The Soft Moon

The Soft Moon


Tonight at one of the most hotly contested Manchester music venues, we are set for a night of industrial music with just a hint of a psychedelic twist.

The scene is set by Manchester’s own industrial post-hardcore offering, Werk, who managed to rattle every bottle behind the bar and seriously test the capabilities of the sound system in the venue. They are a nice opener and it’s a shame there are not more people yet gracing the venue to enjoy them.

Second support of the evening comes in the form of John Powell-Jones, an artist and musician who is based out of Salford’s ever thriving hub of activity, Islington Mill. The experimental sounds are not displeasing and a feeling of calm eludes, after the pure wall of noise we have just received from Werk however, its left feeling a little lacking, which is no fault of his own.

The Soft Moon are essentially an industrial based post-punk band from Oakland, USA. Founded in 2009 as the solo project of Luis Vasquez and now three studio albums in, they perform live with the addition of a drummer and bassist. They lend their sound nicely to the psych scene and so the crowd here tonight is a mixed bag of fans from across the board.

The set is opened with ‘It Ends’ and the beats play in the background as the trio take to the stage. Occurring in a revised format with lots of heavy panting and drumming this sets the mood perfectly for what is to come, and we do not have long to wait before ‘Dead Love’ springs fourth. Perhaps a surprise addition to a live set, we go right back to the first album with this tracks conflicting tonal lyrics. This is one of their more melodic tracks where the guitar riff is prevalent and the drums less harsh and probing.

‘Machines’ is a firm fan favourite and a very welcome early marker in the set. The intensity of this track is well suited to the small venue with the heavy synth effects ricocheting off the walls to create a magnificent intensity. Another huge track follows in the form of ‘Alive’, with its Sisters of Mercy esque opening that would not be out of place in any horror sequence. This is probably the stand out track of the set and comes and goes all too soon.

The Soft Moon by Leanne Crowley

The Soft Moon by Leanne Crowley

The crowd are really getting into it now, dancing along merrily at the front of the venue where bodies line the stage. ‘Circles’ raises the bar a notch with its heavy bass line driving the tempo before the repetition from the drums creates. It’s a very apt name for this track as the constant loops of the elements leaves you feeling like the track is running circles around you. The high tone of vocals from Luis is the finally element and it’s impossible not to be drawn into this track. Here the band tell us “this is our last song” – to which cries of utter dismay go around the venue, the heavily industrial track ‘Wrong’ is their choice here and thankfully they were only teasing, instead asking if anyone wants to drink some whiskey.

They continue with what can only be described as a metal bin being brought on to stage, the type seen frequently at shipping yards, and Luis proceeds to play this with all due care in ‘Deeper’. This is complimented by bongos later in the track and his skill to put such elements together in such a way shows here. And as if by magic, some whiskey shots appear on stage and are duly downed – your wish is our command Soft Moon!

The next sequence of the set focuses on some of their more obscure offerings and loses some of the hold it previously had, but they pull it back with ‘Inward’ and ‘Black’ back to back. These two tracks are delivered flawlessly and Luis’ breathed vocals add an unmistakable air of mystery that is enchanting. He draws the crowd in effortlessly and the crowd are dancing once more. They decide to end it with that and after finishing on such a high, it’s no surprise that more is wanted.

And, we’re not disappointed. Returning to the stage with a bottle of wine in hand, we are treated to three more tracks in quick succession. ‘Die Life’ with its return to the darkness is the penultimate track and there is a general feeling of madness that comes with this one as the elements compete for attention and once more its seamlessly performed. The track that arguably everyone has been waiting for round up the set. ‘Want’ ends the set in spectacular style and now everyone is slightly deaf, they can go home very happy.

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Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.