The West Yorkshire group galvanised the Stylus crowd in a shower of sparks on Thursday, with support from bdrmm. Review by Maddie Player
Embarking on their first headline UK tour since the release of their victorious self-titled debut album last year, Working Men’s Club delivered a megawatt performance that showcased their ability to effortlessly blend rock and electronic sounds.
First to grace the stage was support act bdrmm, a profound group armed with abundant reverb and carefully crafted compositions. Their set was sensitive yet still delivered bite where necessary, such as the ominous, thumping bass of their latest single Port.
Oftentimes their sound, whilst undoubtedly unique, evoked elements of The Cure and Ride, the latter of which they are supporting next year on their 30th anniversary tour.
Once the drum kit had been removed and the synths brought on, the unlikely sound of ABBA’s Fernando wistfully fills the room, playfully announcing the arrival of the night’s main event: the notably un-cheesy Working Men’s Club.
A searing electrical storm of noise and light ensues, at time so intense it’s almost overwhelming. Strobe lighting eerily illuminates fragments of raw energy in the crowd, whilst thunderous drum machines pound so fiercely you can feel the bass thumping in your chest like an engineered heartbeat. Our new pulses hammer in unison, as if the whole crowd is rigged up to one great circuit board demanding you dance.
Sydney Minsky-Sargeant - whilst operating his many machines - alternates between prancing about the stage and pausing to crouch and observe his crowd wild-eyed, embodying a rave version of Jarvis Cocker. It’s impossible not to dance along to Valleys, the relentless drum machines and catchy electrical melodies reminiscent of New Order. He seamlessly slips into guitar for Cook A Coffee, true to their more traditional guitar band roots, but the crunchy riffs still feel almost computer generated yet distinctive.
The band ends with a commanding performance of Teeth, culminating in Minsky-Sargeant surfing atop the crowd whilst robotically reciting the lyrics. I couldn’t help but feel like they blew a fuse when he abruptly stormed off at the end of the song, no hint of an encore. I was surprised they chose not to perform their electrifying recent single X, but this may have been down to the absence of a drum kit. Overall, it was a night of thrilling and unique talent, borrowing some from the old and showcasing a lot of new.