There are few UK venues that are quite so befitting of the hardcore trio Show Me The Body than Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. The dingy basement setting was reminiscent of New Yorks underground punk venues and for half an hour Show Me The Body transported the crowd to the oppressed underbelly of The Big Apple.
Show Me The Body have steadily built a reputation for themselves on the back of their notoriously volatile and visceral live sets and hold a lot in common with fellow Letter Race collective members Ratking, despite belonging to vastly different musical genres. The music of both bands comes primarily from frustration and a general feeling of disaffection for the city they both inhabit and these sentiments were fully realised during their live show.
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Front man Julian Cashwan Pratt was quoted as saying, “In my book if you’re not being subversive and you’re not doing it 100% it’s bullshit” and from the nights performance it is clear that he lives by that mantra. His scattergun raps and wails were punctuated with Pratt punching himself in the head; the words themselves were at times unintelligible but the energy and aggression behind each fiercely spat lyric was palpable. Pratt makes a compelling front man and is someone who truly embodies the hardcore punk spirit that many of their contemporaries are lacking.
Unfortunately the bands frenetic energy was not always matched by the crowd. Their usually committed audience was interspersed with those who had benefited from the generosity of gig organisers Now Wave, who offered free entry to those that had purchased tickets for the upcoming Death Grips concert as an apology for it’s move from the intimate surroundings of Academy 3 to the roomier Academy 1. A few in the front rows went arms and feet flailing for the clattering chorus of ‘Bodywar’ however the majority were there for the spectacle rather than to get involved in the machismo – after all there’s no point risking the bruises of a mosh-pit when a good head nod will suffice.
The setlist was entirely comprised of tracks from debut album ‘Bodywar’ which was released for free earlier this summer. Ominously dissonant squeals from Pratt’s heavily distorted banjo were matched by Harlan Steed’s skronky basslines and Noah Cohen-Corbett’s incessant drumming. These elements came together to create a suitably acerbic, rabble rousing din. Some of the slower, tension building tracks from the album were omitted in favour of going for a full frontal assault on the eardrums.
After half an hour of tense, terse and exhilarating music Pratt threw himself into the audience and briefly joined in the mosh-pit before running up the stairs and out of the venue. In many ways the set mirrored the music – one short agitated outburst – nevertheless it is one that will live long in the memory.
This Show Me The Body article was written by Sam Forsdick, a GIGsoup contributor