Features, Music

Duvet / Martial Arts / Rude Films @ YES Basement review – Manchester newcomers cover all angles

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Featured image: Alexis Panidis


Easing Manchester’s gig-goers into the new year, Hot Take is a series of curated shows in YES’s cosy basement, spotlighting a selection of the city’s best new bands. Cruush packed the place out last weekend, and it’s a healthy contingent that welcomes Rude Films tonight. Peeking out through a smoke machine peasouper, the quartet steam out of the traps with clonking drums and a riff that would make Josh Homme raise an impressed eyebrow.

Once they lock into a groove, it takes an angle grinder to pry them away from it. ‘Death Hex’ is an obtuse choice for their new single, but its lolloping bassline mingles with ectopic beats and somehow connects. Toes tap and bobble hats bob in unison. Their murkiness would be a dirge in the wrong hands, but Rude Films know what they’re doing.

Chirps of anticipation take hold during the changeover. The whispers about Martial Arts have become open chatter, and the ‘sold out’ signs are up by time they let rip into ‘Triumph’. “You’ll be swept away,” barks frontman Jim Marson, a frosty death stare solidifying the threat. 

A swell of bodies appears during ‘Defector’. Guitarist Matty Pearce, blessed with a voice that could dissolve acid, carries its irresistible gruff melody while his head shakes like an uncoiled jack-in-the-box. The band jab their way through debut single, ‘Warsaw’ (due out on February 28th), but ‘The New House’ is their calling card, with the pockets of dancing it already elicits surely destined to multiply.

Marson sheds his guitar for ‘Self Portrait’s big finish, snarling straight through the front rows and leaving the shell-shocked throng with nothing left but wordless exclamation marks. 

By contrast, Duvet are a more knockabout proposition, with tongues pushed so far into their collective cheeks that they almost rupture. Singer, Grace Walkden, is the charismatic focal point. She flings her limbs every which way and takes huge, shoulder-heaving gulps of air, before unleashing screams of such magnitude that they shatter glasses in the main bar upstairs. It’s debatable whether she needs the mic at all; if nuclear armageddon descends, she’d make a perfect manual warning system.

“Duvet, Duvet, Duvet!” chant the faithful between songs, while Walkden shimmies, hands on hips, through the delirious fun of recent single, ‘Girlcow’. The band plays rudimentary music devoid of subtlety, but that’s both to their credit and detriment. They’re a one-trick pony, but it’s a decent trick, embodied by the closing ‘Sweaty Dog’. Those in thrall down the front obey the “and you will dance to it” command, but half the crowd have already made their excuses.

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Ian Burke

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