Photo credit: Squid Instagram
The main appeal of Squid lies in how atypical they are as a band setup. The drummer/lead vocalist Ollie Judge takes centre stage, propped up on his kit in the area where your frontman/woman would normally parade. The rest of the outfit make themselves at home around his incredible simultaneous drumming and singing talent.
It’s not only the band’s stage set up which plays on unconvention, as the multi-faceted, post-punk-avant-jazz-and-whatever-the-fuck-else inspired musicians carve their path in ways in which only they really know.
Manchester’s Albert Hall is a historic venue. With the stained glass windows and auditorium layout, it gives an added sense of magic to every show performed there, especially when it’s vibrant with as many music lovers as tonight. These surroundings suit the band, whose relentlessly paced rhythms paired with brass and synth glory gives the night an overall feeling of a chariot race to hell.
They fly through favourites off of the album without ever really coming up for air. It is rare that Squid ever break from their songs for additional theatrics, with the focal point of their performances quite simply their sheer playing. The audience definitely doesn’t mind this.
With a huge debut album under their belt, they have earned the right to command an encore to the show, and this is exactly what they do after finishing first EP favourite ‘Houseplants’ – departing the stage only to return amidst the pantomime crowd calling for one more song.
In the encore, they somehow ramp up the pace even more so for the finale. Props to their lighting engineer who has crafted an unbelievable show to compliment the energy of the band to a tee. This is particularly notable in the strobe happy ending of ‘Pamphlets’ which brings the set to a triumphant close.
It’ll be a while until we stop saying just how great it is to have live shows back to normal, and Squid at Manchester Albert Hall is definitely not the time to stop saying it. It was brilliant to see such a varied audience of age, background and eccentricities indulging in the catharsis of live music once again, which in this case was brought to you by one of the most exciting avant-garde acts of recent times, who are continuing to earn themselves the mainstream platform that their efforts deserve.