Just Mustard, White Flowers and Loungewear at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 25/09/22

A night that, for those of us old enough to remember, could have been a late 80’s/early 90’s shoegaze event. No problem with that at all with all three bands delivering great sets with a completely different take on the sounds that were huge back then.

Loungewear open the night’s proceedings and it’s great to see there’s a decent crowd in to see them. Too often a support band plays to a venue only 20% full but not Loungewear who, being local, have started to build a real support base. Great guitar sound overlaying some powerful drumming which together with Laura Cheshire’s vocals creates a sound not a million miles away from the heavier moments of early Cranberries mixed with a small slice of The Sundays.

‘Day By Day’, the debut album from Preston’s White Flowers evokes feelings of bleak isolation, dreamy landscapes and deep, introspective thoughts and it’s pleasing to see they convey these feelings perfectly as a live unit. The delicate vocals of Katie Drew compliment the looping, atmospheric guitar work of Joey Cobb to create a soundscape that drifts around the venue enveloping the entire place in an atmosphere just waiting to carry you to distant places. Comparisons with the Cocteau Twins are unavoidable. Anyone wishing for new material by that long departed band will find everything they desire, and more, in White Flowers.

Listen to almost anything by Just Mustard and you’d be able to predict exactly what the lights are going to be like at one of their gigs. But we won’t complain too much about the all encompassing red or blue. Like Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital Just Mustard hail from Ireland and have in the past supported FD.C. on both US and UK tours. But that’s where the comparison stops. Whilst Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital have played a part in the upsurge in popularity of that well known post-punk sound Just Mustard have stayed well clear. Most who hear Just Mustard for the first time won’t, however, be surprised to hear that they were handpicked by Robert Smith to support The Cure back in 2019. Tonight’s set is dominated new album Heart Under with 9 of the 14 songs played taken from it. Brooding, ominous, often dreamy, songs such as I Am You, 23, In Shade, all underpinned by monotonous, doom laden bass lines, guitars that scream through banks of effects pedals and drum beats that make tapping your feet and bobbing your head irresistible. But no more movement than that for Just Mustard’s sound is hypnotic and the band barely move from the positions they took up when they walked on stage.

Over it all the voice of Katie Ball soars. It doesn’t matter that the actual words are not easy to decipher because the sound is mesmorising. Standout tracks include 2019 single October – the perfect soundtrack to a deep, dark nightmare, the rumbling Still with it’s musical references to Joy Division/early New Order, and closing number Seed – almost five minutes of repetitive drums, searing guitars pushed through every effect imagineable and that voice searing through your head. Just Mustard leave the stage after a simple “Thank You”. There’s no encore and we’re left with a sense of having just experienced a special gig by a band on the cusp of breaking into a particularly bright future.

Words and Photos by Steve White


Philip Goddard

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