LIVE: Dry Cleaning @ Hyde Park Book Club

The critically acclaimed post-punk outfit bring fresh material to Hyde Park Book Club the celebrated Leeds venue
Posted: 19 February 2020 Words: Jess Hodgson
In the heart of Leeds’s most hip, student neighbourhood is Hyde Park Book Club, a notable live music venue well-loved for its cosy and intimate setting. Upstairs, the space doubles as a café slash bar slash art exhibit, but in its belly, a crowd of eager fans begin to gather. Tonight, South London 4-piece Dry Cleaning will put on a highly anticipated show as part of the UK leg of their upcoming world tour.

Support comes in the form of Pozi, an interesting rehash of an alt-punk ensemble. The energetic and accordant performance is defined by incoherent vocals, bass with violin instrumentation, and high-octane percussion.

As Pozi’s set comes to a close, the room is now packed out. After all, this is a high demand sold-out show, a signifier of Dry Cleaning’s exciting rise in popularity. Dry Cleaning started as the collaboration of longtime friends, Tom Dowse, Nick Buxton and Lewis Maynard, not until late 2017 that the boys recruited Florence Shaw as the group's vocalist, and the post-punk 4-piece started what Dry Cleaning has become today.

There’s a welcoming buzz as the band takes to the stage. An eclectic crowd is a certain reflection of the band’s equally eclectic sound. Into the microphone, the following words are uttered: “We’re in a basement, c’mon!”. Then, a wall of sound hits – a splendid amalgamation of multi-genre artistry settling somewhere between post-punk and alt-pop, with infusions of low-slung Americana.

To a receptive crowd, a unique and oddly intense performance is delivered. Songs such as ‘Goodnight’, sardonic storytelling with vulgar and often confusing, yet entrancing lyrics, and optimistically deadpan royalist ode ‘Magic of Meghan’ translate well as live renditions. The band’s frontwoman Shaw engages with the audience in the most disengaging way. Her tongue-in-cheek spoken word layers well over rousing instrumentals dripping with a charismatic flair.

The band demonstrate a versatility with newer songs such as ‘Traditional Fish’ and ‘Sit Down Meal’, which exhibit Shaw experimenting with softer, more cadent vocals. There’s a character to each song, to each deliverance, as we are taken on a brisk but exhilarating whistle-stop tour of the band’s repertoire.

Photo Credit: Hannah-Katrina Jedrosz

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