Manchester based band Ist Ist make their way north to Sneaky Pete’s, drawing an intimate and seriously cool crowd for a seriously cool show.
What set Ist Ist apart from the rest of the line up is their ability to channel the energy of the crowd. With just a stretched out bass chord, an eerie scratching sound or, in one instance, an intoxicatingly crazed drum solo by Joel Kay, they create a fluid and atmospheric performance that keeps the audience immersed. When their energy builds to screams and blaring guitars it never feels abrupt or for its own sake, but inevitable and almost logical. We are under their spell. Their set ends with Adam Houghton knocking over his mic stand and the band walking through the crowd and out the front door, not acknowledging our applause nor allowing us its release.
Their stage presence resists labelling. In simple button-downs and t-shirts but with deliberate, stoic and almost ceremonial movements and presence, Ist Ist seem at once relatable and otherworldly. They read as both cool and nerdy, highly stylized but honest, nonchalant while somehow also being emotive, reflective and at times a little pained.
They draw an audience which contains some clearly loyal fans. One fan who has followed the group up from Manchester shares that what really got him hooked on Ist Ist was, “Just the energy, you know you just see Adam [Houghton] and he means every single word that he’s singing and like music’s about that, it’s about meaning something”.
Experiencing Ist Ist live helps you see what he means. Their apocalyptic, post-punk sound with performative, bordering on melodramatic vocals is professional and individual, honest and emotional. It’s clear Ist Ist know who they are and are up to something really unique.