Calva Louise / Naked Six / Gaygirl - YES, Manchester

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

Despite supposedly being the day of rest, it seemed the majority of Manchester’s indie scene had descended on YES Basement on Sunday evening. Filtering from the cold, the underground room gradually filled with eagerly waiting music fans.

Bringing anti-century punk with a twist of 1970’s psychedelia, Naked Six stomped around the stage with brilliant swagger and tunes to suit. The basslines to their opening few tracks possessed a Led Zeppelin-esque groove, beneath a retro, brittle guitar tone. The title track of their upcoming album, Lost Art Of Conversation, sounded like a hidden gem of a B-Side by one of the 70s icons. Banger proceeded banger, before Naked Six played their latest single Gimme Something, a tune that oozed Queens Of The Stone Age’s Rated R with British embellishments. The band then dipped their toe into The Hives territory for a few tracks before Another Day, their final song of the evening, which had such an abrupt ending, it brought nothing but discontent to YES. The Manchester trio could’ve played for hours to a crowd who were lapping them up.

The night was flipped on its head as Gaygirl brought haunting reverb to a smoky YES, introducing graveyard vibes. Unapologetically, the London band stormed through their dream sequence, garage rock; serving up vibes from The Wytches mixed with riffs from The Little Flames and The Coral. As the venue slowly reached its maximum capacity, Gaygirl played a more typically ‘indie’ number, which went down a storm with the eager crowd. The four-piece were brilliant in utilising pace to create atmosphere and keep the crowd captivated, reducing drums to a walking pace before an explosive finale.

The sweaty, rammed basement was ready for Calva Louise, with the DJ was heightening the excitement further. The lights then dimmed; a blue neon Calva Louise sign was visible through the smoke. The time had come. From opening track, Sleeper, the crowd sang every lyric, guitar note and backing vocal. This was the makings of a special gig.

Frontwoman, Jess, kept the crowd bewitched with her welcoming nature, having a chat with the audience between songs before Tug Of War, which was met by a frantic mosh-pit. The set flowed through pre-recorded political speeches, a mix of brilliant harmonies and mind-bending guitar effects; leading the band to introduce their debut release I’m Gonna Do Well, which was met by a deafening reception, and clearly displayed how the London trio were destined for greatness from the off. Every song in the set was a strong argument that Calva Louise are some of the best songwriters and performers around at the moment, Jess’ decision to join the mosh-pit for her guitar solo added more weight to this claim.

The final note of closing track, Belicoso, was met by the begging of another by the giddy Manchester crowd, before the band re-took the stage and blasted through Out Of Use shaking YES and formulating yet another mosh-pit.

Calva Louise had surely just delivered one of the best headline sets YES Basement had ever seen, there is simply no two ways around it. Jess, Alizon and Ben’s future as a band is destined to be incredible, and any release in the next year is sure to be a true statement.

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