Manflu at the Lexington
Founded in 2009, “Russian prostitute rock” quintet Manflu have been causing quite a wonderful ruckus around London for some time – so we jumped at the chance to catch them at the Lexington for their album launch. The non-wave-influenced five-piece performed with support from fellow noise rockers 72% Morrissey, and riot grrrl group Skinny Girl Diet. And with the promise of “tinnitus, STDs and a sense of purpose,” we were anticipating a night to remember.
The supporting acts put on an incredible show, particularly Skinny Girl Diet, who exude an overwhelmingly energetic stage presence with their thundering, grungy guitar riffs and female-empowering lyrics. It seems that the riot grrrl movement has resurfaced in the form of this fierce girl gang, whom the crowd adore.
Manflu front woman Aza Shade storms the stage, immediately enrapturing the crowd in a striking sparkly outfit and hot pants. The material on debut album Joys of Life is the result of two years of the band’s writing and gigging, and at points bears resemblances to Sonic Youth’s Goo in its immaculately art-punk, grunge-fuelled style. Holes gets the crowd rocking, with Aza yelling its confrontational, feminist lyrics “Take off my shoooorts!”, classically trained pianist Saki pounding away on synths and Pip creating powerful, infectious sounds on his guitar.
Performing together, the band are like wild animals in captivity – all fired up and almost sexually charged, their presence is slightly frightening, but absolutely brilliant. The music makes you want to dance, kick things and throw your television off your balcony. The lyrics make you want to chain yourself to a railing screaming “FREE PUSSY RIOT!”. Why can’t there be more bands in London like Manflu?
Joys of Life will be given full release by Tri-Tone in early 2014, backed by a full UK tour and European dates planned for soon after. We highly recommend going along and seeing the wonder that is Manflu in the flesh.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Manflu’s website here.
Watch the video for Holes here: