Live Review: ‘The more it changed, the more it stayed the same’ – Live At Leeds 2019

Live At Leeds 2016 (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

For some reason this year’s Live at Leeds felt a little different. Maybe it was a bill lighter than previous ones on big names; possibly it was something to do with the weather, which was more typically northern Bank Holiday than 12 months ago. Whether this sensation was real or not, the same idea as usual still applied: get walking, get ducking into venues and get in front of some new music wherever possible.

On that note, the day opened at Hyde Park Book Club with In Your Prime, a youthful five-piece on home territory who play anthemic, hangover curing rock that brings back memories of Evanescence. In singer Ruby Cooke they have a front woman with lungs like bellows and in Handle With Care they have a song which could break them beyond they city’s confines.

There are fewer worries about profile for Paramore drummer Zac Farro, looking chic in a beret and striped t-shirt and enthusiastically fronting side project Halfnoise. A world away from the angsty heft of the mothership, his alter ego is psychedelic, soulful and, as you might expect, percussion heavy, as demonstrated ably on the likes of Scooby’s In The Back, Funny Feeling and disco stomper French Class.

 

Less minted but just as special are Cardiff’s Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard. Lead singer Tom’s dad used to drum for the Bay City Rollers and their retro-kitsch borrows much from T-Rex, with the swagger of Double Denim Bop leaving a bumper crowd riding their white swans in appreciation. Derbyshire-based Pattawa certainly can’t be accused of lacking a sense of humour after naming their last release London, Paris, New York, Matlock, and another thing they’ve got is the funk, especially on floor movers All The Time and Never Been Better. Also with tongues firmly planted in cheek are Dream Wife, whose self-titled debut album released last year won many friends for its punk sass and gender-conscious smartness. They announce mid-show that they’ve been writing the follow up in a Somerset barn and, as if they feel the story requires further evidence, then produce the tree stump on which bassist Bella Popadec conceptualised most of the material. Anyway, after inviting all the bad bitches down to the front they smash through a crisply energetic set which underlines their undoubted promise.

Another outfit with reasons to be optimistic are local lads Marsicans, due next month to appear on the undercard to Leeds royalty the Kaiser Chiefs at Elland Road; with a finely tuned ear for pop that gives songs like Your Eyes and Suburbs a poised gloss with substance underneath, they may yet emulate their hosts. A jog of sorts then makes catching the ever-wonderful Gengahr possible, with lead singer Felix Bushe simultaneously announcing the good news of their third album and the bad news that it won’t be out until next year.

Christopher Duncan’s miserly 30-minute turn is also as enjoyable as it is truncated, the Glaswegian still celebrating the release of his third album Health and its more expansive approach with new songs from it such as Talk Talk Talk and Holiday Home, still having time though to include the operatically beautiful Say. It was also a briefer than scheduled thing from She Drew The Gun, who right up until the point that singer Louise Roach suddenly left the stage for good had been delivering their melodic agit-prop with typical fiery aplomb. We learned later that the rapid curtailment was due to a Quorn allergy brought on by a vegan sausage roll.

Whether Dublin’s The Murder Capital are carnivores or not is unknown but despite their relative lack of profile, by the time besuited, bouncer-looking singer James McGovern takes to the Brudenell Stage word of mouth alone has the main room almost full. Redolent of Joy Division, their starkly landscaped post-punk is a tar-black revelation; McGovern spends part of the night letting the band’s twin guitar attack rend atoms from each other, seemingly lost in thought.

It got late and there were a number of worthy headliners we could’ve seen to close proceedings, but instead it was back to the former subterranean petrol tank that is Hyde Park Book Club to see Bilk, gobby Chelmsford grime punks with a yard of attitude and biting two minute sonic darts like CM2 and Slob. Coming over as sort of early Green Day meets The Streets, they were all the more loveable for it.

And so, another Live at Leeds had been and gone. The more it changed, the more it stayed the same, with sore feet and ringing ears the best reminders that safe and predictable should always be someone else’s problem.

(Andy Peterson)

 

By Live4ever - Posted on 08 May 2019 at 8:53am 

December 10, 2018

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Live Review: ‘Long may this motley crew be at odds with the establishment’ – Black Grape at Bristol O2 Academy

By Live4ever - Posted on 03 Dec 2018 at 11:27am 


Black Grape at the Electric Brixton, London. Dec 2016. (Alberto Pezzali for Live4ever)

As your correspondent was waiting outside the venue, he saw a middle-aged man having a conversation with the door-staff.

The conversation went on for a while, with the man eventually entering the building from a different entrance around the back. This was at 8.50pm; the main act was due on stage at 9pm. Half an hour later, when the band finally made their appearance in front of an intimate crowd, the same man took pole position onstage.

The man in question was Kermit, co-lead vocalist of Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape (to give them their full name) – in the age of careerist professional rock stars, Ryder’s outfit clearly still fly the flag for living life in a different lane.

 

For all his unique talents, Ryder has never had the most textured of vocal styles, and age has done little to change this approach. He barks into the microphone, his left-field lyrics sadly incomprehensible. Dressed in black and wearing a cap, he looks more like he should have earlier been refusing his bandmate entry to the venue. Hands constantly in pockets, only shifting stance to puff on a vape, he’s one of the most incongruous living legends in music today. As ever with him, it’s about attitude above all else.

Had the door-staff seen any of the gig, they would surely have held their heads in shame as Kermit does virtually all of the heavy lifting, i.e. singing. His joyous cries fill the room for opener In The Name Of The Father, and he sustains his revelry throughout the entire show. No Bez, Kermit is ostensibly the frontman, drowning Ryder out for most of the set, specifically during the venomous delivery of Nine Lives. Midway through, he opens a bottle of red wine and swigs from it readily, a man happy with his lot in life.

All that said, this is very much a double-act. At times it borders on cabaret, with cheesy introductions (‘I’ve lived a good life Shaun’…’Not surprised Kermit, you’ve got Nine Lives’), Ryder not even trying to disguise his lack of preparation; he rarely looks up as he’s too focussed on the setlist and lyrics printed on the floor. But the contrast works well.

With such dominance and emphasis on the front two, the rest of the band are side-lined, yet there’s excellent musicianship on display; the wah-wah funk of Shame and the dexterous Revolver-esque solo on Set The Grass On Fire are poles apart but delivered with equal gusto.

All three components (Ryder, Kermit and band) come together for Reverend Black Grape, here with added Sympathy For The Devil ‘wooh woohs’ over a pace-quickening outro. Being their best song, it’s unsurprisingly the highlight of the night, its odd placing mid-set meaning everything that follows pales in comparison. Which is a shame, as several of the slices from last year’s fine album Pop Voodoo deserve better.

Shaun Ryder freely admits that he’s juggling tours with both Black Grape and Happy Mondays for financial purposes but, judged purely on tonight’s (November 29th) showing, long may this particular motley crew be at odds with the establishment.

(Richard Bowes)

December 10, 2018

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Cabbage detail year-end gig in Manchester

Cabbage detail year-end gig in Manchester

By Live4ever - Posted on 06 Dec 2018 at 12:21pm 


Cabbage performing @ Live At Leeds 2018 (Gary Mather / Live4ever)

Cabbage will see out 2018 with a gig at Night People in Manchester on December 19th.

 

The festival track Smells Like Christmas is another of the band’s last moves in a year which saw them release debut album Nihilistic Glamour Shots.

“On Exhibit A the band collectively proffer a staggering, perverse strain of country on which to hoist the zero-sum farce of modern politics on its own petard, whilst Perdubaro’s ramshackle post-punk sounds like it might fall apart at any minute, and Disinfect Us dices surf rock, desperation and menace like measures in a polemical cocktail,” we said of it.

“Thus is the influence of Mark E. Smith measured from – dum, da, daaah – BEYOND THE GRAVE. What was and remains his gift is that people can see fit to reject everything around them which defines their generation, seek to personify it, ridicule it and make others question their values without ever asking a single question of their own.”