Sound Control is known for its 3 floor club nights and it’s usual upstairs 500 capacity gig venue. Tonight we are downstairs in the bar for the Manchester date of Ekkah’s UK headline tour. A small stage first holds host to tour support Yonaka. Their own brand of alt rock is dark and brooding, it’s effect moving from unassuming to full blown attack in a matter of seconds. Vocalist Theresa Jarvis is sophisticated, confident and faultless. Her fast-paced vocal reminds me of Little Comets, then she belts out notes like Florence and the next moment I’m headbanging as though we’re watching the Zep. All these elements come together to make Yokuna one of the most exciting “rock” bands I’ve seen in a long while, this is what rock should be. It’s influenced but innovative, heavy, nosy, atmospheric and overall, there is a clear sense that every member is having the time of their lives.
After a short wait Ekkah’s backing band already grace the stage. The drums kick in, the bass begins to slap and in an indiscernible flash Rebecca and Rebekah strut into their places. Their disco vibes and fairy lights excite most of the crowd, there are young guys boogieing hard and shaking their hips – a rare sight for my generation. Unfortunately it may have been influenced by Ekkah’s own dance moves. The girls stand stationary behind their microphones, occasionally pointing or clicking in sync. It’s rehearsed, but so unimaginative and cheesy that I really wish it wasn’t. They are basic dance moves I made up in PE when I was 11. It’s all I can focus on, please stop girls, it’s detracting from your music, seriously.
Musically, Ekkah produce chilled and funky modern disco, kinda like Friendly Fires Pala era – but without the consistently catchy tunes. Ekkah don’t create anything particularly exhilarating, standard uninteresting lyrics “we were not compatible from the start” and repetitive choruses is what they have going on. They have some funky tunes to tap your feet to, ‘Small Talk’ is full of swirly synths and boppy drums and ‘Last Chance To Dance’ has 25 people in the room dancing and enjoying the disco. They just might have to do a bit more to impress and progress into the wider world.