Chastity Belt @ Star and Garter, Manchester, 6 Sep
Chastity Belt's set tonight is hypnotic and comfortably static
The opening couplet of Complain – which ushers in Chastity Belt’s set – feels like it could’ve been written over the last couple of hours: 'I’ve had a drink and ate some stuff / now I’m already bored'. It’s half nine by the time the Seattle punks arrive, and their presence couldn’t be more requisite.
Openers Gorgeous Bully recall the embrace of messiness that makes bands like Teen Suicide so fun; DIY bedroom pop translates smoothly to stage, taking volume and energy in its stride. Sadly, there’s little to explore once you get past the energy and volume. There are a couple of melancholy pivots in the set, too, that fail to feel anything other than totally jarring – and the rapid pace at which the Manchester band tear through their catalogue allows space for a couple of complete duds.
By the time Chastity Belt walk out to an unavoidably sold out Star and Garter, we’re well overdue a set that feels cohesive and demands attention, and that’s exactly what the four-piece provide. New LP I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone dominates the setlist, bringing with it a newfound sense of sincerity to the band’s live show. Different Now, which sees an infectious surf punk jam build, slows around an incredibly tight rhythm section, stands out as a highlight.
It’s baffling that the record only came out in June; you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’ve been playing this album for years, they cruise through it with such confidence. 5am, which sees the band threaten to break their ice cold nonchalance in the name of angst, is another standout. The fact that they’re able to reign in distortion-lead motifs with such effortlessness shows just how much they’ve matured.
Chastity Belt might have shredded the tongue-in-cheek appeal that once ran central to the discourse around them, but they’ve ensured that their live show hasn’t been left behind. Their set tonight is hypnotic and comfortably static.