I had been encouraged to come and witness Manchester`s latest rising stars Soup! who were tonight the special guests to Hotel Lux on what is the headlining band`s `Hands Across The Creek` UK and European tour following the release of said named album last month. South Manchester based quintet Soup! comprise of Matthew Beswick (vocals/guitar), Connor Riley (guitar), Hayden Gouveia (bass), Rob Jones (synth) and Ben Smith (drums). The band arrive on stage as this intimate venue starts to fill up and singer Matthew tries his best to encourage the nervous onlookers to move forward towards the troupe.
`The Acrobat` introduces us to their music which seems like a number that relates to somebody who has no sense of their own demeanour and how it effects those around them. It`s a delightfully funky number with rapid angular guitar riffs and the narration shared atop in a languid manner which is pitched just right. We have `Sequences` which seems to bleed into a number that may have been `Little Friend`. A number that i`m familiar with `Only Time` blasts out where we enjoy some captivating synth tones and a kind of spoken word oration in the closing segment. There`s a new single due out this Tuesday called `Supplies` which I read is about “the frustration of watching someone close to you live their life in a way you know isn’t going to make them happy in the long-run, and also wanting them to come back to you but feeling selfish about it and questioning your own motivations.”
Tonight`s thirty minute set closes out with the racing `Daily Bread` as the band left us all to digest what we`d witnessed over the last half hour. How would I describe Soup! a mixture of sharp jagged guitar riffs with a leading bass line, pounding drum beat and synth colours thrown in for good measure. They reminded me of bands like The Fall, Orange Juice. Joseph K and Gang Of Four. I`m glad I accepted this suggestion to see these fellas and look forward to hearing and seeing much more of them.
Hotel Lux`s show in Brum is the second date of the UK leg after having performed thirteen dates across Europe already on this twenty two date tour to promote their debut album. Understandably tonight`s gig highlights most of their new album and a few other favourites thrown in for good measure. The band kick off with `Old Timer` where frontman Lewis Duffin really allows his estuary English accent full reign of this delightful earworm of a track. `Points Of View` permits guitarist Sam Coburn to showcase his riffing skills on this fairly fast paced number before he takes over vocal duties on the reflective `Easy Being Lazy`
The band launch into `The Ballad Of You & I` which they tell us is an old one before `Strut` and `Solidarity Song` bring us back to the latest release. There`s a stripped back acoustic segment where the introspective `Morning Is Mourning` is offered which moves into `An Ideal For Living`. The home stretch includes the meditative `Points Of View`, football chant like `National Team` and for me the outstanding song of the night, the really thought provoking `Last Hangman` written about Albert Pierrepoint, the Northern executioner responsible for tying the rope on more than four hundred people in the early 1900s and his dubious morality.
The final song is the quirky `Eastbound and Down` which ends this really fascinating hour`s introduction for me to this South London outfit. It wouldn`t be right not to mention the powerhouse of the band drummer Craig MacVicar, guitarist Jake Sewell, bass player Cam Sims and Dillon Home who shared organ and occasional violin. I hung around for a few minutes but it seemed like there was no encore tonight so apologies if the guys did return as I was on my way home.
Hotel Lux, named after a safe communist house, do appear to be a band that are on the cusp of bigger and brighter things and if you have the opportunity to get to see them i`m sure you`d enjoy their mixture of political, social and urban poetry shared in an enticing mix match of indie post punk styles that they have made all their own.