gig reviews - nov 04
The Polyphonic Spree
Businesses around the world know only too well that the secret of being a
good team leader is; to have a team that doesn't need leading. Tim
DeLaughter from The Polyphonic Spree has this down to a tee. The 20 plus
choral indie tantalizers oozed fun and the transcending of ethereality was
achieved in 'Hold Me Now' and 'Follow The Dayí. The Spreeís infectiously
hypnotic rhythm meant that even the energetic pit was the epitome of grace
and elegance. An enchanting flute solo intro to 'Soldier Girl' seeped into
the mind of the Mancunian worshippers and will never leave.
De Laughter ingratiated himself to his devotees; with his
theatrical Philip Schofield hypnotized to pretend he is Jack White stage
presence. He was bathing in the lake of peace and liberation he had created
and, all you could do was dive in and join him.
Delgados + Sons and Daughters
The Leadmill, Sheffield
I invite you, in all seriousness, to ponder a possible fine line between The
Delgados and Travis.
You can do
it while Sons And Daughters are on: a band who, between repeated pleas to
the audience to come closer to the stage (I've paid eleven quid and I'll
stand where I bloody well like, sunshine), stab out some fine, frenetic
Throwing Muses rhythms and terse vocals, and even reclaim the marvellous
mandolin from REM. They are not bad. They look great. They are the Franz
Ferdinand with two or three melodies instead of just the one.
you take a daffodil and beat me to a glittery pulp for dissing your beloved
Delgados, allow me to explain that nobody is dancing. It's like
London. I know nobody dances at Belle & Sebastian gigs either, but there
ought to be something more here. Fran Healy inspires one to crouch down and
retch, but if I were a girl then Emma Pollock, not Polly Jean, would be the
one inspiring me to get up and make music to beat up boys by.
So why is
nobody dancing? The Delgados' music is too beautiful and pure and
otherworldly, and you don't want to spoil it with physicality and sweat. Or
it is too measured and you don't want to spoil it with randomness. Or you
like the theory of The Delgados much more than you like the practice, and
you never knew it, or you knew it and you kept it a secret because all your
friends love them to bits. I realise that I have been listening avidly to
this band for more than a couple of years without forming a single idea as
to what any of their songs are about. They trade in emotional vagueness:
vacantly impressionistic, broad-brush lyrics whose only real meaning is
borrowed from the splendour of the voices delivering them.
Why is nobody dancing? Have you ever tried to pogo in 3/4 time? It
isn't all the band's fault, though. The whole timetable is fucked. We are
shy indie types, and we need a few drinks to loosen our limbs. But when the
house lights enforce the encore curfew it's still not 10 o'clock; and never
again, reader, will I or you or any of us experience a life-altering gig in
a venue bigger than, say, the Charlotte in Leicester. Not when there are
people who do want to dance queueing outside for the club night.
But if a
global Popkiss government held sway, and every band really were forced by
law to split up after recording a maximum of one album, then we would have
missed the sublime The Great Eastern: a terrible loss, sure, but
possibly a price worth paying to be spared the blankness and disappointment
I feel tonight on belatedly seeing this invisible band, The Delgados, for
the first time. My next eleven quid goes on watching three nights of
unsigned bands instead.
10.11.04, Hi Fi Club, Leeds
Corinne Bailey-Rae unveiled her new work to a packed Hi-Fi club on Wednesday
night. She has built up a body of songs that will, all being right in the
world, launch her solo career as a singer-songwriter. The room was heaving
while the queue still stretched around the block, Corinne was visibly taken
aback by the turn out; the crowd were eager and supportive.
Backed by a ten piece
band; two keyboards, alto and tenor sax, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums and
backing vocalist, one could expect a solo artist to be somewhat diminished,
but not here. Her command of the songs was complete, and whilst the guys
behind were more than competent, this was her show.
Her voice has strength,
range and a soulful beauty; as she sings the refrain ďDonít say that Iím
falling in loveĒ, you are held by the sincerity. She plays with the melody
of ĎBreathlessí, harmonies build up and the varying elements of the song
create an emotional crescendo of sound.
These are new songs, but
they feel instantly familiar, they echo the sounds of Jill Scott, Erika Badu
and Norah Jones, resulting in music that isnít ground breaking, but
replenishes this tradition with a new voice and vigour. Corinne is good at
what she does, constructing real songs with a narrative that draws you into
them, singing with a heartfelt talent.
Downdime + DJ Baboon + Delores
24.10.04 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Whatever you are Ďin toí there is the danger of becoming isolated, be it
music, art, theatre or any of their seemingly infinite sub-genres. Absorbed
and comfortable it is easy to box ourselves in to that which comes easiest
to us. Yet this cuts off huge swathes of culture, which can illuminate and
expand our horizons in unexpected ways. An approach that embraces
eclecticism, experimentation and an open-mind is surely the legacy that the
late and great John Peel has left us. I still donít know how one man could
possibly have liked such a diverse range of music, certainly at times the
extent of his eclecticism would drive me mad, but as a listener to his radio
show, you would have music opened up to you. Butting Hip Hop next to Prog
Rock allowed for the underbelly of British music to be slashed open on
national radio. There is a huge void left by the departure of this
prodigious man and is not one to be underestimated.
On Sunday night, in blithe ignorance as
to the card history was about to deal, a beacon was lit towards pushing
forward, on a local level, what John Peel started over 45 years ago; a
platform for blending musical genres and showcasing new talent.
Various Sources is the brain-child of
Paula Hughes. Sunday saw the launch of her independent label, Arctic Circle
Records, and featured sets from Downdime, DJ Baboon and Delores. This is the
start of a series of nights that juxtaposes the different styles and
approaches to music making that are emanating from Leeds.
Downdime, a raucous four piece, tread a
musical path that is more common north of the border. They have an
enveloping sound created through catchy bass-lines and twinkling melodies,
which brings them in line with the sound of Sons and Daughters and The Fiery
Furnaces. They have the imagination and ability to push their music much
further, and will doubtless retain the amiable nature they possess both on
and off stage.
A fiery and imaginative set pursues the
funky and soulful sounds of DJ Baboon. Rhythmically tight, the intelligent
approach of Delores throws up questions of what we expect from a band with a
single vocalist. Operating almost as separate entities there seems to be
little cohesion between vocals and band, as the male contingent push through
a number of instrumental tracks as the set draws to a close. But Fuzzyís
vocals stay with you beyond this and the promise of her voice aligned more
closely to the musical driving force is an exciting prospect.
Various Sources is here to champion
these differing approaches to a wider audience, experimenting with the raw
materials that already exist in Leeds, and hopefully being one of the many
fragments of a wider movement, which embraces eclecticism and diversity.
David Viner + Siobhan Parr
The Cockpit, Leeds
Iíve wanted to see David Viner for a while and yet due to other commitments
or general incompetence on my part the opportunity has always just escaped
me. Tonight however was my chance to make this a thing of the past.
fulfilling this task though we had support from Siobhan Parr. Possessing one
of the strongest voices Iíve heard in quite some time itís hard not to be
instantly attracted to Siobhan's songs. Sadly for me though this just didnít
last. There was nothing that kept me compelled. Yes her voice is beautiful
but the songs it was being given to sing failed to use it to its best
abilities and my attention began to waver. A genuine shame.
down to Mr David Viner to lift me from the slight slump this left me in and
from the moment he took the stage appearing as if he may have had a couple
of ales I knew he would. Vinerís music is very much a sort of dirty R & B
(and yes I mean Rhythm and Blues and not whatever that shite is that they
pedal nowadays as R & B yet has neither rhythm nor any sense of what the
blues is. Sorry I digress) and I donít think Iíd be wrong in saying that he
probably owns a couple of early-ish Stones albums. This is no bad thing for
the songs I get to witness tonight show what a superb songwriter Viner is.
They are at times dark, at times romantic and at others just foot stompingly
good. They are all held together with Viner's semi-growl and entertaining
presence on stage. If anything my only quibble with the evening is the
choice of venue and the length of the set. Itís the kind of gig that would
have been so much more enjoyable in a more intimate venue and Vinerís set
was far too short for my likings.
me a while to get to see him perform live but it was well worth the weight I
Right, for those who arenít aware Rocktober is a yearly event held in Leeds
in October (get it? Oh forget it then) and offers a couple of days of first
class music and a damn good excuse for a few beers. I will also level with
you; due to work I was only able to attend one of the evenings this year so
this is sadly only a review of day one. Iím sorry, I know Iíve let you all
a selection of some of the finest bands doing the rounds at the moment, many
from Leeds itself the line-up for the first evening featured not one dud.
From the openers Monster Killed by Laser to the magnificent Bilge Pump
closing the proceedings you could not put a slightly drunken foot wrong
(musically at least).
the highlights of the evening were proffered by two bands, the Midlands
finest, Lords, and the wonderful That Fucking Tank.
although starting shakily (partly put down to a hangover in the ranks)
pulled together to entertain and delight with there Beefheartian rock
grandeur. Any man alive who is yet to here their song ĎLed Zepí is truly
Fucking Tank offered up a dose of tight extremely loud danceable
instrumental rock and showed why they are definitely one of the best bands
making music in England today.
hurt, I was tired but content. I was then locked out till 3.00 in the
morning but thatís a completely different story.