Manchester’s Soup Kitchen is one of those places in Manchester that speaks of a different time in music. It’s a venue that gives a literal home to its underground scene, while harking back to a time before universally free music, and the subsequent decline in the draw for prospective attendance of live music.
Despite the times, Soup Kitchen hasn’t floundered. Perhaps because of the esoteric draw the place has that parallels the bands it puts on. Tonight’s noise rockers, Hey Colossus, are no exception.
Before the band head on however, they brought along some young guns from Widnes to support them, called Mums. Playful and smiley with a hint of apprehension, the band mumble who they are and proceed to trudge lovingly through gritty, dissonant guitar parts and elongated, almost lazy vocals at the unsuspecting but welcoming crowd.
Despite a few setbacks, like that one guy who’d had one too many who threw his last can at the drummer, and the sometimes-janky timing, possibly down to lack of practice with their new drummer, Mums looked like a band loving what they were doing, smiled all the way through and gave a great account of themselves.
After a small break to set up, Hey Colossus are up and playing no more than five minutes later. They weren’t messing about either. Undoubtedly unapologetic and unconventional, they are one thing above all else. Loud. So loud, people in the crowd joke about the pavement above starting to crumble because of the noise between songs.
There’s a lot other than decibels going on in Hey Colossus’ huge catalogue of eight albums, singles, EPs and other works though. Never ones to follow a formula, pushing boundaries are what they’ve always been about. That, and cranking up the volume on their addictively rhythmic stylings.
The crowd lap up everything the rockers serve them as they roll through their back catalogue, highlights of which are 2015’s Can-esque ‘Hop the Fence’ from the album Radio Static High which gets everyone moving and the metronomic ‘Red Giant’ from 2005’s ‘Hey Colossus II’, an immovable object in the form of a song.
Packing out the stage with a line-up of six, there’s not much room to manoeuvre, but lead singer Joe Thompson finds a way to bust out his inner Jagger and Iggy. Shouty and krauty, his energy and delivery is compelling to watch.
Certainly, not everyone’s cup of tea, but masters of their craft they no doubt are.