With prominent connections to the DIY, fun-loving and on occasion wilfully slapdash musical niche carved out by the likes of Homeshake, Walter TV and, of course, Mac DeMarco, Tonstartssbandht – as their name might suggest – are a band that carry with them a certain expectation to satisfy a craving for originality and oddity.

These connections – Tonshartssbandht’s guitarist and singer Andy White playing in DeMarco’s live band, recording in Brooklyn and Montreal, music videos directed by ex-DeMarco bassist Pierce McGarry – are what first drew me to the band, however their beginnings in Florida actually predate all of that. The two-piece, which also features Andy’s brother Edwin on drums and vocals, offer something different from their aforementioned peers in the sense that theirs is a brand of often-improvised psych and krautrock. However, the experience of seeing them live at Soup Kitchen also provided that infectious sense of fun and do-it-yourself experimentation synonymous with this corner of the musical world.

First up on the night, though, was fellow associate of the above bands Elliot Vincent Jones. From Toronto, Jones’ music is complex synth-pop. Previously unknown to me, he was an excellent surprise. He built his songs up using samples, synths and pads; the whole time performing frontman duties equal parts David Byrne jerky and Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring theatrical, while invading the crowd in a way no doubt reminiscent of his punk past. There were elements of Brian Eno, Depeche Mode and the Human League musically. In the vocal delivery there was David Byrne again, as well as an occasional similarity to Ian McCulloch. But these are merely reference points and individual elements that make up a whole. The finished product was eclectic, original and inherently groove-based. Singles ‘Acapulco’ and ‘Dawawine’ proved why they had been singled out by the artist himself, and the curious use of a hat to completely conceal his face and mouth at times was employed by Jones to alter his vocal sound.

Tonstartssbandht had selected an opening act that set the bar high. They avoided being upstaged with a performance that showed how much they genuinely enjoyed playing together. A band that have spent a lot of time with the members living far apart, the two brothers obviously relished the prospect of playing together and showed this with their tight performance and total comfort in improvisation. Andy’s twelve string, run through both a bass and a guitar amp, easily provided a big enough sound to accommodate for the two-piece format, and Edwin had no trouble in keeping up with his brother’s seemingly wanton deviation from their songs’ recorded structure. ‘Somersette’ was a beautiful wall of noise and both ‘Sorcerer’ and ‘Breathe’ from the band’s latest LP outdid their recorded versions. This is definitely a record to get hold of for any psych-heads.

The pair’s good humour shone through when they highlighted the fact that they had free vinyl stickers to give out, but asked the audience not to stick them around the venue for fear that they would not be invited back. They then proceeded to spontaneously perform a song about trusting the audience – the lyrics simply being “I trusted you” over and over – and performed it twice, and again as an encore. Throughout the gig the barefoot, topless Andy moved across the stage like some sort of deranged yogi. Edwin was the calmer of the two as far as personalities are concerned, but his manic drumming matched his brother’s behaviour. All night the standard of musicianship was outstanding.

Both bands performing at Soup Kitchen were excellent. Material from both ought to be coming out this year, and comes highly recommended. But it felt like it was in the live setting that these musicians really came into their own.

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Lloyd Bent

Manchester born radio-dabbler who burrows away under record and book collections whenever possible. Has interest in an eclectic variety of music, perhaps most significantly funk, post-punk and the more underground indie. Harbors ambitions to be a full-time writer, currently studies at Uni, works as a radio DJ and runs Indie DJ nights in the bars every now and again. Plays and attends gigs all over the place, but preferably in Manchester where independent venues are both commonly found and reliably fantastic.