Meat Wave is an extremely hard band to pin down.
To anyone who was growing up in the dot com boom, they bring back horrendous memories of a similarly named website that would be on your computer in your year 8 I.T class after you came back from the toilet.
To the first time listener they seem like a band that would feature on Tony Hawk ProSkater/between the scenes on American Pie, depending on your frame of reference.
Either way, they are quintessentially American and a bit mid-2000s, but brilliant, nonetheless.
So, with all this nostalgia, Gullivers in Northern Quarter was a perfect venue, lying on the cool side of shabby.
“This is the second time we’ve been here this year,” singer Chris Sutter said to the fairly hip crowd.
“In February we played across the road at the, erm, Castle Hotel.”
They were returning to Oldham Street to promote their new album, Delusion Moon, which is a bit of a polemic against the modern world.
Despite the brevity of the set, just half an hour, the Chicago based post-hardcore trio smashed through some of this new album, including title track Delusion Moon.
The set list also included I’ve got Ants, which is about as garage rock as a song can get, tipping its hat to early Nirvana, as well as Cosmic Zoo and, perhaps the highlight of the evening, Brother.
Most of Meat Wave’s songs are on the short side – Brother doesn’t even break the two minute mark – but they’re all played with a ferocity that wouldn’t suggest that this is one of the later shows in a gruelling tour which included seven shows up and down the British Isles in just seven days.
This work ethic is reflected in the show, which is a bit of an assault on the senses.
They don’t say much in between songs, but the silence didn’t last long, as jagged power chords and the whiney vocals of Sutter boomed around churchhall-esque room and hit you in the face like a big slab of musical meat.
If talent was reflected in how many punters showed up, there would probably have been more people at Meat Wave, although, if social media is anything to go by, far more attended gigs up and down the country then came out on in Manchester on a Friday night.
I’ve no doubt next time they make the trip to Oldham Street – Night and Day, perhaps? – there will be a far greater number in attendance.
Their relentless work ethic will make sure of it.
Image courtesy of Audiotreetv, via Youtube, with thanks