Lowtide - The Castle, Manchester - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Lowtide - The Castle, Manchester

by Steve Rhodes Rating: Release Date:
Lowtide - The Castle, Manchester
Lowtide - The Castle, Manchester

It was 2015 that via the ever-reliable DKFM that I was first exposed to Lowtide's eponymous debut album and fell instantly in love. With effortless vocals and dreamy guitars, the Melbourne's band produced a blissful and hook-laden album, that though hinted at Shoegaze territory was far more than just a simple addition to its lineage. With numerous kindred spirits from Australia and the USA rarely venturing beyond their borders it's great to see Lowtide travel the huge distance for their debut UK tour, supplementing their appearance at the End of The Road Festival.

The small confines of Manchester Castle Hotel are no match to the cacophonous opener 'Southern Mind', as guitars swell, sweep and soar with gorgeous delerium. Unlike many bands of the genre, Lucy Buckeridge's haunting vocal isn't drowned out into murmured backing, instead installing a strong presence, which touches on Mazzy Star, Still Corners and fellow Antipodeans Howling Bells, as layers of guitar bliss are added by Gabriel Lewis in a manner that matches the heights of Kitchens of Distinction at their dreamiest. One of the most impressive openers to any live set I've ever seen.

Following that breathtaking start is recent single 'Julia', with honey-enriched, bee-like buzzing guitars and forceful drums providing the structure for the twin bass and vocal lead of Lucy and touring member Jeremy Cole (on loan from fellow Melbourne band The Zebras), who compliment each other and sync perfectly with aplomb. With Jeremy's bass-notes taking more a key from post-punk pioneers Wire and Simon Gallup from the Cure, this is an unusual set-up that works wonders on-stage and one aspect that sets Lowtide out from the dream-pop masses.

Older number 'Underneath Tonight' is up next and there's far more pop sensibilities to this number, with Lucy and Jeremy alternating lead and only joining forces vocally in the chorus, with the guitars taking some time to force their way euphorically through. Likewise 'Wedding Ring', only one of two tracks from their album on show tonight, is a upbeat summery pop masterpiece, with Lucy and Jeremy taking a Shoegaze Sonny and Cher approach, neatly in contrast to the gloomy evening outside, as the crowd nod and bop in unison to the multitude of hooks and a wonderful crashing finale.

Feeling like a beautiful tribute to Velocity Girl's Always, mixed with The Belltower and New Zealand's Dissolve, 'No Horizon' takes the pace down a bit, even if Anton Jakovljevic's drums and Gabriel's guitars are still busy, giving a luscious warm feeling to the audience as the sonics joyously envelop the room.

The star of the show is 'Blue Movie'. Sharing the mystique of Piano Magic and The Chameleons, it is a track which neatly divides between Lucy's summery tone in the verse and Jeremy's darker variation in the chorus. A deeply yearning and moodier number that possesses regular chinks of light, leaving a powerful impression on the audience.

Picking the pace up, brand new single 'Alibi' is light and breezy and a neat change of direction that leads into the fantastic closer 'Spring'. Choc-full of atmosphere, with a glorious building intro it launches into the hypnotic line “one of these days is just like the others, one of these days is just like the others, one of these days” repeatedly synchronised by Lucy and Jeremy, as the music soars, filling the room, bouncing off the walls.

With a headline set that barely reaches 40 minutes, there is no padding here. Instead we've been treated to a deeply melodic and mesmerising performance by a band who make a huge sound and should be huge themselves. I certainly can't wait for their upcoming second album out later this year and their next overseas venture to the UK.

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