Hot off the heels of their first album release, and a few days after a string of sold-out, socially-distanced shows in Manchester, Yorkshire four-piece Working Men’s Club last week announced an impromptu pair of live shows at Oslo in Hackney. Seven months on from their last string of shows in front of a live audience, the band promised a socially-distanced affair in Covid-secure conditions.
Less than 48 hours after buying our tickets – sold strictly in pairs – we were waiting in Oslo’s beer terrace in anticipation of the gig. This was to be our second live show in less than a month (who’d have thought!), having attended The Wytches’ socially-distanced gig at Signature brew at the end of September. The safety measures in place at Signature Brew were top-notch, and we couldn’t help but wonder whether Oslo – a tiny indoor venue – would be able to uphold the same standard.
As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about, and upon entry we were given a quick briefing – there was to be no singing or dancing, our masks must stay on unless seated, and our drinks could be ordered through an app and delivered to our table. A little dystopian? Perhaps. Different to the usual type of gig we’d attend at Oslo? Most definitely. But we had to commend the venue for their efforts to keep us all safe, and of course; restricted live music is an upgrade on no live music.
The venue, which would normally host over 300 attendees, now seated just over 50 lucky ticket-holders, arranged neatly into tables of two. At 8:30pm sharp, a hush fell over the room as the four-piece nonchalantly strolled onto the stage before breaking into ‘Tomorrow’. A storm of an opener, the band are clearly working at 100mph from the get-go as frontman Sidney Minksy-Sargeant struts about the stage to the sound of hammering riffs and beats reminiscent of 90s rave tunes.
The band’s hour-long set seems to go by in a flash as they churn through hits taken from their self-titled debut – which landed in the UK Top 20 the day after the gig. Without coming up for air once, they have the crowd (if you can call it a crowd) by the necks from start to finish.
Working Men’s Club are certainly one of the most refreshing bands around at the moment, offering a fresh new take on alternative rock and possessing the charisma needed to captivate a crowd for a gig of this format. The band are clearly taking this new approach to gigging in their stride despite the set-up being worlds away from their usual rowdiness, and with another show lined up in Sheffield tomorrow it’s evident they won’t be letting up any time soon. We can only hope we’ll be able to catch the band once again when gigs as we once knew them return at full steam.
Working Men’s Club’s debut album is out now. Stream it below: