Live Review: Lady Bird - Soup Kitchen, Manchester 04/04/2019
Lady Bird have had a belter of a year, signing to Slaves record label and now selling out their debut headline tour. These boys are onto something big, but you won’t catch the fever until you see them live! We caught them at their penultimate show of their sold-out tour.
It had been a long time since I’d seen a gig at Soup Kitchen, this was my first time back since being a student, so I was ready for a night of nostalgia. For those of you not lucky enough to have been to Soup Kitchen, the 200 capacity venue in the centre of the Northern Quarter, I’ll try my best to describe it for you. It’s essentially an underground basement, in fact it almost identically resembles my third year student house basement, where we held some mega parties, but that’s a story for another day. Soup Kitchen is dark, it’s dingy and it’s also pretty gross, but it’s still got it all. The grim toilets are all part of the experience, you’ll be lucky if it’s got a seat and it’s an added bonus if the cubicle locks... jokes aside, this is a brilliant venue for a gig. It’s visibly changed quite a bit since I was last in, most noticeably a pink neon ‘Soup Kitchen’ sign now sits centre stage, they’ve upped their game, and I’m happy to see that cans of Red Stripe are still readily available from the bar.
Nostalgia aside, first band Arxx had just graced the stage as I walked in, a nice welcome indeed. This Brighton based band, who describe themselves as a ‘garage rock gal pal duo’, blew me away. Wearing matching blue boiler suits and accessorising with glitter on their faces, Arxx are certainly one to watch. Fuelled with energy and good vibes all round, they were the perfect warm up for an evening of fun.
After their short 20-minute set it wasn’t long before the next support. Another band I had barely heard of, but yet another band who made a very positive impact; GURU were up next. From the get go, the set was madness. The energy of the whole band was insane, barely stopping for a breath, they performed an intense set and left the crowd stunned. GURU are exciting, their music is decent with strong vocals and heavy guitar riffs, but it’s their live performance that really grabs your attention. After taking the time to big up local band Witch Fever, who had joined Lady Bird for the first leg of the tour and were also in the crowd, GURU finished their set.
There was just enough time for another Red Stripe before the band we were all waiting for made it to the stage. Having never seen Lady Bird live before, I was going in pretty blind, although I had heard nothing but good things, so my expectations were running high.
With an eager audience stood ready to be hit with relatable narratives, the band opened with ‘Social Potions’. With choppy lyrics, next level energy and a whole lot of passion, Lady Bird are set for big things. Think Jamie T or The Streets 10-15 years on; Lady Bird are cheeky and addictive. Running through songs ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘Boot Filler’, ‘Shag Tally Tastic’ and ‘Reprisal’, the crowd didn’t stop, whether they were down the front moshing or toe tapping at the back, it was evident everyone was having a good time.
Whilst I was chatting with people at the bar and in the crowd between sets, it appeared a fair share of the audience were there on their own, but never alone when a band had the ability to unite people over fine tunes about the one and only Wetherspoons and other relatable scenes in British culture. (Not gonna lie I’ve spent two nights in Spoons since seeing them, I might have been inspired).
It’s no secret that Lady Bird are 100 times more fun live, their stage presence is epic and their songs come to life so much more than they can on record. The interaction with fans throughout was admirable, with them even playing the whole of new single ‘Love’ in the crowd. Fans were respectful, and the band were genuinely having fun, proving they are real people’s people and exactly the type of band fans will buy into. Finishing on ‘Spoons’ and ‘Baby!’, their cheeky attitude is a winner, I’m sure they’ve gone away with plenty of new fans from this tour, and they wholeheartedly deserve that.
The venue is one of the smallest in the city, but it’s one of my favourites for the intimacy. I’ve only ever seen energetic bands perform at Soup Kitchen, and Lady Bird might have just managed to top that list for me. Pals with Slaves, they’re surely gonna follow in their footsteps, I 100% recommend.
Words and photography by Abbie Jennings