Night & Day, Manchester, 31st January 2019
Ever since I first heard Phobophobes’ 2015 single Advertise Your Life I’ve been hooked on the unique energy behind their sound and their stylised approach to their mesmeric snaking rhythms. The music scene isn’t exactly short of swampy psych rock, but the South London 6-piece have the distinction in their sound to bring the genre into a whole new era. And if you haven’t already joined them along for the ride, it’s probably time you got onboard.
Hearing a band that you admire so much on record can always be a daunting experience. But from the moment the concordance of their synergised instrumental arrangement hit the monitors it was evident that not one note was going to fall flat.
From the first track to the last Phobophobes had magnetic command over the crowd, it may have taken the crowd a little while to warm up (quite literally – it was freezing). But mid-way through the set, there were plenty of people fuelled by the energy of their celestially salacious tracks from their debut album “Miniature World”. Starting a mini wall of death in Night & Day isn’t an easy feat for a Rock n Roll band, but the fact that was possible speaks volumes of the visceral energy which breathed through the room.
While many bands falling into the dark Psychedelic Rock n Roll genre may see adopting a brash Rock persona as non-optional, frontman Jamie Bardolph Taylor bowled over the audience with his reserved, demure lack of aggrandized swagger. I’m pretty sure if he wanted to start a cult; many people would follow.
At first, I wasn’t quite sure how Phobophobes would match the energy of their support act FEMUR, but they were the euphonic calm after the storm. The Sheffield-based fourpiece support act created a monster with their reincarnation of Grunge laced with Psychedelia which came alive through enough distortion that the guitars may as well have been buzz saws. The whole world may be raving about IDLES right now with a blind eye to bands such as FEMUR, but the remarkable amount of volatility in their sound almost made IDLES seem comparable to Bon Jovi. But that’s something that you will have to witness for yourselves before you decide if I’m exaggerating.
Review by Amelia Vandergast