Live Review: Square Wild at The Yard, Manchester on 19-02-22

Square Wild's Mini Mega Fest at The Yard, Manchester

Written By: Victoria Llewelyn

Square Wild are an unexpected, enigmatic and most intriguing bunch. Described as ‘experimental rock’, a genre that’s open to interpretation, they are fronted up by the force of nature that is Lucy Shevchuk, joined by Tomos Cooper on drums, Jack Vallance on guitar and Benedict Rhodes on bass. They also like to include the occasional special guest just to mix it up a little more, and had a few surprises in store for the keen audience packed into the small but perfectly formed performance space at The Yard on a rainy Saturday night.


Not for Square Wild the usual launch party to mark the release of their new EP The Tree.P – they put together an entire afternoon and evening of festival style entertainment, with an open mic session, food stalls (amazing pizza) a bar with a million different flavours of gin, artwork and an eclectic selection of bands spanning different genres yet with one thing in common – they all sound killer live. It’s been a refreshing evening this far, and a very buoyant and happy crowd awaits as Square Wild take to the stage to headline their very own Mini Mega Fest.

Photo © Tessa Carol

The opening piano chords of So Much More ring out and it doesn’t go unnoticed that there are five band members on stage, not four. Introducing the first special guest appearance of Tom Shevchuk (yep, that’s Lucy’s dad) and his beautifully decorated violin, adding yet another element to the colourful sonance which clashes pounding drums and thumping basslines with a delicate piano melody.

This is the perfect introduction to Square Wild; vibrant, kaleidoscopic and diverse, the performers on stage clearly as excited as the crowd and catching the eye as well as they catch the ear.

Hounds quickly follows with a harder rock vibe, Lucy comes off the keys and slings her guitar around her neck, her vocals deviating from the pure tones of the verses into an expressive snarl to take on the darker lyrics. Jack and Benedict share the limited stage space, bouncing around like two zipped up kids on a trampoline. Barely time to take a breath and the guitar intro to Sloth begins, a more settled rhythm section to this, that is until halfway through the track where it kicks up several gears and there’s a bit of a crowd surge going on, this is clearly one that people have been waiting to hear. There’s no shortage of enthusiasm and air punching – this is one fully engaged crowd and the shared joy is tangible.

Photo © Tessa Carol

Photo © Trevor Cotterell

As they launch into Fishman, another surprise guest makes an entrance – jumping into the distorted guitar chords and slowed up drums is good pal Nathan, extremely merry and well refreshed, can in hand, cheerfully pelting the crowd with plastic fish. It’s hilarious and so much fun. After this slice of comedy gold we are into the final few songs, a blissful instrumental piece (False Profits), and finishing up with Inspector, Mother and Keep Us Down, which turns a mini festival into a mini riot, but in the best possible sense of the term. Fast, furious and the perfect way to end.

I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in ages, the atmosphere was chilled out and welcoming, the team had gone out of their way to pay attention to detail, and Square Wild’s set was one of the most entertaining I’ve seen! Their quirkiness, originality and sense of fun sets them apart from their peers.  Go and see them if you get the chance, I promise you’ll come out with a smile on your face!

Photos © Tessa Carol & Trevor Cottterell

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping