I’m currently reading Will Ashon’s Chamber Music, therefore my pre-gig playlist consists of primarily Wu Tang Clan and other hip-hop circa ’93, thus inappropriately setting me up for Mold at Soup Kitchen.
Much like RZA would walk the streets of New York City for hours on end as a form of meditation, I would get the 192 from Stockport, through Heaton Chapel, Levnshulme, Longsight and then arrive in Manchester. This is an hour-long ritual, which I endure before any night out. In which I can prepare my mind and soul for what’s to come. However, I could not prepare myself for Mold.
I first discovered Mold as support for Warmduscher at Gullivers some time last year. They were absurdist, anarchic and alienating. At the time there were only 3 of them, now however, they had grown into a fully-fledged 5 piece. Ever since first seeing Mold, I began to notice bassist/vocalist Shane Dickinson lingering around almost every worth while gig in Manchester. It’d be rude of me not to see how his band has developed.
Considering I saw discovered Mold as a support group, it felt only necessary to see who supports the support. Unfortunately I missed first support act The Emotional Olympics, however Sweaty Palms satisfied more than enough. Sounding like a mutated Birthday Party, with a Rowland S. Howard and Tracy Pew sounding guitar and bass combo, mixed with a little late 60s garage thrown in to give a sound and energy of raw power. Sweaty Palms were everything a support group needed to be. Quick, exciting and captivating, Sweaty Palms, much like Mold, are a group I’m going to look out for.
As Mold begin to take stage I can’t help but think they look like if your mum’s make-up bag dropped acid and became a Kiss fanatic. Mold has a distorted fairytale image about them, and a sound to match. I love to pigeon hole a groups sound and style; picking apart influences and comparisons as it’s the only way I can flex my incomparable music knowledge. But Mold are impossible to pin down.
Everything I’ve ever seen written about them compares them to Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, which is just fucking idiotic. Granted, they’re both weird as fuck, however, if that’s the basis to being in Beefheart’s band, then you could form a group with various members of this Valentine’s crowd.
Mold are unique. You’d be doing them a disservice if you attempted to summarise their live shows. They have an energy that most contemporary groups fail to capture. They have a sound that has been manipulated to throw off any art school muso that thinks they understand musicology. They create a shamanistic atmosphere and have curated an uncompromising set list that leaves no gaps for audience interaction, not even enough time for a reasonable round of applause.
The new members of the group have added so much more to their show. Double drumming is like primitive poetry. A man molesting a saw blade into giving out beautiful cries that cut through a wall of sound.
The saddest part of the night, for me, is that I still don’t think the importance of Mold can be found from watching videos on YouTube. Even new single Cannibal Date Night can quite capture the uniqueness of this group.
If you see Mold are playing and you have the slightest chance of attendance, then do yourself a favour and get there. If you’ve seen Mold before then you don’t need me telling you about how good they are, but I will tell you to see them again and again and again. I find it impossible to believe that this band can be anything but great.