Co-Pilot have just released one of the most exciting new releases of the year, already cementing them as one of the best new bands. The album Rotate is an astonishing piece of weird, groovy pop hits and surreal bops. As soon as you hear the record you realise what an exciting live show it would be.
What great news then that they chose to play their first gig at Quarry! The night began with a support slot from Eliz. They were a great opening act for the night, with Bjork-like vocals and an epic, soaring sound that captivated the audience even in the early hours of the evening. While they seem young, the sound was mature and effortless, and it’ll be exciting to see what else they do in the future.
Second support slot came from local hero Hank Bee. At risk of sounding like a broken record, having written about Hank Bee a few times in the past, she really does put on an excellent live show. Her brand of stripped back, folks-y indie is perfect for Big Thief fans, and never fails to move the room. Tonight she plays a few tracks we’ve not heard before.
New track ‘Corner’ is an emotional and grand statement. While it’s fresh it already feels like a hit that slots neatly into her entourage of future classics. We also hear a very old track that I’ve never actually heard before. It is a fun, cute song about wanting to be an owl. It is sweet and reminds me of Daniel Johnston. I love this set, as always, and am saddened it’ll be her last gig of the year. Ah well, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Finally the Manchetser based supergroup Co-Pilot took the stage. They inform us early on that as the material is all new, the night is almost an experiment to see how the tracks work live. They tell us that they’ll be playing the album from start to finish, in order, which is perfect for me as I’d been listening to the album all week, and it’s always nice when you get to see a band and you know all your favourites will be on the setlist!
Vocalist Leonore Wheatley is immaculate as her voice echoes around the room. It sounds phenomenal live, as does the techy side of things that both her and Al Roberts handle throughout the set. The Manchester based duo manage to make the venue feel homely as well, as they chat with the crowd very openly about the newness of the project. Roberts comedically asks the audience: “Do you like the songs then? Is it good?” before Wheatley replies: “You can’t ask them that!”
It’s a wholesome set that sees them figuring out things that are already excellent. Really, no matter how early on or DIY this is, the songs speak for themselves. They are of such a quality that playing them all back to back would honestly be enough, however the chatty nature of the band between the tunes only adds to the character of what will surely be one of next year's most exciting bands to look out for.
Co-Pilot are playing at Gullivers in Manchester on 24/11/23, and their album Rotate is out now.