Ulrika Spacek, Mush & Wedding – Soup Kitchen, Manchester – 10/10/17

Bathed in an orange glow, Berlin-born, Manchester-bred Wedding are the dreamiest support band you can see. It’s beach vibes all round as Thomas Craig’s Brian Jones haircut and the remainder of the quartet take us through some of Mania Whatever’s undeniably sublime numbers. It’s a stunning debut album with a faultless tracklist – but the set’s highlight is the crooning ‘Rocket Ship’, Rory Cook’s guitar riffs perfectly whining along with Craig’s hazy vocals. Pretty melodies, perfect harmonies, and a killer onstage aesthetic – what’s not to love?

Mush have been making a name for themselves as of late – the Leeds quartet whose recent singles ‘Luxury Animals’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ have proved they’re a talented bunch. It’s a methodical set crammed full of jarring guitars and succinct vocals as the four play with meticulous precision, winning over the crowd who’ve specifically headed down early to catch the action. It’s reminiscent of Omni, it’s a little bit Deerhunter – but most importantly, it’s a performance that secures Mush’s reputation as one of the UK’s best up-and-coming bands.

The ethereal ‘Circa 1954’ welcomes Ulrika Spacek onstage – one of The Album Paranoia’s standout tracks that pushed the debut LP into being of the most highly-regarded of 2016. Bringing their usual projector setup along for the ride, the Reading five-piece feed the explosive ‘Strawberry Glue’ into ‘I Don’t Know’ as neon psychedelic visuals swirl along behind.

It’s easy to see why Ulrika Spacek have made such an impact since they burst onto the scene back in 2014 – because there’s simply no other band like them. Soup Kitchen’s crammed basement feels ready to burst, every scream of approval echoing alongside Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams’ whirring guitar riffs. Ben White’s plodding basslines and Callum Brown’s trance-like drums transform the set into a transcendental experience. It’s hypnotic, it’s thunderous – and its effortlessly idyllic.

There’s no shortage of Modern English Decoration tracks, either – June’s sophomore release that offers up some less grunge-heavy optimism than its predecessor. Joseph Stone doubles up as both keyboardist and guitarist on the crashing shoegaze anthem ‘Victorian Acid’; ‘Silvertonic’ feels vaguely Radiohead as Edwards’ vocals reach staggering heights. With strobe lights plentifully littered around, the five are masters at curating a performance that feels ‘your standard gig’, and more ‘art exhibition’.

As the encore of ‘She’s A Cult’ bids farwell to Ulrika Spacek, there’s not a person in the room who isn’t cheering. It’s clear that once again, this quintet have won over the hearts of Manchester by blessing us with a window into their unique world. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long before they’re back.

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