There was a whole load of great gigs on tonight all over town, from the NME Awards Tour at the Ritz to Algernon Doll at The Star and Garter but I decided to sack them both off for Until The Ribbon Breaks at the Deaf Institute. There wasn’t particularly much logic to this decision, but it’s a whim I’m glad I went with. With only the listen of catchy track ‘Romeo’ by the headline band under my belt, I’m intrigued and excited to see what tonight has in store.
I walk in as support band MDNGHT have just begun their set, the room is pretty empty, another 5 or 6 people stand around the edges or by the bar inconspicuously. At a small venue, this is usual and expected. However, the Deaf Institute is a 500 cap room and makes for a rather uncomfortably empty dancefloor. MDNGHT luckily don’t seem phased, most bands have probably played worse. The 3 men stand in a perfect row on the stage, dressed in all black with a rather unique looking, and sounding, setup. MDNGHT, although usually a 4 piece I’m informed, tonight simply play with 2 members on guitar (one who appears to be using Traktor to DJ through their set, so cool) and Jordan Lewin on incredible lead vocal. His powerful but smooth and sultry voice accompanies MDNGHT’s intricate beats perfectly. MDNGHT’s sound is just so “in” right now, it’s poppy and dance-friendly with electronic house vibes to create really current tracks. They’re Manchester’s mix of Years and Years and Fickle Friends, a pretty perfect combo if you ask me. They finish on new single ‘Into The Night’ – a brooding and mysterious track that builds and develops with its repetitive guitar cut and trippy samples with Lewin’s vocal ranging from beautifully falsetto to cool, deep and husky. MDNGHT will undoubtedly be massive, buy their music before the hype.
Until The Ribbon Breaks are most well-known by the man on the street from their “re-imaginations” of tracks like The Weeknd’s ‘Wicked Games’ and Lorde’s ‘Royals’ along with a feature on Run The Jewels’ first album. Frontman Peter Lawrie Winfield thanks the slightly larger but still select crowd for coming down “we didn’t expect this as we’ve not released music here yet, promise it’s not our fault”. This caused a hilarious shouted reply of “FUCK CAPITALISM” from a man certainly on some form of illegal substance. He loved the show though so what can I say. The intimate crowd become pretty close with the band, audience to stage conversations and comments flowing between songs, it’s a cool atmosphere.
We’re treated to an array of Until The Ribbon Breaks tracks that can be found on Soundcloud, from the slow and emotional ‘Back To The Stars’ to the seductive and sample filled ‘Romeo’. The array of genres that can be heard in even a short section of each of the band’s songs is totally unmeasurable and admirable. Every so often, Winfield whips out his trumpet for an unexpected solo and the audience whips out their phones for an exciting Instagram opportunity. I’m just overwhelmed by the lack of people here, it must be due to the fact that you can’t purchase any of their music here, as Until The Ribbon Breaks level of talent, technique and song-writing is far superior to plenty of bands I’ve sort out to see. Their superb set ends with the “weirdest encore ever” as Elliot and Will leave the stage, as per, but as it’s such a small crowd and we’re all shouting ENCORE in aggressive Manc accents, Peter decides to stay. We all call through the backstage door for the others to return and it’s an odd minute. Once back together on stage the band proceed to play their re-imagination of Blondie’s ‘One Way Or Another’ – a slow and mournful take on the upbeat original classic. An incredible set that was nothing quite like anything I’ve heard before and I leave the venue more excited intrigued about Until The Ribbon Breaks than I was entering it.