A Farewell To Cleft

A Farewell To Cleft

Cleft, The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 25/6/16
Cleft, The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 25/6/16

Anthony Firmin gets all tearful as we say farewell to local math/turbo progsters Cleft.

So this is it, the last ever, ever EVER Cleft gig and The Deaf Institute is rammed and the crowd in celebratory and jubilant mood – the wake comes later at the after-party downstairs.

Their show starts with a tape of Europe’s Final Countdown and abruptly stops just as Joey Tempest’s vocals are just about to start. “Guitar Dan” quips it couldn’t be anything else as the band launch into Chin and rapidly follow it with Flail; the band are making a HUGE sound, it is exciting turbo charged prog.

The audience are dancing along too, having watched math-rock videos in order to learn their steps to boogie along to this bands eclectic mix of sounds and styles. I haven’t felt the floor bounce this much before in this venue, it is unnerving but I soon forget as I get lost in the music.

We are treated to an explanation of D.O.N.G. 808 too – it isn’t about a sexual toy but stands for “Density Of Nitrogen Gas” except 808 isn’t that gases density although they thought it was. It is really the density of liquid nitrogen – D.O.L.N. but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. End of science lesson for today.

Not surprisingly the set includes tracks from the second and last ever Cleft LP, Wrong, which was only released last month and both Faceplant and Frankenstein are excellent. The bands sense of self deprecating humour helps to pull them and the audience through this onslaught of turbo-prog and it is a 100% onslaught from Dan and drummer John.

The rest of the set is their typical funky, wild, dissonant mix of musical styles, a jazz metal Primus would be an fair description for the uninitiated but it was over far too soon. The math/djent/turbo prog genre is now an emptier place as a result of the demise of this seminal Manchester band.

The very very VERY last Cleft setlist:





D.O.N.G. 808


Alec Baldwins Hair (Alec Bald, Wins Hair)


Onan’s Boulder

Bee, Beads, Beas


Desperate Elvis

Elephant In The Bar Room

Drop A Bastard



Ritual King – Elixir

Ritual King – Elixir

Kovax - Monkeys

Kovax - Monkeys