‘The Wants’, ‘The Lounge Society’ at ‘YES Basement: Manchester’: Live Review

The Yes Basement is really a great venue for meeting people. I don’t think i’ve attended a gig there when I haven’t. A man on the door asks me to write about his upcoming band. ‘A shit version of Prince’ he says. ‘That is because shit Prince would still be good’. The group is called ‘See Thru Hands’ and his description is pretty accurate. Funny, and actually pretty decent. We are lead into a room of up to 30 prestigious fans lined against the walls of the venue. More to come following the support slot. They shout questions at the band regarding the guitars they play, and dance to all the songs.

I’m new to The Wants. Having only heard ‘Fear My Society’. A cut that is easily one of the set highlights. One taking a look at anxiety. Vandam is animated, pointing his guitar stage right at the crowd like a gun. He asks “Will you love me if i’m a failure?” before an animated “huh!”. He crowd points, staring a lucky lady in the face. Meanwhile the sweat is dripping off his face, slowly bouncing onto his guitar. This being due to the amount of squatting and twerking he does. I spend too much time worrying about his leather trousers splitting, and am shocked that they never do. Elle delivers some distant backing vocals that are pretty pleasant. And while not reinventing the wheel, it’s probably their most complete sounding song, and not a terrible one at that. Often i’ll see new bands and find the unreleased stuff to be better still so I keep an open mind. With an album released in a few weeks however, this is a bit concerning.

Title track ‘Container’ is played twice, and is easily one of the most obnoxious songs of the year so far. To my ears it sounds more like the kids toy ‘Bob It’ than a finished song. Vandam shouts nasily, ‘Tease It! Eat It! Feed It! Keep It!’. I see what they are doing, but it just comes across like a parody. Especially when other bands do it so well (‘Screen Shot’ – Swans comes to mind). Instead we’re given an awkward synth bass, and eventually a guitar that sounds like every other noisier post punk record of the last 2 years. A sound i’m finding getting so stale. By the second time it is so mind numbing that I decide to watch the crowd instead. They enjoy it more admittedly. Though react in the most peculiar ways. One woman is skanking for example.

Many tracks follow a similar formula of somewhat funky bass lines and forgettable noisy ish guitar. Really its main issue comes in formula. A lot of tracks can feel more like sketches of ideas, and it is a shame in the more original of them. For example, they play an instrumental track in the middle of the set. Gates switches from his drums to an electronic drum pad. The bad mixing causes vibrations on the floor. One that could’ve been deliberate still. It sounded quite good. Making the track sound more like something you’d find at an illegal rave, rather than a rock gig. In this almost techno build up the track ends abruptly. My thirst hereby was unfortunately unquenched.

I’m not completely crapping on this show. The Wants aren’t all that bad for the most part. Just a bit boring. Still, every cloud has a silver lining. If anything, I think The Wants could take some tips from their support. A young group called ‘The Lounge Society’, who were robbed of an audience and upstaged The Wants by a country mile. The group work with a myriad of sounds, collageing a number of influences atop of each other, and I was entertained to say the least.

One track sounds a bit like the Talking Heads covering The Beatles ‘Taxman’. The bass line is quite close admittedly, although it is made up for in their delivery. An erratic, off kilter funky guitar is up centre, and the vocals are post punky. A bit like Mark E Smith of ‘The Fall’. No surprises when they are northern based. I don’t like to put names to it, as they change faster than Bowie’s hair did. Another track has these psychedelicy, yet krautrockey sounds all over it in the guitar pedals. Try combining Neu with the opening cut on The Small Faces ‘Odgens Nut Gone Flake’. All I can say is I think Dan Carey would get a kick out of recording them.

The Lounge Society supporting The Wants