Joining forces for a series of new artist showcases in the basement of Manchester's YES, Now Wave and So Young welcomed a sold out crowd to the first of their 'Mood Swings' shows on Saturday evening.
With Ralph TV forced to drop out having become the latest victims of the 'ping', mask wearing gig-goers were treated to three hotly tipped performances from an aptly diverse line up at the bargain cost of a fiver and a negative lateral flow result – dispelling most concerns of post-lockdown budgeting and safety alike.
There was the Manchester debut from London risers Bleach Lab, effortlessly engaging the room with a hazy, dream-like concoction of endearing melodies and heartfelt lyricism. While there's some onstage confidence to be gained, frontwoman Jenna joins the force of upcoming female artists destined for a big breakthrough in 2022 with her vocals and presence captivating in equal measure.
Quite the contrast was Brace Yourself Records signee Nuha Ruby Ra - who commanded the attention of everyone in the room even before she took to the stage. Wielding two microphones, her transcendent performance felt deserving of much bigger stages and a production to match. Her eery spoken vocals and post-punk based instrumentation had the room transfixed as she worked the stage with confidence by the bucket load; a truly unique and hypnotic performance from an artist undoubtedly on route to stardom.
Leeds' Yard Act rounded off proceedings with their witty, deadpan delivery of subjects surrounding current affairs. Thrilling the room, which was mainly dominated by Yard Act t-shirts - their live set flickered from riotous post-punk to an evening at the comedy club as frontman James Smith's humour spilt out of his lyricism and into his onstage chat, poking fun as he asks fans to raise their hands if they "own two houses".
As it's title suggests, 'Mood Swings' made for an erratic evening – but its contrasting line up offers a journey of discovery. As Manchester's music scene rebuilds, Now Wave and So Young are extending the sonic palette of the city's gig goers and showcasing some of next year's rising stars. If the first of the series was anything to go by, you'd hope to see it become a permanent fixture in YES's event listings by the end of the year.