Ritz, Manchester, 18/11/2015
published: 5 /
Billy Seagrave gets immersed in the formidable sound of Lushes at Manchester's Ritz
Brooklyn-based duo, Lushes, take to the stage at The Ritz in Manchester having been in the country for a very short period of time. They step up admirably to fill the void left by Waxahatchee who pulled out of supporting Kurt Vile and The Violators' European tour due to health problems. Lushes consist of James Ardery, on guitar and vocals, and Joel Myers, who is responsible for drum, percussion and sampling.
Ardery heads to the front of the stage to introduce the band against a backdrop of lights symbolising the French Flag. In a very poignant tribute to those who had lost their lives, he asks everyone to have a great night and to reflect on the tragedy that recently unfolded in Paris.
The crowd are still filing in when the band commence the set with 'Dead Girls'. The track is a cross between post-modern electro-punk, and space age retro vibes, intertwined with a gritty monotone vocal delivery which at first seems disjointed. The venue is nearly at capacity when the next track 'Audition' is delivered to a very attentive crowd. It is clear Ardery and Myers are masters of the slow build-up.
'Settlecase' and 'Traffic' continue in a similar vein. Myers' precision drumming and drum machine intervention sets the sound bed for Ardery's eerie, almost haunting vocal array. With hints of Josh Homme, along with the dryness and delivery of Lou Reed, coupled with a guitar structure so intricately layered, it almost becomes transcendental.
'Feastin' begins with what is becoming Lushes' trademark slow build up, Ardery's vocals become tribal, with incessant chanting, that actually has the crowd joining in. At ten minutes long, it’s as if a spirit has been let loose in the venue and the full powerhouse of the band is firmly unleashed.
The simple structure of the track 'Bleach' makes way for the brilliant 'Circus'. There is a dynamism about this track that produces a unique sound, something many try to emulate, and few succeed with the ease of this duo.
Rather too quickly 'Check' is the last track of the evening, once again impeccably layered and forcefully delivered. On this performance it is easy to see why the band were brought in as more than capable substitutes at the last minute.
At the moment we have a plethora of duo bands on the scene, most drum and guitar/bass orientated and many gaining acclaimed success. Having watched and been immersed in the essence of Lushes' performance tonight, the band are certainly capable of being formidable players in this niche market.
One of the great things about seeing support bands is you usually get to see something different. Lushes are different. They are very much worth seeing.
Photographs by Billy Seagrave