Archive for the ‘Live’ Category

Christopher Nosnibor

This was supposed to be the perfect bookend to the year: after Percy supported Soma Crew at The Crescent in May, the roles were to be swapped tonight following the release of Percy’s new album, Monorail, in June. But sadly, it wasn’t to be, on account of Percy’s drummer Jason royally fucking his back.

Gigs at this time of year are always a risk, and not only on account of the potentials for injury (as the icy pavements on the way only highlight): the fact that it’s hard sub-zero means a lot of people can’t face wrapping up again after work to turn out on an evening, and then there all of the obligatory work / mates drinks and all that cal. Throw in Steve Mason playing across town and this one was always going to be a gamble, but despite the headliners’ late withdrawal, it’s a respectable crowd who witness The Rosettas emerging sounding stronger than the last time I saw them at the end of September. The sound is solid, buzzy, grungy.

The singer’s confidence leans into arrogance throughout, and not just in ignoring advice sagely dispensed in my coverage of said show in September, while actually mentioning the recommendation not to drop a cover as their second song, they slam in with a faithful rendition of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ as the second song of the set. But it makes sense, and it is well played, as is the majority of the rest of the set. I suspect the singer’s suffering from a cold or something that gives his voice quite a ragged edge, but actually, it sounds decent.

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The Rosettas

Unfortunately, technical issues and a lack of organisation means the set ends abruptly and somewhat chaotically, but they played with enthusiasm and were a lot less reliant on covers, and ultimately made the best of a less than ideal situation.

They seem to clear out and take half the audience with them, but, undeterred, Soma Crew take the stage and drench it with sonorous droning feedback. Then they build into a single chord dragging for all eternity as the muffled drums plod away in the back and they hit peak hypnotic. And then the tremolo enters the mix and the volume steps up with the arrival of the snare drum and…. and… and… the set drifts, and my mind drifts, and it’s a most pleasant experience. Time hangs in suspension. ‘Mighty Forces’ is indeed mighty, and the mid-pace one chord chugs are supremely soporific. Everything is measured, mellow, hazy. Everything comes together to conjure a thick sonic mist, and it’s absolutely magnificent. It’s also seriously loud, as I come to realise about two-thirds of the way into the set. When did that happen? Did it get louder? Perhaps. Probably. I can’t help but feel that Soma Crew are seriously underrated, and tonight they really hit all the sweet spots at once.

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Soma Crew

Leeds trio Nervous Twitch are worthy headliners, and launch into their set without a word, no fuss, not a single note of level checking. Pow! It’s proper, unfussy, old-school punk, three and four chord thrashes played with big energy, and they’re as tight as any band you’ll hear. Sure, with a female singer (who also plays bass), they invite obvious comparisons to X-Ray Spex and Penetration, and as much as they’re punk, they’re catchy and poppy at the same time, and ultimately, they’re good fun.

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Nervous Twitch

There are, of course, many bands playing in the next fortnight, in every city across the nation. Some will draw crowds, others less so. While I enter temporary hibernation, it feels like an appropriate time to reflect, and to celebrate the venues we’re fortunate to still have, and the fact that while times remain tough, 2022 has at last seen live music return to the social calendar. And for all the other shit we’re surrounded by – I can’t even begin the list – this is something we can be immensely grateful for.

Christopher Nosnibor

I absolutely love the EMOM nights: regardless of where they are, they’re eclectic, and above all, accommodating: there’s a real sense of community around them. But if there’s one criticism to be made, it’s around the demographic: guys. Always guys. White, and mostly 50+. This was particularly apparent at the Leeds EMOM at Wharf Chambers a couple of months ago, and admittedly, this is inching towards being my demographic, but… well. What to do about it? It’s an open mic. How can you make something that’s inclusive feel like a place for everyone?

While many guys take up tinkering with synths once their kids have left the nest, it’s clear that this is not representative of the electronic scene, by any means. So why do EMOM nights draw wall-to-wall guys, middle-aged or older, pissing about with expensive midlife-crisis kit, but next to no women or, well, anyone who’s not a middle-aged white bloke?

Tonight does not conform to this emerging form, and it’s genuinely warming to see that the room is not only quite full, but rather more diverse in its populace.

The diversity applies to the music on offer, too: within the first four acts, we’d witnessed modular minimal krautrock, angular bleeping and live chess, as well as an abundance of laptop action, yielding a full spectrum of styles and frequencies. And the evening swiftly evolves from here, because then there’s some absolutely everything going off all at once choral samples, synths and bouncing grooves what the fuckness from Hull’s PariahX, noodly and surprisingly atmospheric, vintage sci fi stuff from regulars TSR2, the trio again reduced to a duo, making innovative use of a mobile phone. They’re reliably good, but this is possibly the best I’ve heard from them yet.

Host Simon Higginbotham, who operates as How Buildings Fail, brings a heap of kit and five miles of cable to conjure squelchy experimental electronica in the vein of Cabaret Voltaire, as fronted by Mark E Smith, thanks to his sprechgesang vocals. He looks like he’s having a ball, and he does a great job, with the sound emanating from the PA landing in the region of Dr Mix: it’s of proper late 70s vintage in style, with pulsating retro drum machine sounds and endless reverb proving integral to the experience.

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How Buildings Fail

Dots brought guitar, keytar, and his ‘n’ hers silver spangled outfits, and the human glitterballs provided one of the night’s more unexpected turns. They were good fun, too, even if I was mostly plunging headlong into the zone where everything goes quiet and fades into a blur as I fumble with cables and fret about the seconds ticking down. I am aware that appear significantly more composed than I really am. My head is swimming and everything is a fog.

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Dots

The question of whether or not it’s acceptable to review gigs where you’re also performing is one I’ve touched on more than once, and tonight my focus on the acts has been pulled a little by the prospect of my first collaboration with Debz Fialkiewicz. Having been impressed by Hull Duo Spore’s performance at WonkyStuff in October, I wrote ‘I feel I should collaborate with these guys – because they’re ace, and Nosnispore has a definite ring to it’. And this, I have to say is the beauty of this little scene: the people are open-minded and interested. Debz got in touch, and so with no rehearsal and only minimal discussion – simply an agreement on ‘dark ambient noise with dystopian spoken word narrative’ the day before – it happened. A few people said the vocals were too low in the mix and barely audible beneath all the echo, but that was exactly the idea. There’s going to be more where that came from.

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Noisenispore

Still buzzing, I slump, drained, into my seat to watch the rest of the night.

Ian J Cole brought some avant-oddity, while Jamie brought some thumping uptempo rhythms to build a harsh beat-driven techno attack before Tom Ray – Home Taper – brought some bulbous, buzzing laptop distortion-driven heavy drone by way of a finale. He brought some really nice, dirty, dark tones and difficult frequencies that rattled the bones and sent vibrations through the intestines, and it felt good. Maybe there’s another collaboration there.

Jamie EMOM

Jamie

Tom

Home Taper

In all, it was another cracking night, and a first-class showcase of the thriving electronic scene in Yorkshire.

It’s a wet and blustery and very northern night in York, but this eagerly-anticipated rescheduled show from The Birthday Massacre, which sold out this intimate 150-capacity venue long ago has brought the old goths out of the woodwork like a swarm of woodlice, and with doors advertised as being as an early 7:00, it’s busy on my arrival at 7:20, and despite Witch of the Vale not due on till 7:45, already the front rows are solid.

The synth-heavy, mood heavy Cleopatra Records signings Witch of the Vale deliver a magnificent set of dark brooding ambient with ethereal vocals and combine spacious moody soundscapes and introspective vulnerability. There are strong hints of Zola Jesus, but also so much more. Harder edges and industrial percussion grow in force as the set progresses. They don’t do chat, they don’t do audience connection, but they do very much do moving, haunting atmospherics. Toward the end of their forty-five minute set, they cover Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ in an industrial shoegaze style, and it’s good. In fact, it’s all good, although instrumentalist Ryan’s denim shorts spoil the look a bit .

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Witch of the Vale

“What’s up Yorrrrrk?” I slump a little inside as Vanilla Sugar struts onto the stage. From the off, there’s lots of posing, hands up cheerleading… Suddenly, maybe three songs in, the urban cybergoth pop karaoke gets dark. That is to say Pretty Hate Machine NIN meets Kelis with direct and fairly juvenile lyrics, and while she’s got an impressive light show, it’s still urban cybergoth karaoke. ‘Listen York I want you to vibe with me now’ toots the skitzy mall goth, and while she may call it horror pop, it’s ultimately r’n’b with dayglo, pink hair, and zips, and the overreliance on backing including backing vocals which make t difficult to determine what’s actually being done live rather undermines the impact of the handful of decent tunes she does actually have, There’s lots of tongue out and Instagram posing – but not a lot else.

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Vanilla Sugar

The Birthday Massacre are as straight up goth as they come in terms of image, and have spent the last twenty-three years mining a seam of technoindustrial / electro / dark pop / goth.

This is a small stage for a big band, and I don’t just mean in terms of dimensions. Back home, they’d just played the 600-capaccity Lexington in Toronto; two nights ago it was the 200-capacity Lexington in London. The 150-capacity Fulford Arms, with its low ceiling and low stage very much epitomises the concept of ‘intimate’. But they absolutely revel in it, as do the crowd.

There’s an overpowering smell of Deep Heat at first, but that’s swiftly replaced by the tang of perspiration. It’s hot, hot, hot! Amazingly crisp, dense sound. Keytar! Instant clapalong to #’Destrpyer’ which lands early.

They repeatedly describe it as cozy, and that’s hardly surprising in context) but seem genuinely enthusiastic to be playing this intimate show with lots of handshaking and high-fiving. As they slam out relentless poppy choruses and phat chunky riffs. The drums are so tight they sound programmed, and despite the apparent chaos onstage, they’re pristine tight. It’s a proper pea-souper of a smoke show, too.

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The Birthday Massacre

I’d be entirely immersed were it not for the fact the bearded ponytail-sporting guy in front of me is an irritating end, extravagantly waving one arm while clenching his girlfriend’s waist tight with the other and dancing and singing along as if to prove he’s an uberfan. Uberfanny, more like.

‘Precious Hearts’ thuds hard, while ‘Crush’ is an anthemic slow burner. ‘Enter’ is lighter and brings giggles in the first verse. Sara does get a bit lost in the songs at times, bit rides it well, and she ventures into the crowd for hugs. It’s a hot a sweaty crowd. Fans are out. My eyeballs are sweating. Recent cut ‘Fascination’ still sounds a bit Paramore to my ears, but ‘Pins and Needles’ brings a thick industrial chug.

They do the no-departure encore, and respect is due for that. Everyone knows that going off to be clapped back on is nothing more than ego-stroking bollocks, and it’s welcome to see bands acknowledge that.

‘Falling Down’, the second song of the non-encore is a decent pop song, and they finish a high-NRG set with ‘In the Dark’. And it’s a job well done: they sound great and the energy is on fire. Wednesday nights don’t get funner than this.

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s been a while. It’s been a while since the last Wonkystuff. Like, six months or something. It’s been a while since Deluxe Hugs debuted at a previous Wonkystuff, and just as long since they last played. It’s been a while since legion of Swine last played in the UK, and even longer since the porcine prince brought his brand of harsh electronica to York – like about four years. Time flies when there’s a pandemic and everyone gets so screwed by lockdown conditions that they’re trepidatious about going back out and find their urge to create, to get out, to perform, has gradually leached out of them to the point that any event is a herculean effort to perform or attend.

The great thing about Wonkystuff nights, as I’ve perhaps mentioned previously, is that they’re not only brilliantly-curated melting pots for musical hybrids from the fringes on all fronts of electronica and beyond, but they’re also wonderfully warm and welcoming occurrences with a real sense of community. And so we’re all here being socially awkward and comfortable and accommodating of that awkwardness, acknowledging the fact none of us get out as much lately, while being pleased to see friendly faces. And you know what? This isn’t just ‘nice’. These are the fine threads that keep people together – not just in a community sense, but individually, knowing that for all the isolation, we’re not alone.

The Wonkystuff House Band who played at Wonkystuff #19 mutated into Deluxe Hugs on a night it seems I failed to document for some reason. Anyway, their debut was fun, a stab at entertainment and some kind of alt-disco thing, and tonight… well, tonight it’s apparent that they’ve not spent much time together since last time. But with big, squelchy bass, disco grooves, and atonal vocals, through the chaos, the songs shine through, as does the chemistry between the three. ‘People in charge/they know what they’re doing…’ drones Simon, and the layers of irony are impossible to ignore. It’s a bit punk and it’s a lot of semi improv fun.

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Deluxe Hugs

Up next, Spore, a duo from Hull, bring big, dank, murky modular noise. They churn outa mass of swirling dark ambience that slides into power electronics and old-school industrial. The emergence of a thumping drum beat part way through made for a change of texture. Their set is hypnotic, but also sounds like a noise gig with a club night in the next room. I feel I should collaborate with these guys – because they’re ace, and Nosnispore has a definite ring to it.

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Spore

Glider Theory are a Leeds-based guitar and drum machine duo. They bring soaring, drifting, post-rock post-punk hybrid instrumentals… Guitars that sound like synths. Guitars that sound like woodwind… Ambient contrails. It’s nice.

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Glider Theory

But if you want more nice, you don’t want Legion of Swine. Me, I don’t want anymore nice: I want to feel uncomfortable and I want my ears to hurt, and my chest too vibrate, which is the main treason I came down to see legion of swine on the first date of their UK tour on a visit from Sweden. And I got what I wanted.

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Legion of Swine

The set, in near darkness bar a deep red light, begins with static drone. The distorted hum continues, buzzing, grating, sawing. It tense and uneasy, in a way that’s reminiscent of 90s Whitehouse It’s surprisingly quiet, and, I reflect, kinda like listening to a hair dryer. Then it stops, and there’s a rumble, a breeze. It’s more ominous than abrasive… Until suddenly it isn’t. A harsh noise wall erupts. And keeps on building. Fuck. It hurts. It’s an immense sonic force. And then… then it stops. Proctor does his signatory trotter pose at the end of the set. It’s a welcome return for one of the north’s greatest masters of din, topping off a top night.

Christopher Nosnibor

The Crescent seems to have really come into its own of late, with midweek gigs attracting some seriously strong turnouts. Of course, having decent bands on is a key factor, but having a local venue that has decent sound, a welcoming atmosphere, and affordable drinks are also significant factors. With times being tight and banking on travel a gamble, I’m by no means alone in the fact I’m increasingly likely to pick a gig nearby – although that’s only possible because there are gigs, and good ones, nearby.

Sitting in the bar beforehand with a decent local hand-pulled pint for £4 provided a welcome moment of reflection, and increasingly, The Crescent feels like York’s Brudenell: there’s a relaxed buzz and sense of community here.

It’s busy early doors, and local support Pennine Suite, who I realise had been sipping pints and meeting friends at the next table from me in the bar not twenty minutes previous, serve up solid and more than passable 90s style indie with energy and synths and a dash of shoegaze and a hint of Cud. Having announced his sister on keyboards and brother on guitar, I almost expected the singer to announce his dad on drums. It wasn’t to be, but the five-piece displayed a good chemistry and some more than respectable songwriting skills.

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Pennine Suite

It would seem that ‘fehlt’ is the German word for ‘missing’, suggesting that the enigmatic Leeds quartet, whose Figure Two EP was mastered by Slowdive drummer Simon Scott, aren’t making some limp reference to the 90s indie band who prefaced Denim. This is a good thing. Said EP included an intense and near note-perfect and magnificently produced cover of Joy Division’s ‘No Love Lost’, and while it’s not a feature of tonight’s set, it gives a fair indication of where they’re coming from.

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Fehlt

They play moody I Like Trains style chiming indie post-rock / post-punk crossover, and do so in near darkness since the projector isn’t working, and it only serves to add to the ambience. The vocals are often mumbled, and are low in the mix throughout. Gliding violin adds brooding tension and melancholy. Onstage it’s pretty static, but there’s plenty of movement in the music, especially the drumming, but also some nice strolling bass grooves and some tidy runs that are pure Joy Division, and the set builds to a blistering instrumental climax. Again. And again.

It’s clear that a large number of those packing the front half of this 300 capacity venue have been playing BDRMM’s debut album a lot. And I mean a lot. And when a full setlist is available on Setlist FM within hours, you know that this is a band with a serious following. They know every word, and sing them back. Like, how? They’re barely audible half the time. But then, it’s hard to fully detail the rise of BDRMM. From being a one-man home project to a fully-functional live act with remixes by A Place to Bury Strangers and support slots with Ride, it’s a story that reads like a dream. Back in January, they were playing 100-capacity venues. Now…

Hearing them live is also very like a dream. Some of it’s the volume. Some of it’s the hypnotic, motoric groves, the guitars swathed in echo. Some of it’s the heads-down, chat-free approach to performing: this is all about playing the songs and the atmosphere they cultivate. Ultimately, it’s a conglomeration of all of these things that make BDRMM such an experience, rather than just another live band.

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BDRMM

They walk on, unassuming. A string scrape vibrates. The start of the set trickles slowly: mellowness delivered at bladder-shaking volume. And it builds… and it builds. There are immense surges of sound that explode seemingly from nowhere. The vocals are buried in reverb and delay and it’s a wall of noise and it’s so powerful. As is the case with the bands they’ve modelled themselves on – early Ride, Chapterhouse, Slowdive – the songs would be fairly middling psych-tinged indie were it not for the effects: whack on a dozen layers off chorus, reverb, and distortion, and it’s a whole other story. But then, The Jesus and Mary Chain would have been a Beach Boys rip-off were it not for all the distortion pedals

When the drums and the pedals kick in, they really kick in. The volume and density seem to increase as the set progresses, and while half of the songs played toward the end of the set could have bought it to a roaring finale, the set culminates in a blistering sheet of noise.

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BDRMM

They look reluctant in performing an encore, but oblige appropriately with a strong, high-intensity rendition of ‘A Reason to Celebrate’.

It isn’t until afterwards that you realise just how loud and intense the performance was. But, make no mistake, this was both loud and intense.

Christopher Nosnibor

I like trains. Ironically, it was a lack of trains that almost prevented my making this show, as the largest national strike in the series yet meant there were none operating. David Martin and his band also likes trains, as he reminded us during one of his few brief exchanges with the audience during the set, going on to add “we support the action”. So would many in the audience, judging by the response.

While we’re waiting for things to get underway, we’re afforded the opportunity to appreciate the magnificent surroundings to a backdrop of minimal instrumental beats, before northern noise duo Polevaulter take to the stage assault our ears with a truly abrasive racket. Having given a platform to the emerging Benefits late last year, ILT have come up trumps with another killer support act this time. Complimentary but contrasting to the headliners, Polevaulter hit us with stark, crisp programmed drums and dirty live bass grind and feedback and shouty vocals. They’re a powerful hybrid of post-punk and industrial, and crank out a blinding wall of nihilism. As much Cabaret Voltaire and Factory Floor as Benefits or Sleaford Mods, they equally belong to the Leeds lineage of drum-machine driven post punk defined by the mutant noise of Age of Chance.

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Polevaulter

More minimal beats pave the way to an atmospheric intro as I Like Trains take to the stage and launch into a set that – unsurprisingly – is dominated by tracks from KOMPROMAT, their first album in eight years. There’s a palpable urgency to the performance, which launches with the triple salvo of ‘A Steady Hand’, ‘Desire is a Mess’, and ‘Dig In’.

They’re tight and look reinvigorated – and Guy Bannister still looks the same as he did back in 2005, switching between – and sometimes simultaneously playing -guitar and synths, integral to the rich, deep, and full-bodied sound, while the visuals make for a full 360-degree multisensory experience. They still kill the crescendos, too, and I’m reminded once again why I’ve been coming back to see this band for the last fifteen years: they really do put everything into their shows, and play hard, too.

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I Like Trains

They pack the songs in tight, with minimal chat or pause, and deliver ear-shredding bursts of noise from seemingly out of nowhere, and tonight, they’re as good as they’ve ever been. Having moved from a baritone croon to a more spoken style of vocal, David Martin actually pushes himself a lot harder in his delivery: there’s real passion behind every line, and – more irony – in having assimilated slogans and double speak clichés into the fabric of his lyrics, he’s truly found his own voice as a writer.

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I Like Trains

Mid-set, they play a rearranged version of ‘The Beaching Report’ from Progress Reform. With some screwdriver slide guitar work, it’s bleak and haunting, and simply had to be played. Reform, reform… What goes around comes around, history repeats, and cuts bite ever harder. The song’s relevance now brings a lump to the throat: today’s strikes aren’t purely about pay, but reforms that will have a significant impact on safety.

History and remembrance have run as themes through I Like Trains’ work since their very beginning, but tonight, observing the contrast between the refrain of ‘Terra Nova’, of Scott’s doomed arctic expedition – ‘More’s the shame / they will remember my name’ – and Boris Johnson’s gurning face against the slogan ‘God loves a winner’ during The Spectacle’ – which absolutely kicks – is a sobering experience.

Toward the end of the set, they finally concede to a proper delve into the back catalogue (although there are no songs from Elegies to Lessons Learnt – thanks to the early finish meaning we don’t get the ‘Spencer Percival’ encore of the night before) or The Deep), giving us ‘A Rook House for Bobby’ (dedicated to the memory of Debs, “perhaps the biggest I Like Trains fan”) and ‘Terra Nova’ back to back, both bringing ear-bleeding crescendos.

They close with an absolutely stonking extended rendition of ‘The Truth’, with a thudding, insistent bass groove chopping a deep furrow against a backdrop of warped images of Liz Truss. The climactic thrust which sees David nailing the truth of the truth and appropriating my own stage performance style in the process (and who wouldn’t want to, right?), tossing screwed cards into the crowd and flipping the written cues in all directions… it feels like a performative metaphor, whereby the truth is discarded wantonly, recklessly, with no regard, before he finally intimates ‘The truth will trickle down… I am totally out of my depth’. He’s never been more intense than this, and I Like Trains have never felt more vital.

Christopher Nosnibor

The Fall’s ‘Fiery Jack’ is blasting from the PA as I line up behind a cluster of gothy / alternative types: promising signs, always, and Wire and Sleaford Mods feature on the playlist while we’re waiting for Balcony Plants.

York has suddenly begun sprouting a new crop of indie / alternative bands, and tonight’s event showcases three of them.

First impressions? They’re kids. Of course they are. And they’ve brought a lot of mates along. They all congregate and hug in the front rows as the band take the stage. Second impressions? Jesus. Balcony Plants are into introducing the band members and making and calls to make some fucking noise while they’re still tuning up, before launching into some lame-assed rap-rock with elements of early Beastie Boys, with songs about house parties and nightclubs. Then something happens mid-set. After tinkering with some pedestrian Kerrang! flavoured alt-rock that shows they’re as stylistically coherent in their music as their image, they lunge towards ever grittier punk as the set progresses, and improve exponentially as they do, and there’s lots of moshing, especially to their cover of Nirvana’s ‘Breed’, which, is undeniably storming. They do know how to build a set to a climactic finale, I’ll give them that, and by the time they’ve orchestrated some tidal waves of crowd action during their signature song, they’ve convinced me. They’ve work to do, but it’s early days and they’ve got clear potential.

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Balcony Plants

So the guitarist in Balcony Plants is also the bassist in The Rosettas, a more visually and sonically coherent proposition. The singer makes an entrance….and it kinda takes a brief nosedive there. The riffs are meaty and the drumming is particularly tight, but the vocals merely so-so. I’d always question throwing in a cover as the second song of any set, but especially one of The Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’, however well played.

That tonight’s bands – all clearly made up of millennials (and I mean that factually rather than in any way disparagingly)– scatter their sets with choice 90s cuts is interesting; I suppose in context it’s the same as young bands of the 90’s dredging up songs of the 70s from their parents’ collections, or every band of the 80s covering ‘Sister ray’ and ‘Louie Louie’; there seems to be a two-decade loop which essentially corresponds with the emergent generation gap.

‘Save Your Time’ may be their idea of heavy, but… Still. They play with energy and are decent enough in a middling gruge-tinged alt-rock way. They probably need to work on the between-song chat, though, since “We’re about to play a song some of you might know. It’s on a thing called Spotify” is about as good as it gets. Blur’s ‘Song 2’ is the second cover of their set, and they seem to play the covers better than their own songs, but also manage to deliver a strong finale.

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The Roosettas

The Rosemaries exude an air that they’re a cut above from the second they walk on. Tonight, they’re all wearing dresses, but still look the most rock ‘n’ roll of tonight’s acts. The 90s covers continue as they open with a passionate cover of ‘Killing in the Nam’, and it again seems an unusual choice. The squawking vocal uplifts are unexpected. But there’s a lot that’s unexpected about this bunch, and it’s all good. They’re political, they’re tight, and they’re solid. Sprechgesang verses bounce over buoyant baselines before breaking into mega choruses. ‘Pogo pogo pogo’, say my notes. Those squeaks are an interesting post-punky vocal quirk that seem to reference early Fall more than anything, but then also make a nod to Siouxsie.

Overall, The Rosemaries land between The Sex Pistols and Yard Act with a dash of Pulp, although ‘Easy Peas’ bludgeons away at two chords Fall style. The singer heckles the audience in classic northern style: “Are ya gonna do some proper moshin’ or what?”

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The Rosemaries

They slip into a three-chord punky thrash with sneery, shouty vocals that call to mind Jilted John and hammer out as their second cover – the most contemporary of the night – Fontaines DC’s ‘Boys in the Better land’, which had been aired over the PA earlier. It’s a faithful rendition that’s delivered with zeal, and one can’t help but feel its relevance to bands knocking around in York. There are some decent pub venues to be grateful for, but there’s a world outside, starting just a few miles up the A64.

If this seems critical of the bands or local scene, it really isn’t: bands have to start somewhere, and with grassroots venues closing by the dozen, it’s a joy to witness nights like this – bands cutting their teeth in venues what are happy to give them a platform, and what’s also encouraging is the embracing of the ramshackle, rough and ready. I’m tired of a scene where bands strive to sound like arena acts in pub venues. It’s just not punk, and what we need is to hear live music that sounds and feels live. This is what tonight brings. It’s unpolished, unfinished, work in progress. But it’s great fun, and this is the next generation coming through. Just wait.

Christopher Nosnibor

There’s a queue up the two flights of stairs half an hour before doors, and the front two rows are packed out long, long before Weekend Recovery are due on, a mere fifteen minutes after opening. Tonight’s event is something of an oddity. LA rock act Starcrawler, who are something of a hot ticket and have been since their emergence in 2015, being hailed as the saviours of rock ‘n’ roll – like so many before, and likely many to come – are playing a handful of UK headline dates in between festivals, with All Points east in London on August 28th and End of the Road on September 3rd. Having sold out Norwich and Liverpool at £15 a ticket, Leeds is a late addition to the tour, and free entry. It’s Friday night and of course it’s packed, and likely would have been if they’d charged, which is why this seems odd, even if they’re treating it as a warmup for End of the Road.

There’s nothing remotely warm-uppy or stop-gap showy about tonight, and there’s a buzz from the outset.

Weekend Recovery open with ‘There’s a Sense’, one of their poppier, woohoo-ey tunes, followed by a beefy ‘No Guts’ and they do a decent job of grabbing the crowd. Lori busts some Quattro moves as has become her style, and they look confident on the bigger stage with the larger audience. It’s the thick, fuzzy bass that fills the sound throughout the set, and they really seem to have hit their stride as a three-piece of late. Bringing on guest a vocalist for new song ‘In the Crowd’ it goes unexpectedly ragga/ska before piling into a lively rendition of ‘Going Nowhere’ that makes for an energetic finale to a set that no doubt won them some new fans, and deservedly so.

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Weekend Recovery

I know nothing about main support Genie Genie, but they seem to have plenty of fans already, and the Bauhaus ripping off Bowie glam gloom schtick is no real surprise, although one guy with a laptop strutting around being menacing at the start of the set rather is. Then the band’s other dozen members flood onto the stage wielding saxophones galore. It’s high theatre, but highly derivative, as the black-mulleted singer tears his tattered t-shirt from his scrawny white torso as the brass honks and parps over quivering organ pipes. All the ham and oversized crucifixes can’t compensate the mediocre material with cornball schlock horror cabaret about Jack the Ripper, guv, and of course, they go down a storm as half the room chant along with endless nananana hooks and the like. There’s no accounting for taste.

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Genie Genie

The crowd are baying for Starcrawler for a good five minutes before they arrive, and hell, they arrive. Side on, I’m badly placed for photos as lithe-as-anything beanpole Arrow de Wilde is practically a sliver from this angle and keeps vanishing behind the mic stand. What the band deliver is proper old-school rock ‘n’ roll, an assimilation of glam, punk, and hair rock played with a flamboyance and an energy that’s infectious. The crowd are rabid.

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Starcrawler

As the set progresses, I find myself growing less enthused: the band are lively but the moves swiftly become predictable and the material is average, and I find myself quite unmoved by the spectacle. Perhaps people are distracted by the appearance and delivery, and as such are oblivious to the fact that this is pretty middling rock fronted by the lovechild of Courtney Love and Mick Jagger. There’s no question that they’re completely committed to putting on a show, and they play hard, but there’s minimal interaction with the adoring audience. Maybe they’re too cool for that, but in a 350-capacity venue it feels a little bit superior – but, viewed from another angle, it’s a band worthy of the 2,000+ capacity O2 kicking out their festival. Either way, it’s hard to really fault Starcrawler: they deliver a solid set of proper old-school rock, and the fans love it.