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Now & Next Tour ft. HotWax / Aziya / Duvet @ Deaf Institute review – DIY tour delivers a trilogy of formidable new talent

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Featured image: Jennifer Grace


UK-based music magazine DIY introduced their Now & Next Tour last year. Spanning ten cities in a fortnight, it’s back bigger and better for 2024. 

The modest scattering of early birds are treated to the post-punk uppercut of Duvet. The five-piece are captivating, forceful and untethered. The guttural scream of Grace Walkden opens ‘Clown Clown Clown’, a whirlwind of a tune that evokes Bikini Kill in both sound and attitude.

Walkden pounds a cowbell for ‘Girlcow’, while ‘Rodeo’ and ‘Sweaty Dog’ are endued with a sonic freneticism, an urgency to their rushing rhythms.

Bassist Jimmi Brown oozes effortless cool in leopard print and an ‘I Am Mark E Smith’ t-shirt, with a broody bass face for good measure. Meanwhile, Tasmin Stephens has a Sky Ferreira ‘it girl’ chicness about her and Seth Lloyd channels the energy of a young Johnny Marr. Victoria Melling on the drums, a real-life Kim Pine, rounds out this thrashing fivesome.

They share giggles between songs, with Stephens and Lloyd gleefully rubbing their guitar frets together for their final song before hugging one another during the final applause. Slated to return to Deaf for Manchester Psych Fest later this year, Duvet are one to catch quickly before larger venues call their name.

Special guest Aziya is next up, backed by drummer Sam. “Thanks for welcoming us Southerners”, she declares through a coy smile. ‘Chain’, which has a 2013 Paramore-esque quality, drives along on Sam’s dynamic drumming and is enriched by Aziya’s velvety vocals. “Put on a chain, on a chain… Ah ah ah!” She sings to the crowd’s approval. 

‘Party’s Over’ has the pop-rock stylings of Willow’s lately I feel EVERYTHING album, which is followed by Aziya descending into the crowd with her guitar for ‘Slip!’. The set, though humble in length, is compelling and alongside the undeniable charms of both Aziya and Sam, makes for a winning combination that is well received at the Deaf Institute.

HotWax are hanging around at the side of the stage just before going on, within easy reaching distance – the blurred divide between artist and fans is a unique quality of this venue. They ascend onstage before quickly launching into a no holds barred set.

‘Phone Machine’, featured on 2023’s Invite me, kindly EP, delivers crisp harmonies from vocalist/guitarist Tallulah Sim-Savage and bassist Lola Sam, captured well on record, but impressively exaggerated live. ‘e Flat’, from the same record, is also a fun moment, with its infuriated calls of “I just wanna read a book!” from the stage and spectators alike.

‘Treasure’, the opener from their A Thousand Times EP, has a heavy chorus that feels like an early Royal Blood tune and a racing intro worthy of The Strokes. The EP’s title track slows the tempo, but it’s smothered in a sonic sludge that reaches a rewarding crescendo.

‘Rip It Out’, though, receives one of the most fervent reactions of the night, a sea of heads moving up and down like a game of whack-a-mole, while drummer Alfie Sayers thrashes through the chorus like their life depends on it. The Hastings trio are innately attuned to one another the whole time; this connection is one of the secret ingredients to their sound.

“Thanks so much, it means so much to us,” Tallulah says, in a voice so sweet that it makes the formidable vocal performances throughout the night that much more endearing. Next back in Manchester for Psych Fest alongside Duvet, the noise around HotWax will soon be louder than the band itself and there’s no time like now to get ahead of the racket.

About the author / 

Jennifer Grace

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