A performance from purgatory: MOLD @ The Castle Hotel

By March 23, 2018

Music. Manchester.

Photo: Joe Taylor

Following the launch of their new single ‘Puppetmaster‘ at Soup Kitchen, MOLD have been performing all over the North West. Despite the cold Monday evening, a large crowd packed into the Castle Hotel, a venue perfect for a band with MOLD’s appetite for theatrics. The gloomy, heavily-decorated room fills with sound easily and makes for a spooky environment. As the support for Sweaty Palms, one would expect most of MOLD’s set to be ignored by punters warming their bones in the other room. But the band played to large audience, and plied The Castle with jagged guitar licks and fragmented rhythms. 

‘Performance’ is the most effective description of the evening. Whether enjoying the face painting, the constant physical engagement with the crowd, or the general inability to pause between songs to hear applause, MOLD’s set doesn’t feel like a tentative run-through of a forthcoming album. It’s the kind of pace enjoyed best live, with pulsing bass and loud DIY guitars. The music itself is energetic and covers a large amount of ground. In ‘Six more miles’ and ‘Apocalypse a-go-go’ the drummer and the percussionist, Sam Hunter and Mitch Dean, use complicated, math-y rhythms to move between the songs without pausing for applause. By the end of the performance, the audience were immersed in the show; ‘Ringleader’ provided the opportunity for Shane Dickinson and Dan Caldwell to break into the crowd and taunt them with confrontational lyrics.

The recently launched ‘Puppetmaster’ probably gives the best overview of the band’s sound. The childlike playground melodies are set against overpowering drums. When heard live, it becomes the kind of sticky tune which haunts the rest of your evening. At no point was the performance broken back down into an audience/performer relationship. Even the change of instruments took place during the early stages of the textured synth intro to their sign-off piece, ‘The Rut’. This prevented the crowd the opportunity to really applaud the band or for the band to engage in any ad-lib or conversation. As well as maintaining the tempo of the music, it meant that MOLD could get through a large amount of material without losing the energy of their opening tracks.

The set was clearly well rehearsed and geared for this sort of performance, with a boozy crowd in an intimate venue where the interaction with the audience was welcomed and added another dimension to the affair rather than a distraction.

MOLD are playing all over the country in the next few weeks but you can see them in Manchester on 28 April at the Sabotage Festival at Night and Day. If they can do this on a Monday, I’m nervous to see what they can do on a Saturday.

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