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AAA Music | 20 October 2019

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MOTHXR – Live @ The Deaf Institute

| On 22, Sep 2014

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Tuesday 16th September, Manchester

At this time of year,Manchester is busier than ever with students packing out every pocket, creating a buzz that makes for an exciting atmosphere, and tonight, as streams of students and people go about their day on Oxford Road, a line out The Deaf Institute is slowly building. This evening, Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl fame is premiering his new musical outfit MOTHXR in Manchester and the fever pitch only builds when doors open and countless females, both young and old, plus the odd male, filter into the venue. You could be fooled wondering how many of those in attendance are here for the music or because of Penn’s past – and, to his credit, I admire him for breaking out of that mould – but the reaction tonight will be a testament to how well this band can take off.

As the show begins, the first band to grace the stage are Manchester locals The Hope Edition who bring an unusually reserved manner to tonight’s proceedings, leaving much of the set to do the talking. This tactic for a performer can work favourably, but tonight the band seem to breeze by, leaving little to be desired. To the band’s credit, this can’t be helped when the audience look on with not much of any emotion, but this is a dilemma for support acts and always will be. The band’s music offered some interesting dimensions to it, with the inclusion of female vocals and keys packing that extra punch and something the band would do well to keep working at, as it works most favourably with their musical output.

The headliner tonight was always going to allude people to big expectations and when MOTHXR arrive on stage to an audience of screeches and yells, the band were quite subdued, taking notice of their waiting spectators and absorbing themselves into their performance. Having never listened to a note of this outfit beforehand, I was very pleasantly surprised by not only the music that the band performed, but their musicianship too. Much of the performance concerned itself with soundscapes that were very euphoric and rather cathartic; it felt like a wave of positive energy.

Review + Photos: Joe Sheridan