Review by Rosey Purkiss-McEndoo
Stepping down into the grungy dim lit basement of Soup Kitchen, I was so glad I never voiced my presumptions of it actually looking like a soup kitchen. It was my first time in the venue and although watching a band play amid stainless steel and dinner ladies would have been a great Tuesday night, I was pleased with the less literal alternative. I arrived early; partly through eager excitement for Mazes, but mainly to catch the other two bands playing that night, similarly Mancunian bands Golden Glow and Weird Era.
Golden Glow made a wicked first impression (I admit, even before playing just because the drummer looked like Buzz from Home Alone with the best hair cut I have ever seen) Aesthetics aside, they were brilliant. Their sound reminded me of that punk daze on the beach thing; initially I thought some kind of love child between Wavves and Bestcoast, but as the set continued it became apparent that they had more to ‘um. The songs were feel good, at the same time as being quite heavy and distorted, and one song I recall that defied it all and slowed down to a waltz like love song.
I like it when front men can actually sing. This guy had a lovely voice.
I loved it, they reminded me of summer. Music you could head but a sandcastle to. Or indeed serenade an ice cream man.
Weird era followed suit in impressing me. They had a similar heavy distorted sound, the one that makes you want to whip your hair forth and back, but with Warpaint-esque guitar riffs that simmered my dance moves down to a respectable nod/bob. I found I warmed to them even more as the set went on; their music kind of wound me into a trance of enjoyment – completely enhanced by the lighting guy who was having a field day projecting slow moving psychedelic lights onto the band. Even if were unintentional, this worked really well; it was like their actual sound projected into a light show.
Go listen. Psychedelic light show not necessary for enjoyment.
Such a good precursor to the main event. I’d been looking forward to seeing Mazes; they have created the perfect mixture of grunge and pop, like their ‘oh so’ catchy riffs have been filtered through a 90’s skater boy. They are one of those bands who seem to produce tune after tune without ever breaking their nonchalance. I can’t think of a better way to say it, they’re just so bloody cool.
I was glad to hear some of their old stuff in the set, and I wasn’t alone… there was a real uber fan somewhere behind me in the crowd who vocalised his opinion of ‘Bowie Knives’ as ‘Just so fucking beautiful man’ perhaps a little too loudly. I will forgive them for not playing Surf and Turf, as they played from their new album (Ores and Minerals) (GO LISTEN!) which is so, so good.
All in all an evening of extreme talent, cool as fuck haircuts, and absolute tunes.
Mazes performed at the Soup Kitchen on Tuesday 19th February. Their latest album ‘Ores & Minerals’ was released on Monday 18th February via Fat Cat Reords. You can stream the album via Clash Music HERE.