LIVE: Working Men's Club @ The Parish, Huddersfield

The reputation of Yorkshire's eclectic upstarts continues to soar at yet another sell out show.
Posted: 18 February 2020 Words: Lorna Gray
Signing to Heavenly Records within months of their first release, frequenting one too many watch lists to count at the back end of 2019, fresh off support slots for Fat White Family and Mac DeMarco - when an act is championed as much as Working Men’s Club have been in their short existence, there are inevitable challenges to face.

Their UK headline tour is to be proving just that, as sold out shows mean crowds are hopeful that live performances live up to expectations. The outfit seemed to take this in their stride though; the ‘cool-band’ supergroup performed at Huddersfield’s award-winning venue The Parish, at full capacity, looking entirely at home doing so.

Following from an 80s-reminiscent warm-up set (aviator sunglasses included) from fellow Heavenly signee Lazarus Kane, complete with synth-heavy psychedelic reverberations and well-received quips in between songs, it’s the turn of Working Men’s Club to showcase their talents.

With only a handful of releases out in the world, Working Men’s Club continue to hold an advantage with the element of surprise, while people have been told they should ‘enjoy their sound’, there’s little to indicate exactly what that is. Perhaps that’s part of the intrigue that sold this show out. Genre hybrids have been moulded as an attempt to define exactly what Working Men’s Club are about, with the coined term 'punk-funk' often floating somewhere alongside their name.

Sure enough, it’s a fairly accurate description as stabbing, stand-out bass hooks from Liam Ogburn are the funk-fuelled driving force of their sound, with vocals spoken rather than sang by vocalist/guitarist/beat-maker Sydney Minsky-Sargeantin, in a manner that came to fruition in the late 70s during the post-punk movement. In fact, there’s a nostalgic nod to all the elements of Working Men’s Club’s sound, as an eclectic mix structures the remainder of their performed tracks. From 90s-esque, trance-style synths in their opener, to acid-tinted electronic pulses in their secondary showcase, with recurring, foot-stomp worthy krautrock themes on the drum machine throughout.

A fitting title for their finale, as a sharp and biting loop dominates in their darkwave, standout single ‘Teeth’. The bassline doesn’t change, the consistent, moody melody remains the same as other details begin to build, creating a more ominous, looming epitome. Sidney’s hypnotic vocals repeat “I see grit in my teeth”, eventually reaching an anxiety-inducing crescendo before ending abruptly, as the crowd reaches a crescendo of approval.

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