IMAGES AND WORDS BY PAUL EVANS
“The band are compelling to watch, Will has that something. Something you can’t put your finger on”
I’m back in Manchester’s bustling Northern Quarter and thanks to Storm Eunice, it’s a wet and windy Monday night. I walk up the cramped stairs of the iconic, Gulliver’s to its 100 capacity dark and intimate upstairs ballroom. It’s very dark and very intimate. A great, great space to see and hear a band.
The room is about three-quarters full as tonight’s opening band, The Let Go wander through the crowd to the stage. From the off they’re a whirlwind. Lead vocalist, Cole, is on her knees, on her back, on speakers and in the appreciative crowd as the three-piece fuse their slick indie-pop with the torment of their adopted home of Liverpool. Not to be outdone, guitarist, Scout is another cyclone, her rumbling guitar even played behind her head at one point. The young crowd lap them up before they were quickly gone. You’ll be hearing more from The Let Go I’m sure.
Daisy Brain are the brainchild of London based songwriter & producer Will Tse and along with bassist, the affectionately known Russian Dan, they combine to produce the band’s signature songs and sound. A sound influenced by 90s angst guitar-led arrangements from both sides of the Atlantic. The band have just got back from a tour with Yungblud, have a May UK tour planned and are playing alongside The Manic Street Preachers and Kasabian at Neighbourhood Weekender. It’s an auspicious start to their musical journey considering their live debut was last September and they only released their debut single last Summer. It seems Daisy Brain are also caught in a storm at the moment so I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing what’s going on.
Through the tightly packed, largely female, crowd, there’s a murmur and backward glances as singer Will squeezes through to arrive on the small stage after drummer Gav, guitarist Jess and bassist Dan. He greets us with a cheery “Hello, Manchester”before Gav’s pounding drumming launches into the anthemic “Lost for words” from the bands debut EP, Let’s Go Camping. The loud and heroic vocal “I’m in over my head” and melodic “She lives in the prettiest places” causing the crowd to sing along. I have to remind myself that their first gig was only 6 months ago as it’s a beautiful and evocative opener with all eyes transfixed on centre stage and the enigmatic singer.
The powerful “Digital Atlas” follows “I hate Mondays”, before Will remarks that the next song has just been released. The exotic guitar introduction of “What would you do?” follows before the song grows agonizingly and passionately into its loud and fearless conclusion. Lots of bands can labour for years before they play the kind of venues that Daisy Brain have recently played and I’m beginning to see why they have risen so fast, so soon.
The band are compelling to watch, Will has that something. Something you can’t put your finger on. I glance around the crowd and sense there are lots of people who want to either be him or be with him. Add to this, great songs and great musicians and you’ve got a devasting combination. Following a quick instrumental Jam, “Facemelter” combines the melodic feeling of the Strokes with the UK angst of Elastica and “Powder Train” reminds me of the beautiful vocals of Billy Corgan. The crowd are singing and captivated in equal measure already.
There’s minimal conversation between songs, but the crowd cheers as Will comments “This song’s about depression” before launching into the beautiful and evocative “Pretend”. I can hear 90s influences from both sides of the Atlantic, but growing up as part of a generation raised on the internet and social media, Will’s words connect with the crowd in a way I’ve not seen for a long time.
The room obliges as the singer asks “Can you all get your phone lights out?” before finishing the set with debut single, ‘Boring’. As good as a debut single as you’ll ever hear. Go have a listen. “Do you want another?” Will gleefully asks as the band launch into a final song I’m not familiar with, the crowd parting as groups begin to jostle and playfully thrash about.
It’s understandably a short set, but what a set. A few more and they’d have a near perfect debut record. I walk out onto the wet street thinking that I’ve seen Dinosaur Jnr, Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Suede before they had huge commercial success. Daisy Brain gave me a similiar feeling and thrill tonight. I don’t want to burden the band with pressure, but 2022 could well be their year. Check them out for yourselves, you won’t regret it.
1. Lost for Words
2. I hate Mondays
3. Digital Atlas
4. What would you do?
7. Powder Train
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I’ve loved music since forever. Graphic designer, photographer and artist at painted.papillon.smile (www.ppsdesign.co.uk)