Live Review: Soup! – The Key Club, Leeds. 21.02.23

Supporting Hotel Lux on Tuesday night at Leeds’ Key Club, rising Manchester band Soup! brought their particular brand of post punk to a small but appreciative audience.

The room was a little sparsely populated, and the openers – local post-punk 5 piece outfit Mince – hadn’t managed to ignite the venue despite a sterling effort from lead singer George McDermott. It wasn’t the best atmosphere for Soup!’s low-key delivery and crowd interaction, but as the set went on, there was an increasing energy.

The band, that began life as Soup! in 2019 in South Manchester, comprises Matthew Beswick (vocals/guitar), Connor Riley (guitar) and Ben Smith (drums), bolstering their original line up with Hayden Gouveia (bass) and Rob Jones (keys). You can hear the influence of new-wave heroes such as Orange Juice, or fellow Mancunian punk exponents A Certain Ratio.

They certainly offer a more sophisticated sound than the openers, synth-laden post punk engaging the Key Club to much greater effect.

Performance-wise, there are perhaps more exciting bands to watch, but Beswick’s laconic, deadpan delivery is part of the laid back Mancunian charm. They’re not without wit and there is certainly a more lively vibe among the band members, and that comes through in the richness and energy of the tunes. Right at the end of the set, there’s a nice moment when someone shouts “Where did you get those cords?”. “The trousers or the guitar chords?!” Beswick fires back, before saying “oh no, my dad’s in again!”

New single Supplies is one of the strongest offerings of the night, Jones’ synth taking centre stage to give a rich, textured feel to the piece. It’s underpinned though by a heavy drum beat and a bassline that shakes your very insides and it is the point at which the gig accelerates.

It’s not quite bouncing by the end but Soup! left the Key Club audience better than they found it – a far greater energy in the room with some midweek Manchester-made motivation.

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