There’s been a lot of buzz about Birmingham based The Clause, and when I found they were playing Manchester Jimmy’s with Callow Youth it had to be done.

However their future career may turn out, The Clause will rightly be hugely proud to have completed a full sell out tour while aged just 19/20; all the more remarkable because it is just the guys of the band making all the arrangements. Who says men can’t multi-task?

First up on this February 2019 line up were fresh newcomers, Manchester’s Yuka Tree, a young five-some playing their very first gig. Wearing their pumps I would have been incredibly daunted to be in this evenings company, but the guys played a tight gig, largely looked like they were having fun (they certainly did when they had finished the set) and it was a cooly confident lead singer that come out onto the mosh pit floor for a stroll, a singalong and declared the women in the audience to be “fit as”. The band have a hard industrial feel, and highlight of the set for me was a cover of little known hard indie classic Lowdown by Wire, which they gave new life to.

I’m not going to claim that Yuka Tree don’t need a little time, experience and development, but they held their own tonight, gave a great account and are another set of Manchester lads to watch for the future.

Next was the band I specifically had came to see having reviewed both the Vibe Demos EP and new single Did It Really Matter? Callow Youth are definitely on the up, and their growing experience in the live environment showed in spades. Callow Youth had a good set of rocky bouncy songs to offer in their 30 minute slot; some tracks more reflective and lush, others towards the banging side. It was pleasing to appreciate Callow Youth weren’t relying on the released material and there was at least another EP’s worth of songs well worth getting out there. 4.00 AM stood out for me.   

Lead singer and guitarist Alfie Turner cut his finger on his plectrum and spent the rest of the set carrying on with a finger gently dripping blood; rock and roll lads.

Callow Youth aren’t showy live; it’s all about killer delivery of the tunes. After the set I briefly spoke with Alfie as there was a queue for the loos. My opening gambit of “Though you were great tonight” was met with a genuine “Thanks” before him moving onto “I’m going outside for a pi$s”. Chuckle; my stellar interview technique and sense of perfect timing clearly strikes again.

I thought musically the Callow Youth guys were full on sound and tight together, and the bass of Nathan Wrigley and the drums of Connor Wilkinson were particularly top class. I was swept along with the emotion, passion and energy Alfie put into his vocals, but I wonder whether more voice training might really draw out Alfie’s vocals even more. It felt like there was more in the tank as fine as he was. Callow Youth are definitely a band I’ll revisit live.

Next on the set list were another set of local lads with a class name, Palava, who delivered an enthusiastically received set; I thought these fellers again were incredibly tight, not getting a note wrong and there was a good build up to the series of songs in the set. What a strong four bands on the bill, and an amazing £6. I will definitely revisit this band too.

The headliners, The Clause took their turn to move from the floor to the stage. These guys know style and even if I hadn’t recognised the guys in the bar beforehand, their sharp dressing cut them out as the main attraction. When I think of The Clause I think of punky Catfish tinged bangers like Sixteen, with sharp incisive lyrics; tales of modern life, or their quieter reflective moments with Where Are You Now?

I soon discovered The Clause were much more than just those two genres with songs which also veer into other camps such as fairly light pop and tracks with a funkish vibe. With the vocals of Pearce McMenamin being good and clear, there were other examples of solid down to earth lyrics but laden with image: “It’s not your place to tell me how I feel; you bring me to my knees and make me squeal”. The versatility of The Clause is one of their strengths and I could certainly see the band grow into new sounds as things continue to develop.

Of course when you wear the sharp clothes, you also have to have the swagger, and these guys put on a flash performance to match, even though the Manchester crowd perhaps let the band down a little by not being quite as bouncing as they could be. When you can carry off covers of Kasabian songs and Last Night A DJ Saved My Life then you have both confidence and cool to spare.  

The Clause sure know how to put on a show, and while perhaps I might have personally chopped about 10 minutes out to produce a full killer 50 minute set, I don’t think anyone went away disappointed by the band or thinking they hadn’t seen something special.

Chris R

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