Much talked about Manchester trio The Longcut, enter without ceremony and fly straight into the first bars of their many-layered force.
They move little on stage, presence coming instead from their concentrated intensity. Frontman Stuart Ogilvie wails with eyes-shut passion, before doing his well-known switch to the drums. Hunched and fringe-hidden guitarist Lee treats his instrument as if it’s an animal he must contain, but is nonetheless impeccable in his janglescatrch fretwork, while bassist John just gets on with providing a brooding undercurrent.
Despite the ferocity of the sound, the audience remain largely still. We’re not sure if this is appreciation, confusion or indifference but The Fly and its associates in a minority moving to the music. Ogilvie jumps back to the front for the long rush of ‘A Tried and Tested Method’ and on ‘Gravity in Crisis’ adds nifty dancing to his abilities. Though he remains a better sticksman than singer, his passion and the way his vocals form an extension of the rhythm is powerful.
And The Longcut are all about the rhythm. It isn’t the kind of pulse that immediately compels you to grind you hips or bounce. Instead it slowly gets into your nervous system and when it’s burrowed deep enough, takes over without your knowledge, on the likes of mesmerizing Massive Attack-with-guitars of ‘The Kiss Off’ and the driving, expanding ‘Lonesome No More!’.
Their songs are loose in structure, taking speedy but long tours before they reach were they heading. In the wrong hands this sort of game can turn into plodding, shoegazing nonsense, but they have the knack to make it a nerve-tingling journey.
As they play the climbing, incessant ‘Spires’ the message seems to finally reach were it needs to in the crowd and led by a single enthusiastic female, the audience begin to shift their bodies. Closing on a blistering ‘A Quiet Life’, which merges an unapologetic dance groove, metallic guitar flicks and Ogilvie’s most clear shouts, finally convinces the majority to shake their booty.
The Longcut’s music is epic, but not ‘big’. Rather than climb mountains, it runs through dark caves lit by disco lights and while not immediately gripping, it is slowly captivating. There seems to remain however, something of a gap between them and the audience. Maybe they need to refine what they poses or maybe it’s up to us to adjust to their settings. They leave without an encore, likely to a bright future.
By Kenn Taylor