Moon Duo


Far from the Northern Quarter, the beating heart of Manchester’s thriving indie scene, lies a desolate industrial complex. Surrounded by scrap tips and disused lock up garages, in the arse end of Salford, stands the equally desolate looking White Hotel. However this desolate exterior hides a much darker secret inside…

As a small plywood door opens, a constant stream of dense smoke bellows out, slowing rising and fading into the brisk winter’s evening. As I walk through the threshold, the door closes and the dense fog engulfs the venue, filling every inch of the cavernous room. Slowly the venue fills out and the sound of breakbeats and rattling hi-hats can be heard over the quiet murmurs of the crowd.

The lights dim, the crowd fall silent, all fixated on the empty stage. Smoke pours out from behind the drum kit, covering the already opaque stage in another layer of thick dense smog. Through the smoky haze, two amber and white flashing lights cut through. Two figures now stand there, only visible as two indistinguishable silhouettes. Almost immediately, dark swampy keys echo around the room, paving the way for a simple, pounding drum beat to follow. And within a moment’s notice, the sound of almost 8bit synths, spacey, fuzzed-out guitars and spacious simple drum beats now engulf the crowd.

This hypnotic mix of slow-moving droning music, a dense smokescreen and the robotic, slow jerks of the band members, give the gig a dream-like feeling, almost as if the gig and all those on stage are part of some ghostly mirage dreamt up in the depth of a K hole. Moon Duo’s music is dense; full of slow driving grooves, spaced-out shimmering guitars and almost gothic synths that allow all their songs to become one long constant attack of mind-melting space rock. As the red and white lights slowly morph into blue hues that dissipate across the venue, their music changes somewhat. The band play songs off Occult Architecture Vol.2, the second of two albums that, as the band put it, is meant to be a “psychedelic journey from darkness to light”. These songs in the band’s repertoire seem to be juxtaposed to previous songs played, with many songs having an airy lightness to them, sounding more akin to something off Moon Safari by Air rather than any of Moon Duo’s other output. They close their set with a spaced out cover of ‘No Fun’, full of the washy symbols and tripped out, delayed guitars that characterised the rest of their set.

Even as I write this review, I am in awe of the perfect marriage of visuals and sound, with the band almost using the smoke as a mask of sorts, allowing the music and visuals to take precedent over any self-indulgent stage antics or bad on-stage banter, leading to an immersive sensory overload that is like no other.

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