After searching the cold Friday streets for sanctuary, I made my way to the bustling Manchester venue, YES. On the menu was a hot portion of Soup!, a five-piece band taking the Manchester post-punk scene by storm.
Supporting The Cool Greenhouse in YES’s Pink room, the quintet were previewing their upcoming single, Supplies. Having seen the lads play last summer at a smaller venue called Big Hands, my expectations were high. They would prove to be the perfect winter warmer.
Laid back and relaxed, Soup! breezed onto a pale carpeted stage exuding an open confidence – after all they were playing on home turf to a packed-out room. A saturated pink flood of lights painted their faces as they negotiated the start of the show. Kicking off with a track titled Self-care, the band plunged the crowd straight into rolling guitar riffs and deep vibrating vocals.
Later, bright teardrop synth plucks from the classic microKORG pervaded the air and thumping drumbeats ricocheted off the surrounding pastel pink walls. Dressed head to toe in a fitted brown suit having allegedly just come from a wedding, the bass player provided smart chugging basslines throughout the entirety of the show. Halfway through, the lead vocalist teasingly joked: “He’s come dressed as a car salesman.” He may not have been selling cars to the crowd, but he certainly supplied them with punchy packaged basslines paired with funky beating guitar grooves from the band’s guitarist – a fresh, hot take on the strumming method founded by Chic’s Nile Rogers. This was especially present on their new single.
The smooth rhythmic vocals on this exciting new track sat snugly with the synths swelling, captivating and modulating a lead hook that gently tickled the brain’s pleasure receptors. Intermittent backing vocals and sharp shuffling drum patterns provided a sturdy reinforcement to the visceral lyricism of lead singer Matthew Beswick, who told the crowd that “Supplies is about the frustration of watching someone close to you live their life in a way you know isn’t going to make them happy in the long run, and wanting them to come back to you but feeling selfish about it and questioning your own motivations.”
The song closed with a tingling citric synth melody, slinky guitar stabs and harmonic vocals. It faded into an energetic applause from the crowd. One audience member I spoke to said: “I think I have found one of my new favourite bands.”
After listening to the studio-recorded single the day after the show, I was surprised at how well it captured the band’s live essence. Their live performance delivered a seared spirit of late 70s post-punk with their own hot flavour and generational relevance. The stage had certainly been warmed up for the headliners, The Cool Greenhouse – so much so that they removed their shoes to heat their feet on the floor before starting.
Main image credit of Soup! by Brandon Charlesworth
Soup!’s new single is out on February 21, 2023. You can pre-save it here, or see it live as the band will be at The Deaf Institute, Manchester on February 19, 2023.