The first act tonight at Soup Kitchen is the Manchester 5 piece, URF. They have a shoegaze vibe, with sustained cries over sombre guitars and keyboards. A hypnotically doleful start to the evening. URF gradually rise, opening up towards the end of their set, letting loose over thumping rhythms. The gloom advancing to a more fierce barrage of anguish.

Lucia (Lucia Fontaine) and her band are next on tonight’s bill. They come on stage with veneer sneers, kicking off with hankerings to be The Clash. Lots of “Ay Ohs” and rambunctious instrument wielding. It seems a little disingenuous and the crowd seems a little disinterested at the opening, but Lucia have more to offer than that. Their set develops over their half hour, with the majority benefitting from being more punk-inspired rather than punk-aspiring. The danceable track ‘Summertime’ is the main turning point as the crowd beings to warm to the support. And in the latter half of the set, most of the crowd are on board. Lucia, once in their element, sounds like a mash between old school Blondie and Honeyblood. For the finale, Lucia enters the crowd. Stalking through, making pathways, dividing the audience. But the crowd are only divided physically. After a lukewarm start, by the end of the set the whole audience are together, collectively wanting more.

Estrons come on to a stage shrouded in darkness. I can’t even see drummer Adam Thomas at all, although with the tight drumming displayed throughout the set, sonically he is a beacon. Both bassist, Steffan Pringle and guitarist Rhodri Daniel have invisible faces too. But glints of their big smiles can be seen as Estrons get a huge reaction from the sold out crowd. Taliesyn Källström on vocals is hyper visible, even in the darkness, boundless energy is radiated onto the crowd. She is a magnetising presence in the room and no one stands still as the tracks from their debut album (You Say I’m Too Much, I Say I’m Not Enough) blast through the night. The album title is quite a mouthful, but their set is the opposite, it is sharp and to the point. Every track is fast paced, it’s like eating an energy ball.

From the high octane ‘Make a Man’ to the stuttering charge of ‘Strobe Lights’, the night provides hook after hook. Leaning towards punk with spirit and endurance but with slices of indie-pop and motorik scattered through, Estrons are a band that don’t like being tied down. They do a good job at eluding standard genres and categories. Meriting from less production value, the exciting live performance is so much more than the album, landing them perfectly in the must see category.

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