The Soup Kitchen, Manchester
Micachu & The Shapes are an interesting proposition. They’re about to release their 3rd studio LP but Mica Levi herself also has a parallel career which includes some delightfully weird solo work and also a Bafta nominated film soundtrack. The forthcoming LP ‘ Good Sad Happy Bad’ is also getting some radio play – so I suspect a combination of these different interests has brought loads of people out on a rainy, humid Tuesday evening to hear the three-piece combo play some quite off-kilter art rock. On stage The Shapes are just Mica on guitar and vocals, keyboard player Raisa Khan playing oddly dischordant but instantly catchy riffs (occasionally with her fists) and tireless drummer Marc Pell who switches deftly between hypnotic Krautrock, Glitterbeat and Rockabilly and occasional tempo-shifts as the music dictates. They make an extraordindary noise for a 3 piece, and Mica can whip up quite a growl. It’s hard to describe what they sound like – at times I’m reminded of the tub-thumping Fall circa ‘Totally Wired’, Mica has knack for the breathless guitar riffs of early XTC or The Pop Group and I’m also reminded of art-rock bands like Wire and This Heat at their more extreme end – but there are also elements of modern electronica and pop, including some ribcage rattling basslines that are entirely 2015. It’s great and I love this band – I love them even more more after tonight and the new tracks sound suitably bonkers.
Packed to the rafters, and ‘getting into it’ in an appreciative fashion in spite of the heat.
It made me think..
This is what they want! I’m getting bored of seeing new bands who are ‘tight’ and ‘very good at what they do’. I wish there were more gigs like this where bands push the limits a bit and go a bit weird – and judging by the number of people in attendance and the audience reaction I’m not the only one.