Live Review: Sextile at The Castle Hotel, Manchester
Sextile rip through their latest LP Albeit Living at intimate and steamy Manchester venue, The Castle Hotel - 24th January.
The stage in Manchester’s legendary Castle Hotel is somewhat limited. It creates a strange tension and an aggressive energy, making gigs here particularly memorable.
Tonight, old-school goths, post-punk fans, and curious punters are stood shoulder to shoulder, in the dingy back room of this pub in the Northern Quarter to watch the latest talked-about Los Angeles exports, Sextile.
A murmur ripples through the crowd assembled in front of the stage when lead singer Brady Keehn announces that the set tonight will be dedicated to Mark. E. Smith of The Fall, who sadly passed away earlier in the day. This was all the more poignant as he was known to frequent this venue himself.
The band are undeniably glamorous in a bleach-blonde, vampiric kind of way, with their high cheekbones and monochrome style, and while the music may also owe something to the 80's, tonight their sound is raw and current.
The humidity in the room might help to protect the Californians from British wintertime, indeed Keehn was forced to shed his Lost Boys-style leather jacket after the first track, but Sextile’s dark, dangerous, and seductive sound is a far cry from the psychedelic pop that is popular amongst their LA contemporaries and feels utterly at home in Manchester.
They power through a tight setlist of tracks taken mainly from their latest release Albeit Living, treating the eager audience to two-minute punches of throbbing industrial synths and pounding drum beats. By the second song, ‘Who Killed 6’, the audience gets it. This is music that urges you to move and express yourself in whichever way you want to. Onstage chat is kept strictly to a minimum allowing the audience to stay immersed in the atmosphere. Keehn’s hypnotic vocals and furious lashing of the mic wire lend each track an intensity, while notably drummer, Melissa Scaduto, stands behind her drum kit, adding to the ferocity of the performance. The jarring, EDM quality of album track, ‘AVC’ keeps energy levels high and ‘One of These’ in the encore is a definite crowd favourite. By the time the lights flicked on again even the walls were dripping with sweat.
Sextile play further UK dates, including a headlining set at the Shacklewell Arms in London and are set to continue their European tour throughout February.