NOW WAVE presents Health, 22 April at the Deaf Insititute

2017 April 26

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Club nights.

Two words that cause unnatural, haunted stirrings in my soul. If I close my eyes tightly and try to envisage my own personal hell, it would resemble a club night. An indie club night. With an indie DJ playing indie music to indie fans in indie clothes, all at an indie club night.

But that’s just me. Some people like club nights, indie or otherwise. I feel like I’ve said those three words enough for now, so let me move on to something closely approaching my own personal vision of heaven.

NOW WAVE at The Deaf Institute has a remarkable knack for putting on great club nights – and this is me saying that. The key difference with their approach?

They put live bands on.

Great bands. Big names, bands who wouldn’t normally play in town, and up and comers widely acknowledged as essential listening.

And it’s at the Deaf Institute for crying out loud, certainly the most beautiful venue in Manchester, if not beyond.

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Last week they put on a fantastic line-up, each a little bit different, but all tied together in some way. We had music from Banjo or Freakout, a pair of tub-thumpers messing around with keyboards and other noises. They were followed by Blk Jks, an imposing lot, bearing few words besides “We are Blk Jks and we have come all the way from South Africa” and who played some incredibly intricate guitars over many and varied drumbeats and styles.

Meanwhile, headliners Health, much vaunted by the Pitchfork crowd, took to the stage rather late, but the atmosphere in the room was no less electric. The place had started to fill with some of the post-11pm club night crowd, but the sight of pedal boards the size of a small bed being gingerly carried onstage was a reassuring one to say the least.

Looking disgruntled, whether as usual or from some unknown annoyance, Health announced the start of their set with a simple, tried and tested “Hi we’re Health from California”, followed by what can only be described as an explosion.

The four members wielded their instruments as though they were medieval weapons of war, with the lanky, long-haired bassist lunging lackadaisically (ok, enough alliteration) in the general direction of the crowd. The Deaf Institute’s stage may be high enough that the whole room gets a good eyeful, but the square footage up there is sometimes compromised by the movements of a band appearing to be fighting their way out of an invisible paper bag.

The music itself was no less intense: through my ear-plugged lugholes (this writer’s ears have seen, nay, heard better days), drum skins were pounded, occasionally added to by a percussionist, and the guitars, spliced as they were by the array of effects pedals, darted this way and that.

It rounded off an eclectic yet sonically linked line-up of artists all trying to do new and exciting things. And that’s the nature of the NOW WAVE club nights. You can be sure to check out bands you adore, at the same time as falling in love with some other band you’d never heard of.

Next week, Wednesday 29 April, NOW WAVE welcomes DFA Records’ The Juan Maclean with support from Everything Everything and May 68. Tickets are £8 (advance) and there’s free entry to the NOW WAVE clubnight after 11pm if you prefer your club nights sans live music (heaven forbid).

Paul Capewell

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