31st October | Louisiana
Working Men’s Club thrilled a packed Louisiana with a muscular Halloween night performance.
The Manchester four-piece may only have two singles out, but their live repertoire is solid evidence of their future sound. Heading in the direction traced by latest single ‘Teeth’, Working Men’s Club are letting the drum machine go wild, as if they aimed to keep their distances from the ‘indie’ label they’ve been identified with probably too soon. Undoubtedly their numbers, like ‘Bad Blood’, have echoes of 80s indie-rock and post-punk à-la Orange Juice and Talking Heads.
However, WMC’s performance was pervaded by a dark aura of unsettlement and angst, matched by the haunting, wannabe-techno wild beats of the drum machine. The instrument is such a key player in the identity of the band that the four-piece needs no drummer to impress.
If WCM’s debut single seemed to justify their contract with Heavenly Records, the band’s latest sound incarnation fascinatingly and simultaneously goes back to the label’s early dance-baggy catalogue and moves toward unpredicted Kraftwerk-on-pills electronic experimentations. Even older numbers are given a slight robotic retouch, in line with the band’s new identity.
The recently renovated line-up still needs to work on synergy, but frontman Syd Mynsky makes up for it. His ecstatic and impetuous performance highlighted how crucial his role is to the band’s identity. Coming on stage wrapped for Halloween in a Burberry-patterned shirt-skirt combo, it only took him two songs to ditch the guitar in favour of a cowbell and end up bare-chested, swinging from the stage’s ceiling towards the crowd.
Syd is magnetic, a deeply sensitive artist who would, at the same time, not hesitate to pick a fight in the streets. It’s this strong dichotomy that makes Working Men’s Club an extremely captivating act, able to simultaneously mix a sophisticated indie-pop appeal with a darker and twisted side. Working Men’s Club’s music is both an aspiration to raving to distinctively late-80s warehouse sounds and to wish inside demons away through a wild performance. Coming from Manchester, their songs drip with an attitude closer to the working class’ life associated with their name than to the swaggering braggadocio of the Gallaghers.
The crowd could have undoubtedly done better to respond to the band’s groove, missing an opportunity to turn the gig into a party. Surely the full-to-the-brim room didn’t help with moves, but the audience’s lack of transport seemed to somehow diminish the solid performance delivered by the band. After a powerful and tightly played ‘Teeth’, that saw Syd jumping off stage to perform among the crowd, the singer left the room through the main door. No encore, just the sonic impact of the neat ending of the song that left an aftertaste of nihilism and a sense of inside void compared to the outside’s loudness.
There’s something spiritual in Working Men’s Club new direction and live shows like this one are the right way to witness the band’s transitioning status. Keep your eyes on them.
See the video for ‘Teeth’ here: