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  • Writer's pictureDanny C

IST IST Edinburgh

Voodoo Rooms, 11-04-24

IST IST are no question one of my favourite bands currently touring and recording new music. What’s not to like - not only do they have the sounds of their hometown Manchester’s iconic music running through their veins, but they’re also channelling heavy Goth vibes in every beat, word and note. A few albums already under their belts, another in the pipeline and a live show that grabs your attention from the very start right through til the last, delivering great music song after song. The fact I've only got a couple of photos to add to this blog instead of my usual dozens, is one reflection of how good and engaging these lads are.

There was a big crowd of us out for this one, Slash Vaseline and me had been bigging this up for our pals enough to bring out half a dozen or so of the PeniGoths, DJ Gez (his verdict: possibly the best gig of the year so far), Titch the sometimes-Goth and a few other gig regulars like Gigeratti Grant & co, who we saw inside the near sold-out Voodoo Rooms. I’m tenuously claiming a small part in getting this gig here, having seen and spoken with the band at last Aprils Whitby Tomorrow’s Ghosts festival, my tongue in cheek ask of them to come back to Edinburgh saw them here in EH1 less than 12 months later and having missed their support slot for The Mission at SWG3 in October due to a lot of pub-related faffing pre-gig meant we were finally getting to see them north of the border again.

It's always nice to see folk at a gig but even nicer was to get a warm greeting from promoter Colin D of Under The Wires gigs and waved through without having to sort through my phone for tickets ("we know Danny, we don't need to check him off, go on through!"). Thank you Mr D and thank for putting this show on!

After a blistering start, with Stamp You Out, the tone and pace was set at relentless. Throughout the set, the tightness and almost telepathic synchronicity of the band's playing was superb with vocals that just blasted over it all, carrying the crowd along with them. Bass player Andy mentioned with fond memories their last Edinburgh gig in front of a much smaller crowd at Sneaky Pete’s, that got a Woodstock-esque “I was there” raising of hands from more than the 25 or so claiming to have been at that 2019 show and commented on an IST IST first – playing under the Voodoo Rooms' giant glitterball was new to them. By halfway through the set, it was becoming more of a distraction than a novelty for him, but he wouldn’t know the revered place it has in Gig-Antics and Kids In The Kitchen (SV's & my 80s/90s band) folklore, as both our 21st birthday shindigs were celebrated in the same venue under the very same sparkly globe. SV’s party ended with him being carried, crowd-surfing style round the hall before being blocked from getting into our nearby flat of the time (The Purple Hoose) for our afterparty by some well-meaning but clueless random who neither of us knew (or knew who we were) said Slash wasn’t getting in because it was too busy! My 21st was a surprise party arranged by Mrs Gig-Antics (and thanks to some of my loose-lipped pals I knew about for a few weeks beforehand but didn’t let on) ended in a Kylie Minogue-a-thon with the requests for Australia’s finest singer/actress/all-round Goddess dominating the DJ playlist requests. But these are throwback stories for another blog.

IST IST’s set was a great mix of tunes from across their catalogue with most coming from last year’s Protagonists and previous Architecture albums, with a few new ones thrown in the middle of the set. The new songs were tee-d up with ‘this is where you might go to the bar’ but the crowd stayed and cheered them as much as the rest of the astonishing set. If these are the standard of the new album it’s going to be as good if not better than what they’ve already done and should be a cracking addition to their roster.

They charged through the set with intensity and every turn raised the level as they went through the 20-odd songs played over an hour and a half to give us one of the best live performances I’ve seen in a long time, more enjoyable as it was in a relatively small venue and more intimate than we should have been treated to. I do hope they are back again soon, and you can guarantee when they are it’ll be in front a much larger crowd of devout fans.

A quick mention for the support band, Rude Films, who DJ Gez and I went in to catch on the recommendation of some Edinburgh Gigeratti pals. I’ll say they weren’t really my type of band or sound, but they were very engaging, energetic and did delight quite a bit of the early crowd in to catch them. They reminded me a bit of a band I saw support Future Islands a few years ago, who I thought were complete timewasters and wouldn't ever amount to anything. But hey, what do I know…that was Idles, so with that I’m sure Rude Films will have a great future ahead of them!

After the finale (with an ‘imagined’ encore where the band didn’t leave the stage and come back on again but asked us to close our eyes and cheer!), our crowd decamped to the nearby iconic Café Royal for drinks and discussion on how good IST IST were. Eating whole raw chillies wasn’t in my plans for the evening but at the prompting of DJ Gez, I did and it sums up just how good the band were, the chillies were a long way short of being as hot as IST IST.


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Apr 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Aye. That sums the guys up nicely.

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