Soulwax at O2 Ritz Manchester: Review

The alternative rock / electronic band Soulwax are touring with their live show 'Transient Program for Drums and Machinery'. Promoting their first album in 13 years ‘Much Against Everyone’s Advice’ which was recorded live with the band, capturing songs all together in one take in their DEEWEE studios in Ghent.

By Manchester's Finest | April 20th '17

The alternative rock / electronic band Soulwax are touring with their live show ‘Transient Program for Drums and Machinery‘. Promoting their first album in 13 years ‘Much Against Everyone’s Advice’ which was recorded live with the band, capturing songs all together in one take in their DEEWEE studios in Ghent.

The support act tonight are DJ’s from the DEEWEE record label, up on the Ritz balcony due to the huge stage set already in place. They warm the crowd up perfectly.

The Belgian brothers who are core Soulwax members (Stephen and David Dewaele wer) handpicked the musicians for the tour. Which includes; original band member Stefaan Van Leuven on bass guitar & synth, three drummers – Victoria Smith (Jamie T, M.I.A, the XX, Ipso Facto), Iggor Cavalera (Sepultura, MIXHELL), Blake Davies (Turbowolf), and Laima Leyton (MIXHELL) on synth and backing vocals, Soulwax are taking a micro version of their DEEWEE studio on the road.

The stage setup has two huge synths to the front centre stage surrounded by Black & White booths with drapes over them. As the intro to “Masterplanned” begins, the Black & White cloth drops the three drummers and full stage set is revealed. Three impressive custom drum kits dominate the stage left, right and rear with the boys positioned in the middle. Their album artwork is a 3D sculpture at the front of the stage staring into the crowd.

Straight away, the drummers own the stage, it shouldn’t work but Soulwax have shown their musical genius, it’s also easy to see why they have picked these musicians. The drummers are in perfect sync and you can see the effects of having all musicians in one studio together recording the album.

There is a massive cheer from the crowd when they drop into new track ‘Missing Wires’. Track after track after track blends on and on, through to the next as flashlights pop up from every corner of the stage with every bang there is a flash. The boxed-in live drummers let loose throughout and give off an energy that blows the crowd away.

The Ritz dance floor is literally bouncing; the crowd are amazed and can’t help but move to every drum beat, who would have thought it was a Sunday (and sunny) evening in Manchester!

Good evening Manchester we are Soulwax!”

The band leave the stage and the crowd catch their breath. There is an air of uncertainty as to whether they will return for an encore. With great pleasure, they are back! The band find their way back to their instrumental stations for final tracks ‘E Talking’ and ‘Miserable Girl’ The central head sculpture is now spinning with spot lights on it like a disco ball and its one big party!

The party does not stop there. 2ManyDJs (Soulwax Dewaele brothers) masterminds take to the decks of Gorilla across the road for an epic set. Playing various remixes of alter-ego bands, funky R&B, to hip-hop and techno.

Over two decades on, Soulwax are back with an incredible album and an immense unforgettable live tour. It’s a must see! The band return to Manchester in July, Soulwax and their drummers are on the line up for this year’s Blue Dot festival in Macclesfield, along with many other cracking bands. Tickets are still available. http://www.discoverthebluedot.com/tickets.php