When I went to see Catfish and the Bottlemen play at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse last year I knew that I was in for a good show. What I wasn’t expecting was to walk away from the gig and being more blown away by the support band. That band was July Talk.
Let me back track a little. Catfish were exceptional! They commanded the stage and the crowd and left you wanting more. However for me, July Talk had the biggest impact that night. They acted as if everyone in the crowd was there to see them and no other band. The very next day I set about searching for them on Google Play and discovered that they had released two albums. The self-titled debut album July Talk and the follow up Touch which had only just been released. They were the only two albums I had on my playlist for the next two weeks.
A few months later and July Talk are taking on Europe with their own tour. This time the crowds are most definitely theirs. With only a handful of gigs throughout the UK I was very pleased to see that they were stopping in Manchester. However, where they had previously played Victoria Warehouse which has a crowd capacity of 4500, this time the venue would be the Night & Day Cafe with a crowd capacity of 250. A much more intimate gig and one which the band themselves were very excited to be playing as they had heard about the amazing atmosphere at Night and Day Cafe.
Opener Lola + Joseph kicks off the night which is only going to get better throughout the evening. Immediately followed by Summer Dress which is the biggest hit to date in their native Canada, the crowd are already in the right frame of mind for wanting more which only encourages July Talks performance. By the time the band are half way through third song Push + Pull there’s no doubt July Talk are impressing the crowd.
And it is this which sets July Talk apart from many other bands, established and new.
Most bands will come onto stage, perform their songs, get the crowd singing along and by the end of the gig demanding more. July Talk delivers a performance that gives the songs character and life. The interaction between lead singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay as they perform each song is mesmerising. Leah sways across the stage, swinging on speakers hanging inches from her head whilst Peter watches her every move with lust, hate or envy depending on the current song July Talk are performing. Their voices the perfect combination of rough and soft complement one another. At one point Peter, completely unaware that he had developed a nose bleed, his white shirt covered in blood, saw Leah handing him a towel and helping with the cleanup. Did it halt the show? No, not a chance! This is July Talk after all.
The gig featured a total of sixteen songs from both albums. Stand out tracks were Push + Pull with its heavy guitar kicking in over Peter’s rasps and Picturing Love. Strangely enough in a catalogue of strong, loud and energetic songs, it was one of the quietest tracks, Strange Habit that stood out the most. Having seen it performed live I now listen to it in a very different way when listening to Touch, the album that it is featured.
Band members Ian Docherty (Guitar), Josh Warburton (Bass) and Danny Miles (Drums) played with as much passion and energy as the two singers, Peter and Leah. The five of them were very tight as musicians and genuinely looked as if they were having a great time. For me some bands can be guilty of taking crowds for granted and come across as insincere without meaning to. But for July Talk that
thought never crossed my mind. The women chanting Leah’s name were doing so for a reason as Leah responded to the crowds’ reactions.
I don’t know when the UK will next see July Talk or at which venues. For me they have clearly established that the can deliver an amazing performance regardless of the crowd being 200 or 4000 strong. I just hope we don’t have too wait long.