Maruja & Courting @ Les Nuits Botanique (roundabout): Above Manchester Liverpool

© Charlie Harris

On the final day of Les Nuits, Botanic had an amazing post-punk double bill for fans. With Maruja and Gording, the organization did not put two football rivals on stage (Maruja is from Manchester, Gording from Liverpool), musically the two bands were far apart. That joy could not be spoiled, because fans of this type of music loved both groups. One had a dark vibe that transported you to Botanic’s cellars, while the other offered an unsurprisingly vivid atmosphere, a mosh pit. In that way they complemented each other, although Maruja was the clear winner.

In the middle of a tour through the United Kingdom, Maruja made a small U-turn towards Belgium. The quartet from Manchester were in our country for the first time and did their best to make a lasting impression. to exit. And did the band. After an abrupt introduction, the Brits got into the real thing and pushed the accelerator hard. During “Rage” they had Rage Against the Machine, and then we mainly refer to frontman Harry Wilson’s unleashed energy: there were even some surprisingly hard-hitting hip-hop verses. Maruja had already strangled us for a long time and was tightening his grip more and more.

The sweat drops from the band members said it all; Maruja was all out during his first match on Belgian soil. Saxophonist Joe Carroll in particular has proven time and time again to be the key to unlocking the gates of heaven. In “Blind Spot” he dazzles with his ability to give socks goosebumps even to the discoverer. The build-up in the set already suggested there was a lot more punishment at the end, and that turned out to be the case. “The Thinker” steadily unfolded and got that sharp catharsis that made our hearts beat faster. The packed rotunda turned a blind eye Let yourself be taken on a captivating and intense roller coaster. By the final chord “Kakistrocacy” the ride really got a bit rough and unpredictable. The conjuring saxophone was completely absorbed by the Brussels hemisphere, while the other trio squeezed the last remnants from their instruments with energy and dedication. Apotheosis created an impenetrable lock that left no one unmoved and left everyone speechless. One of the best concerts of Les Nuits 2023 is in the name of Maruja from yesterday!

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It was a tough task for Gording to surpass Maruja, or at least do it. There was an immediate energetic opening with “Tennis,” and this way a bit more speed entered Gording’s set than we’ve seen before. The band had to be clear about bouncy energetic post-punk songs, and they quickly realized that. The frontman was on stage with a cowboy hat and baggy pants, and for a moment we thought we were going to get a country concert, but when “Football” smashed everything, everything became clear. Full power is selected here.

Courting is not a band that takes a natural route during its songs. For example, during “Cross” we heard a snippet of Icona Pop and Charli XCX’s “I Love It,” but brought in a little more funky. It’s a fun interlude and not one. During “Slow Burner” we heard references to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns ‘N Roses and a Nokia ringtone. Yes, the chording did not take itself too seriously, it created a certain energy in the room, only new songs clearly fell into the basket.

The band invented Autotune, which was used for half of the new songs. You could see that audiences didn’t like it, and songs like “Flex” and “Jumper” were less unique than the tighter songs from earlier in their career. Kording likes to use Autotune to give his songs some unique sound, but forgets to make good songs. In that sense all that new music is a weak copy of The Strokes, which is a shame.

Fortunately, “Popshop!” But for the flame in the pan. The first good song caused a mosh pit and when “Slow Burner” went for power, the room was full. Especially when the frontman walks into the audience and presents his cowbell to everyone. Even those who couldn’t find the melody each brought some circumstances in their own way. After that, the audience kept throwing themselves to even the lesser songs of the intro Guitar music. “Loaded” was a bombshell again, but it couldn’t hide the fact that it was less powerful than songs from their early days. The double-speed “Football” still had a piss round was a good ending in the end, but it’s clear that the new line Gording continues isn’t one that’s going to make the band even more popular.

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Set list:

Batside by David Byrne
Grand National
Pop shop!
New no
Slow Burner

Football (played fast)

Ferdinand Woolridge

 "Subtly charming analyst. Beer maven. Future teen idol. Twitter guru. Lifelong bacon fan. Pop culture lover. Passionate social media evangelist."

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