When you say, ‘I’m going to see WU LYF tonight’, most people look at you with an expression that says, ‘who/what is that?’ They’re quite the mysterious bunch, aren’t they? They’re reasonably unheard of but it’s understandable, really. For most people, the screamo-hymn vibe is a tad on the weird side but there are those (they have a very loyal, cult following) who adore the Manchester band for their totally one-of-a-kind style.
It’s a Thursday night at the HMV Ritz in Manchester and the band are about to play what they will later describe as their swansong. Lead singer and organ extraordinaire, Ellery Roberts, claimed at the closing show of their recent UK tour, in London, that it was there last ever gig and said ‘goodbye forever’ to the crowd. However, considering the band’s tendency to throw the word ‘forever’ around, it’s likely that we haven’t heard the last from them.
The LYF logo, which is reminiscent of a paper Ikea lamp, glows softly on the stage and there’s a definite air of anticipation floating around amongst all the denim jacket clad gig goers. There’s a sense that it’ll be a brilliant set. When Ellery and co. eventually emerge through a cloud of stage smoke, there is uproar. The crowd go mental. It’s like God has just strolled out.
They play a newer track, ‘Going To a Party (Going To Save That White Man’s Soul)’ but it’s material from their album Go Tell Fire To The Mountain that drives the set and it’s no bad thing. Tracks like ‘Spitting Blood’ and ‘Dirt’ trigger absolute chaos and then, you’ve got the likes of ‘Concrete Gold’ which sounds even more powerful and emotional when played live.
The band disappear for a short while before the encore and during the short break, the crowd breaks into a rendition of ‘We Bros’, demanding that the band play the anthemic song. It’s a special moment and the wishes of the fans are fulfilled when they end with their signature number. Ellery belts out the monumental chorus and we shout back with just as much gusto. What proves to be a completely electric performance is topped off by an impressive stage dive from Ellery; he launches himself into the crowd and there is a clumsy stumble as people try their best to get close enough to touch that iconic, customised jacket.
It was a memorable performance and the huge smile on the singer’s face hinted that it was one of their favourite shows. The music industry could do with more bands like WU LYF. Yeah, it’s experimental and it’s too unusual for most but for the ones who can appreciate their material, it’s refreshing and interesting. I hope they haven’t played their last gig because they’re a bloody brilliant band and they have the potential to be even more innovative. WU LYF, I love you forever.
By Elizabeth Coop
Dance Yrself Clean