A few weeks ago I saw Boy Harsher were playing Soup Kitchen on the 26th of February. I had never heard of Boy Harsher, but I saw there were only a handful of tickets of left. A few days later I got round to listening to their newest LP Careful. On the strength of the LP I decided to get a ticket. I then realise the show sold out in the same day I first saw the tickets were available and realised my chance was gone. Then on the 26th of February at around 13:00 I get a message, ‘Hi Rhys, we’ve reserved you tickets for BOY HARSHER’. This review is an ode to the waiting list. My patience has paid off. I decide to leave a uni lecture early so I can arrive in time for the support Kontravoid.
Kontravoid arrives on stage, 15 minutes late and heads straighter to a synth set up. He puts on a white mask. Within seconds the pounding EBM takes hold. The white mask felt a little gimmicky but when paired with the freakish moves, and the strobe lighting, it managed to conjure an eerie presence. I’m not sure if this was the effect on the vocal or the mask getting in the way, but the muffled vocals ended up adding a vacant noise that interrupted the solid industrial techno. I did enjoy Kontravoid and there is obviously something more to come, so I will be keeping an eye out for any other Manchester show.
One of the biggest issues I had, specifically during Kontravoid’s performance, was the fucking crowd. Upon first entering the crowd are looking interesting. A mix of techno Goths and hopeful Hipsters, I probably fall into both categories. I appreciated the guy with the half shaved head and Bauhaus t-shirt giving it his all, those were some wild moves. Yet, on the other end of the spectrum was the mustard coloured cap of the cunt with his phone out, or the leather-clad biker wannabe’s that would not. Shut. The fuck. Up.
To mute my anger I start to buy my premium Jamaican lager beer two at a time. When the Soup Kitchen sells out, you’re lucky to be able to move anywhere. I move closer to the stage, in the hopes I would be around more like-minded individuals, other than the odd ketamine nightmare, I was safe.
Still running slightly behind schedule Boy Harsher take to the stage. As I mentioned earlier I listened to their LP, only twice, as I didn’t want to find myself obsessively naming every track played. Instead I opted for the virginal experience, and see the two LP listens and a dirty secret that will be told in a confession booth many years down the line.
I was still mentally writing my vitriolic assessment of the audience as Boy Harsher begin to play and I will be honest, I didn’t think much of the first two songs, however, I put this down to my own error in judgement. By the third song I was moving. The incessant throbbing back beat got my legs shaking forcing me to groove. The set up started to feel like the dirty side of Underworld simple rhythms, and spacey vocals. I was hooked. The vocalist can be described as giving siren-esque screams reminiscent of Suicide. While the music itself was horribly danceable, almost touching on the side of Italo disco at points.
I was prepping myself for a bad review, given that I don’t really know much about the group and the audience attitudes had already infected my mind. But with nothing but honesty, can say Boy Harsher put on a great show, one that calmed any inhibitions I may’ve had. The band finishes their set, and I make a hasty move to the toilet. While the urine flow, the cheers begin again. I assume they weren’t cheering because I narrowly avoided pissing myself, but rather the band were back on. I move back into the crowd and Boy Harsher play three more songs. The last of which gets a much deserved reaction from the crowd, maybe if I actually did some research I would’ve known the name.
Tonight was the product of fully-fledged FOMO forcing me to never miss a gig of relative importance. Boy Harsher certainly have a solid following, granted some of the people there were awful, but that’s easy for me say. As I sit in a dark room, furiously typing with acrimonious mental pollution. Either way, it was a great night. I sometimes feel I’m too kind in these reviews, I often feel I need to fully slaughter a band, or maybe I just have good taste… At least it means I’m enjoying myself. What these reviews aim to achieve is proof of good music still being available, arguably, music has never been so easy to consume, and you are not born in the wrong generation. No matter how hard the BRIT’s might make it seem.