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9th February 2024

Yasmin Coe live in Manchester: Underground performer about to go overground

Yasmin Coe is an artist ready to catch fire, as she sells out bigger and bigger shows in Manchester, so you better get in the know
Yasmin Coe live in Manchester: Underground performer about to go overground
Credit: Gracie Hall

YES Basement is somewhat iconic to me; it’s the first venue I ever set foot in Manchester, two days after I moved away from home for the first time. I left the comfort of childhood, and found home again in the Manchester music scene. The 60-capacity basement, safe to say, is emblematic of this chapter of my life.

It is also a prime location for spotting talent, famous within our five-mile radius and with the potential of going global. Top curators Hot Take completed their fourth night of the year, putting on Manchester’s self-proclaimed ‘babygenius’ Evie Eve, Dee Rae, and Yasmin Coe.

yasmin coe
Credit: Gracie Hall

With some of Manchester’s other newest, brightest stars Antony Szmierek and Phoebe Green in the crowd, an air of seminal gigs such as the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall came to mind. The next wave of Manchester music is coming, and it’s happening on the ground, or perhaps in this case, underground.

Evie Eve struck up with her five-piece band, soaring vocals complemented by wistful, distant trumpet. Dee Rae followed, changing guitars frequently in the early portion of her set, and furnishing her songs with key context. “That was a song about a guy I never even dated four years ago getting a girlfriend last month,” Rae embellished. “I’m so over it.”

Rae’s grief is our gift, however, as she charmed the crowd with ‘Second Date’, a heavy-paced, resigned ode to self-sabotage. Despite a curtailed set to keep to time, Rae made her mark by producing lyrics that stay in the conscience well after you ascend the basement’s stairs, and out onto Charles Street.

Headliner Yasmin Coe is a former student herself and a stalwart of the student scene. Her headline show displayed that she’s a ready-made star; a graduate in more senses than one. Coe showed her working by curating a live set, explaining the chapters and narrative of the show as it meandered from shimmeringly catastrophic indie-pop to employing post-rock sensibilities in the nominally more serious section.

yasmin coe
Credit: Gracie Hall

Coe evoked shattering self-reflection perfectly in her sadder numbers, such as ‘Red Jasper’ and ‘Promise Not To Care’, the latter of which also promises to be her third single. This was sandwiched by her released material, the looping, devastatingly relatable ‘No Hope’ and the swaggering ‘Doubt’, with an irresistible riff from guitarist and YAANG loanee Oliver Duffy.

Coe has a live presence. Both tracks sound different to how they are on record; they’re tighter and more dynamic live. Coe and her band swaggered through the ten-song set, sharing in-jokes and even featuring a tambourine solo, noted as “tambourine slay” on the setlist.

Credit: Gracie Hall

Nights like these often go undocumented journalistically. But these are great artists with great music, and it’s crucial to situate events like this in the wider context of the Manchester music scene. A crowd was populated by friends and some punters. Soon, the core group of friends will be surrounded by more and more fans, until one day the same 50 people are all standing at the front of a field of 50,000.

This is what Manchester does; you only have to get a bit of smoke and you’re on your way. Get to know your local artists, buy their tickets and merch (in this case, Yasmin ingeniously sells “Yasmin Coe-sters”). Be paid back in community and joy. All of this is on your doorstep.

Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Head Music Editor and Writer for the Mancunion. Once walked past Nick Cave in Zagreb. Enquiries: [email protected]

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