– YES Pink Room, Manchester –

Do Nothing

Do Nothing

Nothing says ‘ready for action’ like a frontman strolling on stage a good two minutes after his bandmates clutching two cans of Guinness. Chris Bailey, singer in Nottingham band Do Nothing, cuts a suave presence: nicely fitted suit, a couple of buttons undone on his crisp white shirt, hair floppy and foppish framing his face. Kind of Alex Turner x Bryan Ferry. There’s something very magnetic about him, it’s hard to pull your eyes away. He’s one of those frontmen who, as a member of the crowd, makes you feel like he’s always looking at you, staring into your soul as he sings and as you watch transfixed. Bailey is a very good front man, and Do Nothing are a very good band.

Like Squid, black midi, Black Country, New Road et al, Do Nothing have sold out Yes without even so much as a full length album out. They have two very good EPs and a handful of standalone singles to their name, and yet they have the swagger and confidence of a band with a number 1 album and some festival conquering buzz behind them. It must have been tough, a band who were just getting going as lockdown hit, but you would be hard pressed to tell that any of their momentum has stalled. They are tight, thrillingly so. The bassist and drummer seem telepathic, despite the fact that the drummer is actually a stand-in and isn’t a full member of the band. Kasper Sandstrom’s (superb name) guitar propels the band forward on spikes riffs, and then there is Bailey, alternating between a sing-talk monotone, a tuneful croon, and a rich yelp, hand and arm movements reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker. All this would be useless if they didn’t have The Tunes. And oh boy they have The Tunes. ‘Uber Alles’ kicks things off coolly, detuned guitars and superb turns of phrase like ‘it’s just one big reach around, part of the service’. ‘Rolex’, all switching time signatures, post punk guitars and talk of ‘Screaming Blue Bill’ is a twisting, flexing, jam of a song. ‘Contraband’ is an absolute delight, a bit Strokes-y in its guitars, Bailey telling us ‘I will not make any more mistakes, now that the world is watching’, and you know what, they just might be in a year’s time if they get the chance to slay big festival audiences.

Then there’s ‘the hit’, the peak of Do Nothing’s current powers, the brilliant ‘LeBron James’. It is such a beast of a song, the bouncing baselines, the quotable lines (‘the results are in and it looks like everybody gets a big slice of nothing’ cutting through in the week after millions lost £20 of their weekly universal credit as a result of a callous, fucked up government), and it goes down an absolute storm. The taut, twisting coil of ‘Gangs’ finishes up the set, and the band are off, lights up, no encore, job done. They leave a sea of delighted grins strewn across the exiting crowd’s faces, all knowing they’ve seen the (re)start of something that’s going to grow and grow over the next year or so. Chris Bailey has left a lasting impression on me, I’m singing ‘I got all dressed up for nothing’ round and round in my dazzled head; Do Nothing are a very, very good band.

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