drops and possesses the sort of accomplished songwriting you'd expect from bands years into their career, yet still sounds fresh and invigorating. 

They finish the main part of the set with Shade, a song that became a viral internet hit via a video. It's not hard to tell why, it hits you instantly and the crowd lose themselves even deeper. The roars for an encore are deafening and they come back on for a cover of Etta James I'd Rather Go Blind that's worth the admission price alone before they leave with chants of "Brand New Legs" ringing in their ears. Those that knew them before love them even more, those that didn't are newly smitten. Brand New Legs have the potential to go a long way, you can see this being scalable up into big spaces right now - they've got the songs, the musicians, a vocalist who simply demands that you stop and listen and they know how to connect with their audience and make them feel part of the show.  

Brand New Legs are on Facebook and Twitter.

The Redroom are on Facebook and Twitter.


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