Sunday, 3 July 2016

Martha + Grotbags + Doe + T-Shirt Weather - Soup Kitchen, Manchester

After narrowly missing out on seeing Martha last year (car problems), I think it's safe to say I was sufficiently excited about finally seeing them tonight.
T-Shirt Weather were the first band on, and had me hooked straight away. I hadn't had a chance to listen to them before tonight, but I'd read good things about them, and wasn't disappointed. For anyone else who hasn't yet heard them, they're a pop-punk band from Durham. And I mean, like good pop-punk.

Does anyone remember when Sky had a channel called P-Rock? I used to love that channel, and listening to T-Shirt Weather was like watching all my pop-punk faves again, but without the underlying misogynistic lyrics that I chose to blissfully ignore. I'll definitely be listening to more of these guys.
Next up was Doe, who I'm already a big fan of. Having just announced the release of their debut album in September, tonight's set list gave us a taster of what to expect (perfection, basically). If you like the sound of their track Sincere which was put online this week, then you'll love it. Their songs manage to be upbeat and danceable, with the 2-guitars-no-bass setup often lending itself to an underlying tension reminiscent of early Sleater-Kinney.

The venue didn't really start to fill-up til towards the end of Doe's set, which is a shame because they (and T-Shirt Weather) definitely deserved a bigger crowd.
Grotbags came out to a now-packed room. Describing themselves as "two big lads and two streaks of piss", they delivered a set of solid pop-punk, ending with a cover of Little Mix's Black Magic. As their name, self-description and choice of cover may suggest, Grotbags seem very much about just having some fun, and that feeling transferred well from the stage and into the crowd.
Finally, it was time for Martha. Their soon-to-be-released new album Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart has been streaming online all week, and I'd be surprised if anyone in the room hadn't been listening to it in preparation, as each new track was greeted like an old favourite, as they kicked things off with Christine and Chekhov's Hangnail.

Meanwhile, staples like 1997, Passing In The Hallway and Bubble In My Bloodstream had everyone shouting along.
The drum kit, with it's play on one of Martha's lyrics, had served as a reminder all night of how downhill things have gone in this country in the space of a week. I can't imagine many Right-leaning people feeling at home at a Martha gig, so I think it's safe to say that there was a universal sense of anxiety, anger and a need to just be around people who share your point of view.

This was reflected by the band, as JC admitted to wishing he had something positive to say about it, but not knowing what he could possibly say. For 45 minutes though, Martha managed to make the world feel like it was an okay place and reminded me why I love their music so much.

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