Confidence Man @ The Ritz Ballroom, Manchester, UK, 3rd May, 2022 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, May 30th, 2024  

Confidence Man

Confidence Man @ The Ritz Ballroom, Manchester, UK, 3rd May, 2022,

May 13, 2022 Web Exclusive Photography by Andy Von Pip Bookmark and Share

To really get the complete Confidence Man experience, you simply have to see them live. Their show at the Manchester’s Ritz Ballroom as part of their Tilt (see our review HERE) tour was nothing short of spectacular.

The contrast between the masked duo of Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild on keyboards and drums, looking like a cross between Harry Potter’s Dementors and Beekeepers in mourning and the colourful hyperactive front duo of Janet Planet and Sugar Bones couldn’t be starker. The duo arrive onstage in suitably bonkers style wearing outsize suits ala Stop Making Sense era Talking Heads. The suits are quickly discarded and then it’s a chaotic explosion of non-stop fun as Planet and Bones whirl about the stage like unhinged marionettes on a sugar rush, barely pausing for breath. As a spectacle, it’s jaw-droppingly incredible and three songs in you wonder if the duo can sustain this level of madcap energy throughout the entire set, the short answer is they can - and then some.

The costume changes are lightning-fast meaning the show never loses momentum as the duo switch between costumes that see Planet variously in a baby doll nightie replete with an LED Madonna-style conical bra, leopard skin shorts and top whilst Sugar Bones arrives at various junctures shirtless and as a PVC clad cowboy as they up the ante in OTT campness stakes.

They may be a band that irk the musical librarians and chin-stroking purists making “proper music” on manly guitars hewn from wood, as evidenced when the Australian alternative radio station Triple J faced a backlash after declaring them “the best up-and-coming live band in Australia.” However, it’s difficult to argue with that assertion after this show other than by replacing “Australia” with “the world”(cue backlash.)

Confidence Man may have started as a tongue-in-cheek side project, but the sheer energy and joyous celebratory vibe they summon which is fully embraced by those in attendance is genuinely off the scale. It’s one of the most engaging, hypnotic, full-on endearingly bonkers shows you’re likely to see. They race through the tunes at a breakneck pace with tracks from their latest album Tilt making even more sense live than on record, “Feels Like A Different Thing ” sounds biblical as Planet and Sugar bones prowl and prance about the stage, “Holiday” sounds anthemic whereas earlier tracks such as “Boyfriend (repeat) “and “Don’t You Know I’m In A Band” sound wonderfully unhinged live. The set is a glorious technicolour mix of the off the wall ironic bratty art-pop of the B-52s with a hint of Le Tigre and good old fashion old skool banging House tunes and you can only marvel at Planet’s ability to leap through the air, spin, contort her body into a variety of mad shapes and carry on singing without missing a beat.

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to come away from a Confidence Man gig without feeling the world is a better place with them in it. It’s a hugely enjoyable life-affirming experience and one which Confidence Man put their hearts souls and bodies into. They finish with a crowd-surfing version of “Bubblegum” and their job here is done as rapturous applause rings out. Music can move you in many ways and if it’s about pure entertainment, non-stop earworms and bringing the joy then this was a gig that delivered it in spades. If you’re going to a festival this year, make sure you catch them live, you won’t regret it.


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