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Monday 18 December 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Ingénue (Live Review By Mark Young)

Ingénue, Lute & Onion Mash, The Peer Hat, Manchester 11.12.23

Joining a WhatsApp group has some crazy benefits. Tonight, at The Peer Hat we have Onion Mash, Lute and headline act Ingénue who are releasing their new EP, Mixtape For Saving The World. The Peer Hat has that amazing feel to it, downstairs in an enclosed space which is ripe for a something atmosphere. And to be fair it's pretty full in advance of the first band starting which is always good.

Onion Mash (7), hit first with some hard rock, the 4-piece deliver a quick 30 mins set. The first song has that solid groove, with Rach providing strong vocals and is received well. There is a hard edge that is rounded off by having Rach in the vocal seat. They are the sort of band that can come in and give proceedings a proper kick and get the assembled throng moving. We’re Not Twelve Anymore opens their set and It’s like sleazy 70s rock, which is quality. 

Lonely Between Two has that filthy feel to it and they can speed when they need to, with Killdozer mixing it up and is a quick blast of a thing that leads into final song Legal Slave, and we are back on that 70s riff foundation, which is spot on. With more gigs under their belt, they are sure to become more confident and it does come through to an extent, although stage size constrains them a little. They are a great start, with songs that have an energy and are a top curtain raiser for what is to follow.

Lute (8) are next, with a prog heavy sound that announces a definite change of pace. Prog can sometimes lean into long songs without real foundation, but this is not the case here. Their sound is royal with a bottom end that just pummels you. They are as tight as you like, all locked in to provide a rock-solid sound that moves, building in waves becoming monstrous in its final throes. What I love about them is that they got up and delivered three songs in their allotted stage time, and like Onion Mash they didn’t overstay their welcome. 

By their own admission, their songs are long, which you can forgive when they are like these. It wasn’t noodling for the sake of, or repetitive guitar moments to fill them out. when they rip, they rip. The songs just fly and take you on a journey with them, moving from soft and subtle moments into killer heavy phases which would satisfy any lover of Prog Rock and a mark of quality for me was how Now I Am One segued into Escape And Return with no audible join, completely organic and top class. The band are mixing their new material now, which is due early next year, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing the finished results.

Ingénue (9) are now up, and the place has filled up to sell out status which is a cracking turn out for them and fitting considering that they play a blinding set, with each of the band pulling together to give as much as is possible in their performance tonight. Their set list spans the sum of their music to date, with their new EP nestling within a packed list. And packed it is, kicking off at 9.30 running through to 11 or so, and you definitely get that vibe that they would have continued to play if allowed. 

Confident with a great set of songs, they are heavy with a swing and groove, so dancing is inevitable and expected. What I loved is that over the course of their set there was no repetition of ideas as each song came and built on the one before. Where they played the new material, you can hear the step up in craft with a real progression in the music and they deliver them so well. Trying to pin them in terms who they sound like was a fruitless exercise because whatever influence they have, they have developed themselves, so their music is an extension of them. 

They also don’t stay in one lane, adding grit as required and taking it away for others and there's a great sense of fun between them, especially on Save Our Goats and its infectious for the crowd. They are having a blast and it’s feeding back resulting in big smiles all round. There is a break, as they drop in an instrumental showcase that shows off the respective talents and it has some incendiary fretwork which was just brilliant. 

The remaining songs lean into numerous styles, with some ska in there, funk underpinned by a rolling bass that is spot on. They don’t stay at one pace, and on Tetris Cyclone issue a shout for a pit, which is one of the most well-behaved pit’s I’ve ever seen. Tides finishes their set and is a mid-pace stomp that takes off and wraps with a fret melter of a solo. Final, final song is a blinder, and to my shame I didn’t catch its name, but it ends a triumphant launch night for them.

Similar but different acts, in that they all love a riff, and a catchy melody line. Onion Mash rooted in the heavy rock, Lute bringing some mesmeric music and Ingénue go for all points in between. Brilliantly curated night courtesy of J, PR who put this together and to The Peer Hat for their gracious welcome.

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