– Soup, Manchester –

Indigo De Souza

Indigo De Souza

Imagine one of those coming of age dramas beloved of streaming services delivering endless content to the kids. You know the ones, featuring an eclectic cast of misfits who over the course of eight episodes manage to steal your heart and really make you care about their trivial day to day dramas. Think about the likes of Sex Education, Normal People, Heartstopper, The End of the Fucking World, and to a lesser extent the daddy of them all, Euphoria (who’s cast face dramas that aren’t so trivial/anything to do with reality). Now think of the the soundtrack to these programmes, the impeccably put together collections of songs that make you feel at exactly the right points throughout the episodes, the ones that have you hanging on through the end credits whilst you Shazam (other song recognition services are available) tear duct activating tracks you can stick on your ‘soft lad’ playlist (just me?). That soundtrack is basically what happens tonight, only performed IRL by one of the finest voices and songwriters operating in the “90s emo power pop” sphere at the moment, Indigo De Souza.

It’s sweltering in the Soup basement tonight. The busy, young, haircut adorned crowd to a person have a sticky sheen of sweat coating their faces and bodies, and there’s a distinct whiff of not-so-deodorised armpits about the place. I don’t know if the air con is on the blink, or maybe it’s the sheer cost of turning anything with electric running through it on at the moment, but the close atmosphere is adding to an expectant air amongst the gathered throng. Some classic emo pop from the likes of Clario and SZA prologues De Souza and her band taking the stage, as they launch into the heavy grunge of ‘Bad Dream’ from her outstanding second album ‘Any Shape You Take’ from 2021. This is the song that soundtracks the main protagonist of the drama walking away from a party where bad emotional shit has happened, the guitars spiralling, De Souza’s immaculately emotional voice giving way to squalls of big riffs, it’s quite the intro. The crowd enthusiastically sing every line of ‘This Is How I Get Myself Killed’, the song that soundtracks the protagonist getting involved with the wrong person, “did you say anything on the night of my first hit / on the night of my first kiss / on the night of my first runaway”. ‘Real Pain’ is astonishing, the song that soundtracks the girl making the wrong decision and regretting it, tears, anger, with De Souza singing the hell out of the trauma in a way that, stay with me Gen Z, reminds me of Alanis Morrisette at her most Jagged Little Pill angst-filled. The breakdown in the middle of the track sees De Souza wail in an extraordinary way, over about 15 octaves, and it’s heart-stopping, the crowd cheering every time she goes up a notch, it’s brilliant.

‘What Are We Gonna Do Now’ soundtracks a beautifully lit bike ride through suspiciously deserted streets, the main protagonists smiling and laughing and intertwining, before collapsing into each other by the beach front, watching the sun come up, the knowledge that this moment is perfect, but will inevitably be fleeting, it’s swooning and delightful. Finishing on the bouncy ‘Kill Me’, (“this is our last song so we can all get out of this damn place into the fresh air!”) the song that soundtracks the end credits of the episode where it’s really gone to shit; “fuck me till my brain start dripping down to the second floor of our home / and if they ask you where I am, well tell them I was all done / tell them that I wasn’t having much fun”, heavy stuff dressed up in bouncy emo rock. It’s a night of shouting along to cathartic lines, of hugging your friend who loves her as much as you do, of feeling, of intimate takes disguised as big pop rockers. It’s made me feel like a 20 something again, and however fleetingly, on a sweaty Sunday evening, I’ll grab those feels with both hands.

Brb, just watching Conversations With Friends.

Indigo De Souza: Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter