Tonight’s gig is situated in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, an indie community of niche cafes, vintage clothing and intimate music havens. The Aatma is a hidden gem within these streets and the narrow alleyway could easily be missed. Only a single A4 sheet stuck to the wall advertises No Hot Ashes.
The set up for the gig revolves around Mr Peeps, a Mancunian podcast host whose mission is to promote “The Very Best in Unsigned Bands.” His headline for tonight’s array of unsigned bands is No Hot Ashes, a quartet of lads from Stockport. They’re a young band which makes the sound they produce all the more impressive and contagious.
The Aatma’s audience are a mixed bag; balding middle aged men who seemed to have come for a midlife crisis head bang, women fanning themselves within the heat of the venue and a faithful younger audience coming to enjoy the indie music. (A promising sign for the band’s future). But the range of ages doesn’t matter here as they all come together as one, slightly drunken, mass throwing themselves against each other embracing the music.
Mr Peeps steps up and announces No Hot Ashes and thanks the audience for, “supporting local music, it’s what it’s all about.” No Hot Ashes definitely had the support from their audience tonight.
The set begins with “Cigs”, immediately as the band begin to play the crowd are moving to the beat. It’s a calm beginning, easing us into No Hot Ashes’ sound. The smooth riffs by lead guitarist Luigi increase in speed and intensity, leading to an insane solo which infects the crowd who equally go insane as hands are thrown into the air. It’s a promising start of more manic rhythms to come.
Next up is “Smooth”, introduced by a loud cackle from lead singer Isaac. The crowd join Isaac as he throws his head back for a euphoric cry “smooooth.” By this point the band have captured the audience, clapping along to the bridge and swaying their hips as the sound intensifies and the band are taken away with the music, the sweat already pouring from them.
Now begins the unforgettable bass, played by Jack, introducing “Skank”. Isaac leaves his guitar behind and takes full control of the microphone, holding it tightly to his lips. The lyrics are fast as he paces the stage drawing the crowd in as he leans and throws his arms out to them, a true front man rapping in his element. It’s the band as a whole however that create an elated and wild atmosphere, they come together to produce a raw sound that’s rude not to move to; Jack’s bass is addictive, Matt’s drums are flawless and Luigi’s riffs are extraordinary. The audience are taken by the pace of the song as jumps speed up and the head bangs continue, everyone is into this one. The crowd and band are in their element together.
Next up is a new one, suitably called “New 1”, it begins as a relaxing come down from their previous tunes with an almost dreamy chorus with the smooth lyrics, “I think I’m dreaming again.” But then the catchy No Hot Ashes’ rhythm kicks in and the grooving continues as the guitar riffs build up becoming a psychedelic whir which the audience lose themselves in and throw themselves around, completely lost within the music.
“Easy Peeler” is the next beat which is impossible not to dance to and the crowd get into a jam upon Luigi’s perfect solo. The start stop beat is addictive and has an increased tempo to the original recording which drives the crowd crazy. The band slam their feet in time with the beat together, fully engrossed in their music. Isaac has fun with the song, changing the tone of his voice from low to stuttering the lyrics.
Recently released “Cool Cat” is up next and filled with funk, the original recorded jazz interludes are replaced by live guitar which works perfectly, nothing is lost from the song. Isaac seems elated as he woos along to the song in the intro.
“Goose” is announced to be their last song which rightfully so is met with boos by the crowd, they don’t want their night to end with No Hot Ashes. It’s the perfect ending, a song that defines their sound. The audience are left, as Mr Peeps says, “well and truly f****d up.” The band, as with previous songs, increase the tempo to what the audience are used to making them go even more crazy with their moves, a sea of head bangers bouncing to the beat. Isaac embraces the crowd as he launches his body towards them, crowd surfing yet still playing on. It’s an amazing atmosphere, ending on a high.
By the end everyone is truly in a sweat but it’s not over yet. The band stick around after the gig to catch up and chat with fans, they’re even offering out shots of tequila…seems like this might just be the start of the night.
I spoke to Luigi about the plan with the new songs played tonight, he excitedly told me they were hopefully getting back into the studio…watch this space.
No Hot Ashes are a band you must look out for, they clearly love what they’re doing and own the stage with their catchy beats. If you want an unforgettable night filled with music, sweat and booze then No Hot Ashes might be the band for you.