Working Men’s Club


Since I first heard of Working Men’s Club after seeing then-member Giulia Bonometti (also known under her stage name Julia Bardo) perform live earlier this year, I’ve been keen on them. Since then, many things have changed for the band: they have signed to Heavenly Recordings, original members Bonometti and Jake Bogacki have left, and the newcomers have been nominated for Best Breakthrough Act at the Q Magazine. They have also been supporting Fat White Family as well as Mac DeMarco at the O2 Apollo, so you could say it has been going quite well for the young quartet. I’ve been meaning to see them live for a while, so I’m quite excited about this evening.

Supporting them in the Pink Room at YES tonight are YOWL, a compelling quintet hailing from Peckham, London. I get strong 80s vibes, ranging from more pop-ish songs to proper gothic tunes. Singer Gabriel Byrde’s voice and lyrics, and the mostly post punk inclined riffs, create a rather dark atmosphere most of the time. I think it’s this cocktail of elements that makes them so appealing, I never know what to expect next. In one moment he’s on stage dancing and playing tambourine to a danceable melody, next thing you know you’re looking for him only to realise he’s in the crowd before he starts shouting in people’s faces. Byrde’s enthusiasm is really nice to see, his dancing and jumping around makes it a really lively performance.

While they’re on stage it’s a bit difficult to guess what the audience is thinking, but after their set everybody shows how much they enjoyed with a loud round of applause.

After a short break it’s finally time for Working Men’s Club and by now the room is way more packed – which makes sense, since the show is sold out. I’m not going to lie, at this point I’m still under the impression that Giulia Bonometti is part of the band, so I’m a bit confused when instead I see Mairead O’Connor (known from The Moonlandingz) on the guitar. Drenge’s bassist Rob Graham is another new face to me. He starts out on the synth/drum machine, but throughout the set most of them switch instruments at least once. I’m always up for that, I love seeing artists showing the different talents they have.

It’s not least because of the synth/drum machine we mostly get heavy post-punk and new wave vibes. The lighting in the venue, which makes the band only appear as dark shadows every now and then, in combination with the synth makes me very much feel like I’m at a proper 80s disco. Their latest released electro-goth single ‘Teeth’ only adds to this and makes as good as everyone dance. Obviously, their highly praised single ‘Bad Blood’ is also one to make the audience excited. Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s vocals and overall passionate performance definitely makes the gig worthwhile, the energy is simply infectious.

What I notice is that the band doesn’t really talk with the audience, neither do they say hi or introduce themselves, nor do they talk in between the songs. I think it’s a bit unusual, but to be fair it’s probably just part of their ‘cool’ image. When O’Connor is playing the synth with her shades on and one hand on her hip, it conveys the same, casual vibes to us Kurt Cobain did in Nirvana’s infamous Top of the Pops performance.

You can clearly see that not only the audience but the band as well are aware of their appeal and talent, and while seeing them in a small venue was great, I’m already excited to see them on bigger stages.

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Dahlia Owusu

My decision to leave Germany and move to Manchester was most definitely influenced by my love for music and going to gigs. I came here in 2018 and am now studying English and Journalism at Manchester Met. When I’m not at a gig, you’ll usually find me reading or in a café.