Saturday 26 August 2023

Thus Love / Van Houten - Manchester Yes - 25th August 2023

Thus Love delighted a packed Pink Room at Yes on Friday night with a set of tracks from their 2022 album Memorial as well as some brand new tracks from its unreleased follow-up supported by Leeds six-piece Van Houten.

It's a shame the room isn't as full for Van Houten as it is later for the headliner as their set is equally impressive. The six-piece's six-song set is laden with instinctive hooks and grooves that draw the initially reticent audience in as it progresses, the songs possessing identities of their own but with enough familiarity to make the initial connections from which the receptive response grows as the set progresses even ignoring their half-hearted attempt at stoking some cross-Pennine rivalry. 

Opener Black And White makes an impressive introduction and by the time they reach final song Let You they've won over most of us with their infectious energy and love of what they're doing. With only one of the six songs (You And Me) available to stream, they seem set to make their mark over the next few months with the remainder.

The room's full for Thus Love, word has spread of their triumphant show in the basement of the building six months ago and the love that 6 Music has thrown their way. The audience is a real mix, from young women, on their own and in groups, to older hands who've been around and seen exciting North American import after another through the doors of Manchester's venues. 

Thus Love don't fuck about. Whilst most bands would save their big hitters for the end of the set, they go for the jugular at the start with Repetitioner, In Tandem and Inamorato, their three most popular streamed songs opening the set. It's a sign of confidence in their ability to hold the audience and they do just that through the hour that they're on stage. The rhythm section of Nathaniel and Lu is tight and powerful and allows Echo the space to live our guitar fantasies in between delivering half-sung half-drawled vocals that feel like they've been transported from hot sweaty clubs of 1970s New York into the current time. 

House On A Hill sees Nathaniel take over vocals at the end as Echo moves away from the mic and stands there eyes shut, dead still except for hands on the fretboard living out rock and roll fantasies. The crowd love them. Early single and first song they ever wrote together Pith And Point is rougher round the edges, a contrast that's even more marked next to post-album single Centerfield that is the penultimate number in the main set which finishes with a frantic Put On Dog. Their encore Lost In Translation is short, brief and to the point and leaves the audience wanting more. They may come from a small town in Vermont, but Thus Love are very much at home in these big city venues, thrilling and exciting crowds.

Thus Love are on Facebook and Twitter.

Van Houten are on Facebook and Twitter.

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