– The White Hotel, Manchester –

Special Interest

Special Interest

New Orleans industrial disco punks Special Interest specialise in the intense, pushing their sound, political lyrics, and performances to the extreme in the grand tradition of punk bands. Singer Alli Logout leads the ensemble, their frequently angry, incendiary callout lyrics dealing in really showing you how shit the world is for the marginalised in society, are made to be hollered back at them by sweaty, writhing crowds (‘If you don’t like it you can fuck right off, them boys in blue don’t come round on this block’ from new album closer ‘LA Blues’, being a prime example). Logout said in an interview around the time of their spectacular second album The Passion Of “the words I write that are bubbling inside of me could have been written yesterday or five years into the future. They are not my own, they are from those I carry inside my DNA and from my friends I listen to, learn from, and struggle with”. What Logout says feels important, the art they make feels important, the way they highlight the struggle of the disenfranchised feels important.

Over three albums of increasingly sophisticated throbbing disco punk, (their latest Endure released only yesterday is getting rave reviews across the board), they’ve built a reputation for being a thrilling live act. There couldn’t be a more fitting arena for them than Salford’s finest industrial wasteland venue The White Hotel, on a Saturday night, bonfire night nonetheless, where the world outside burns and fireworks light up the November sky whilst simultaneously clouding it with atmospheric smoke.

And yet it never really takes off tonight. Everything just feels a little…flat. It isn’t very busy, which really surprises me for a band with such hype and critical success behind them, and Manchester’s penchant for embracing the confrontational, the punk. Maybe everyone’s at a bonfire; maybe everyone’s at Homobloc down the road. As such, the atmosphere isn’t really writhing and sweaty, more kind of polite shuffling and keeping our coats on because it’s really quite nippy. Logout is a dramatic presence, and the racket Ruth Mascelli on drums, Nathan Cassiani on bass and Maria Elena on guitar are making is excitingly combustible, but something is missing. Logout stands pretty stock still for the opening few songs, clutching the mic stand and barking out the likes of ‘sodomy! On LSD! Is hell!’ on the tumultuous ‘Disco III’, it’s searing guitars queasily cutting through the dry ice across the floor, the effect is disquieting. It doesn’t feel like a party until Logout cuts loose, letting go of the stand and strutting around the stage, dancing and shouting in people’s faces, more like I imagined the show would be. The disco boogie of the sublime ‘Midnight Legend’ is a high point, a track that would go down a storm over at Homobloc, and a thrilling ‘A Depravity Such As This’, all topsy turvy guitar lines and pummelling bass stomp, Logout singing about being ‘engulfed in damp dark wet heat, thick hot air’’ which is the kind of atmosphere I long to permeate the night.

It’s not by any means a bad show, the band are magnetic to watch and Logout, once they let fly, is an electrifying presence. But it doesn’t quite take off tonight, and I sense the crowd kinda know that too. Maybe it’s on us, maybe those in attendance could have been a bit more up for it, but the show is short, around 40 minutes, and they leave the stage with no ceremony or acknowledgement of the audience, almost like they want to get off. I wanted riotous; we got functionary with occasional fireworks.

Special Interest: Official | Instagram