Working Men’s Club at Yes Manchester Online
In a short space of time, this young West Yorkshire band has made some big ripples. Named in tribute to lead singer Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s favourite live music venue, formerly an old-fashioned working men’s club that is now full of fired-up teenagers (or, at least it was until the lockdown), they have garnered comparisons with The Fall, The Human League and Soft Cell. Having already supported nihilist agitators Fat White Family on a tour, without even an album out yet and with the lead singer only 18, Working Men’s Club seem set for big things.
Their sound is distinctive and already fully formed. As they stroll on stage to the whooping of an audience of one or two actually in the room, Minsky-Sargeant, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Socialist”, nonchalantly programmes the keyboard and ravey opener Valleys sparks up. That then segues into first single, Bad Blood. With its menacing bass riff and pulsing beat, it’s easy to hear what caught the attention of the music press and record companies alike.
Cook a Coffee is a jaunty take-down of BBC presenter Andrew Neill: “Look like a c*** / Bark like a beast.” The tight eight-song, 40-minute set moves into robot rave territory with the dystopian industrial sound of JCC and the deliberate, deadpan delivery of AAAA: “We dance til we smile / We laugh til we cry”
On a particular highlight, Be My Guest, Minsky-Sargeant has the confidence to forgo any lyrics, using instead an eerie but questioning parrot-like squawk for his vocal contribution. They closed the set with the pounding, urgent, attention-grabbing Teeth.
Minsky-Sargeant has the delivery of a seasoned performer and while the sound harks back to the sparse, dark electronica of the late 70s and 80s, invoking the desolate wastelands of hollowed-out northern industry and a divided Berlin, they also manage to sound fresh. It’s easy to see how they’ve stirred up hype and got powerful ears to prick up.
They are baby-faced masters of dark synths. An assured set.
For further information and future events visit Working Men’s Club’s website here.
Watch the video for AAAA here: