gig reviews -nov 05
The Subways + The Kooks +
Blank Canvas, Leeds
This review is late. Very late. Iíd like to say itís
due to an artistic endeavour to mirror this musical event but itís not Iím
just lazy. Very Lazy.
The evening started off well enough and apart from being charged £3 for a
plastic bottle of beer having to stand inside an empty storage space under
Leeds City Station in which someone had thoughtfully left a stage set lying
around. These minor quibbles aside the Blank Canvas does have some great
acoustics and both Forward Russia and The Kooks took full advantage of them.
Yes things were going well until the
end of The Kooks set and everyone waited to see what Rock Ďní Roll antics
The Subways would be providing for us tonight. So we waited, and waited and
then waited some more. After 40 minutes and numerous tunings up by the
bandís guitar tech the people were getting restless. 10 minuets later after
alternating between booing and chanting the Subways appeared to a delighted
crowd and all was forgiven.
What followed was a giant
chant-a-long with an energetic audience that mirrored a very kinetic on
stage performance by the band. I really did want to get into this and feel
some of the enthusiasm everyone else around me did. But after nearly an hour
of mind numbing standing around and a set of very samey sounding and
uninspiring songs I decided the best course of action was a swift retreat to
the local pub.
A Hawk and
a Hacksaw + Benjamin Wetherill & 7 Hertz
31.10.05 - Holy Trinity Church, Leeds
Halloween, the evening of ghosts and ghouls and chavs with eggs. Well this
year we geeks were offered solace for the threats and fears of trick or
treating in Leeds Holy Trinity Church, heck if God canít keep the evil ones
away who can?
always a spectacle to watch a band in a church and Holy Trinity is a
particular favourite of mine and tonight is certainly no exception. The
evening begins with new comers to the Leeds live scene, 7 Hertz. A
contemporary classical outfit with elements of folk, they are stirring and
absorbing. Strings and wind instruments meld together before shooting off on
wondrous tangents. On the couple of songs where vocals are included the
acoustics of the church allow them to sore into the rafters. Hair raising
stuff and probably the surprise highlight of the evening.
to woo us by candle light is Benjamin Wetherill, the balladeer for a time
passed. His simple folk tunes, a mix of traditional English and American
styles, never ceases to impress. Itís as if the risen spirits of Guthrie and
Fornby have taken up residence in the body of a mild mannered English gent
all for our entertainment.
the eveningís headliners take to the stage in front of what is by now an
almost full church. I must admit to being quite a new comer to Hack and a
Hacksaws music but once youíve heard a few bars its hard not to warm to
their bizarre folk ways. Playing a blend of eastern European polka driven
folk and a more American slant they didnít disappoint live being at times
beautiful and considered and at others discordant and wild. It is music that
is all encompassing and truly without compromise.
Ladytron + Support
18.10.05 - The Cockpit, Leeds
Sometimes bands are better left un-named. So
due to a ludicrously early start time tasty was left in the dark about the
identity of tonight's support act. This was definitely a case of a bedroom
band which should have stayed in the bedroom. A couple of geeky blokes
producing the most rudimentary bleeps from some electrical equipment and 'My
First Guitar' lesson chords on guitar, put though a distortion pedal. And
these were the musicians. The female vocalist, despite looking the part
produced one of those beer curdling displays that made most people head for
the bar area.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. or in this case, three men and three women.
Ladytron's live set these days is bolstered by additional live drums and
bass, which during my last outing made for an extra element that breathed
life into the otherwise mechanical output from the album. And tonight is no
exception, although the new songs appear to focus more on Helen's solo
vocals rather than the previous interplay against Myra's robotic monotones.
there are moments when it even looks like they might be enjoying themselves
- that is certainly not ubercool as even Wednesday's metro describes them.
The encore of '17' was telling - perhaps Ladytron know they haven't managed
to eclipse this genius of electro and angst yet and it plays on their minds.
But the rockabilly thrash ending was worth the admission price alone.
19.10.05 - Leeds Town Hall
Admittedly not being a fan, this was always going to
be a bit more of a voyeuristic experience than an enthusiastic one. But fair
play to the kaiser boys, their second gig of the day in the highly
impressive Leeds Town Hall delivered all the bells and whistles you would
expect of a live show from a band who have performed at Live 8 in
Philadelphia. Pyrotechnic light shows, cine films, crowd surfing a crowd
sing alongs a plenty. The atmosphere was a bit edgy, with a large football
crowd contingent and the constant hamming up of the Leeds connections.
More interesting still, the aftershow party. What a
curious affair, school tables and chairs, school disco style lighting, a
miserable concrete council ante-room and £3 cans of Grolsch being sold from
a trestle table. Not very rock and roll really. But soon enough Peanut's Dad
was pole dancing, The Cribs were looking moody and the proud relatives
assembled greeted their homespun musicians. Still bloody weird though.
iLiKETRAiNS + Redjetson
24.10.05 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Despite comrade Blanchard's best efforts of drenching
Agent Procter with cold lager to cool him down, it's a boiling hot night in
a packed Brudenell Social Club to see home town boys iLiKETRAiNS release
their single 'Rook House For Bobby' with able support from Redjetson.
produce huge walls of sound from delicately scripted build ups which go on
and on. I know the set was cut short by the Brudenell's strict curfew but
they only got through 4 tracks. A bit too long and a bit too samey, part
spoiled by their own sound engineer but a good effort al the same.
the night belongs to iLiKETRAiNS who have made a great effort with Engine
Room to deck the tables out in chess boards, homage to 'Rook House For
Bobby's subject, ex chess Grand Master Bobby Fisher. Sporting their genuine
vintage BR uniforms despite the oppressive heat, iLiKETRAiNS take the guitar
squall and death vocals to another level, mainly because they know how to
throttle back when needed, rather than steam ahead (if you'll forgive the
pun). Despite the motley crew assembled on stage as the male voice choir for
finale 'THE BEECHiNG REPORT', the band manage to retain a stately grace that
transcends decades and emotions. A powerful experience.
Shout Out Louds + Absentee + The Legends
26/10/05 - The Garage, Islington
It seems to be a stipulation of tonightís
line-up that every band must have five members and a keyboard player.
Swedish upstarts The Legends may actually be the veterans of the bill having
already released two albums and a handful of EPs, but their youthful
appearance is very much in keeping with their rigid stage performance and
the songs ainít up to much either. Like 95% of all bands they donít deviate
beyond the one sound theyíve chosen to call their own Ė in this case an
unexceptional brand of indie-pop which recalls The Strokes, Ride, The Jam
and New order at various points, without being anywhere near as
weíre in for a similar experience when Absentee takes the stage not longer
after, but no! Despite looking like four farm-hands whoíve enlisted the help
of Thelma from Scooby Doo to play keys (and make a slightly sour comment
about the threadbare audience Ė steady on now!), they have (gasp!) songs
that you can actually tell apart, and their singer possesses a rather
marvellous gruff voiceÖthe indie Leonard Cohen, anyone? Iím obviously not
the only one enjoying their set because, by the time it finishes, the number
of people watching has multiplied substantially. Iíll keep my eye on this
lot, and perhaps write a more substantial review of them in future.
recent NME live review dismissed Shout Out Louds as dull. Iím can now
confirm that, while the above statement proved a little harsh, they donít
fulfil my expectations. Seemingly unable (or unwilling?) to replicate the
delicate sonic layers that made their album such a delight, they instead
strip everything down to dry, trebly guitars and end up sounding more like
The Strokes (yes, them again) with Robert Smith on vocals. Donít get me
wrong, they put on a reasonably energetic show and the likes of ďThe
ComebackĒ and ďA Track and a TrainĒ sound pretty good but, for me, itís a
case of the headliners having the rug pulled out from under them by their
own support act.