Sweet relief. The basement in Manchester’s finest establishment Yes is a safe haven tonight, a place to take refuge from the bonkers weather that has plagued this city on this early autumn day (and plagued the England cricket team all day across the city at Old Trafford), and a place to forget and escape the never ending omnishambles of the goings on in Parliament. There is a roof over our heads to shelter us from the wind and sideways rain, and a lack of phone signal in the basement to provide shelter from Boris’ increasingly desperate shitshow of a premiership. Here to protect us further from the outside world is Los Angeles based Sasami Ashworth, commonly known as the Madonna-esque SASAMI, providing us with 45 mins of much needed escapism.

It’s a pretty bare set up, just SASAMI, her bassist (in a be-sequined Guantanamo orange jumpsuit, strong look) and her drummer, all bathed in soft purple light. Launching into ‘Morning Comes’ from her self-titled debut album released earlier this year, it’s clear this is going to be a noisy affair, SASAMI properly shredding on her guitar as the song climaxes, changing the synth drenched album into something more like shoegaze, a trend which continues into the beautiful ‘I Was A Window’, again howling guitars replacing the synth lines to brutal effect. A new song pops up, the Drake title aping ‘Take Care’ that hints at more motorik, shoegaze vibes, and I’m very into it.

We can’t fully escape the constitutional shambles happening above ground, as SASAMI declares, “I wrote this song about how much I hate Trump…and probably Boris too”; cue much whooping and applause, an easy but satisfying win as she plays ‘Adult Contemporary’ with lines like “the darkness you can sell” setting the stall out for her disavowing of our current leaders. The highlight of the set is definitely ‘Jealousy’ which leads into ‘Free’, the former an absolute beast of a song that collapses into early 90s grunge noise, ferocious in its execution, the guitars filling the tiny basement at once reminding me of Jane Weaver and Nirvana, a potent combination, SASAMI howling theatrically before descending into head down guitar pummelling alongside some intricate bass playing beside her, it’s truly epic. This is juxtaposed by the latter, ‘Free’, a track that features freak folk hero Devendra Banhart on the LP but is sung almost solo here, a squall of feedback giving way to a gently strummed heartbreaking track, SASAMI eyes closed, singing “I don’t know what tomorrow brings/Dreaming of some awful things/Because our time is running out/And you don’t know what you mean to me,” before the noise returns towards the end in a gentler fashion; it’s a stunning centrepiece for the show.

Finishing on ‘Pacify My Heart’, another noise filled banger, she immediately goes over to the merch desk to sign posters, t shirts and LPs for anyone who fancies a quick chat, something I love about gigs in intimate spaces. SASAMI has delivered us a tight, short burst of much needed escapism from the collapsing outside world, delivered us a safe haven where guitar noise blocks out the fear mongering rhetoric, delivered us a 45 mins of delight in a country apparently hurtling towards a self-made obvilion spearheaded by the 4 Tories of the Apocalypse; music saves kids, never forget.

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