LIVE: Working Men's Club @ Oslo Hackney

Putting Working Mens Club to a room of people sitting in chairs seems like a satirical music video from the bands they were influenced by, but their socially distanced show was the most Rock 'n' Roll thing we've seen this year. Hands down.
Posted: 9 October 2020 Words: Jim Howells

Following a string of celebrated live-streams, Working Mens Club took to a real-life stage, in front of a real-life audience, for three real-life shows, in one Thursday (October 8th) at Oslo Hackney in support of their latest album Working Men’s Club which saw its release last Thursday (October 2nd). Due to ‘Coronavirus restrictions’ tickets were extremely limited and sold as part as ticket and album bundles.

Oslo did a great job of creating a socially distanced space to enjoy live music. With tables of two dotted throughout the venue, varying in heights and angles, and maybe in the future, a series of mirrors, to make sure everyone got as good a view as realistically possible. Good job, I say.

On paper, putting Working Mens Clubs to a room of people sitting in chairs either seems like a satirical music video from the bands they were influenced by, or just a really awkward situation, but vocalist Sydney Minsky-Sargeant is a showman. He peacocks about the stage with the energy and vigour we need. Sometimes he would jump down onto the space just in front of the stage, which is weirdly the most Rock 'n' Roll thing I've seen this year. Hands down.

They sound tight and rehearsed in the chaos they create. Turning on a penny while sticking your finger in a light socket. Songs need no introduction and everything they need to say is said through their music, from those wicked shrills things in ‘A.A.A.A.’ to the Ian Curtis-esque repetition of the room chanting “defecate”  in the anti-BBC anthem, ‘Cook a Coffee’. Instruments were prepared and executed, in the haze of synth and drums, instrumental parts worked in harmony, like the guitar licks on ‘John Cooper Clarke’ which slipped along nicely and the bass chugged along sporadically, yet persistently, like a drunk man dropping fudge then trying to pick it off from the cobbled street. Think about it.

When they finished it felt like there were a series of applauses, once for the music, once for pulling it off and once more for the joy of being able to see really good live music. If this is the direction the world is going in, the it’s definitely doable and hopefully more bands and venues can follow suite, It's different, but possible. In a life where we have to sit down and follow the rules, Working Men’s Club make it incredibly difficult to sit still.

Check out our review for Working Men's Club's eponymous debut album here.

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