Posts Tagged ‘energy’

17th June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Blackpool isn’t exactly a roaring flame on the musical map, hanging in the shadow of Manchester and being more geared toward tourism than seemingly existing as a place to live in its own right. Sure, Jethro Tull originated in Blackpool, along with – although some time apart – The Membranes, and Alfie Boe – but it’s hardly indicative of a cultural melting pot with a thriving scene to represent it.

Ivory Skies may – or may not – change that. Formed in 2019, they’ve released a couple of singles already, and scored support slots with Kyle Falconer from The View, and The K’s, which puts them on the fringes of the bigger leagues.

Perhaps it’s a coastal town thing: ‘Bring Me Up’ calls to mind the uptempo punk / indie crossover sound of Southend-on-Sea’s Asylums, and it’s buoyant, energetic – inoffensive, but certainly not lacking in a bit of bite, yielding four minutes of melodic, guitar-driven joy with a dash of realism.

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Ivory Skies - Artwork

Christopher Nosnibor

With neither band having previously played in York before 2022, it’s three months to the week since Healthy Junkies and Yur Mum last played in this very room, and on the same lineup as part of the Lips Can Kill Tour, and it’s the third time here for Healthy Junkies, who supported The Kut here in January. And it’s great to have them both back, and although it’s a bit of a standard York on a Wednesday night turnout, those present more than compensate the small numbers with their demonstrations of appreciation, getting going down the front.

It is a while before things get going. Sure, I’m here to write about the music. But a long wait for the music when I didn’t think to bring a book makes for some tedious downtime. Scheduling and communication do matter, as the time I missed the headliners because they were due on around midnight, a full half hour after the last train back to York from Leeds illustrates perfectly. These things are ok if advertised in advance, but can be problematic if not. Opening doors at seven but not having a band on before nine without advertising stage times – or the fact that the headliners have pulled out – beforehand wasn’t the absolute worst, but sitting around on your tod for an hour and a half when you’ve got stuff you could have been doing is a bit of a chew, and midweek, I’d take an early finish over a late start any time.

Still, there’s decent beer on tap at fair prices, and supping a couple of pints of Oakham Citra while they spin some decent tunes over the PA is far from the worst way to kill time. And the bar staff are great, and the bands are without doubt worth the wait, and one thing about the Vaults is that the sound is spot on – and at a volume appropriate for the bands.

One thing that probably doesn’t get much comment is the fact that Yur Mum – Anelise and Fabio – are both great musicians. Anelise plays bass like a guitar and cranks out some monster sound, while Fabio plays the whole kit all at once. They’ve both got outstanding presence – Despite singing and playing, Anelise manages to be pretty mobile around the stage, and Fabio has an exuberant style that goes the occasional stick-spin. Above all, though, they play with chemistry and energy, and the intuition that comes with hard touring. The slower gothic tones of ‘Black Rainbow’ stand out in a powerful set that features a piledriving rendition of ‘Sweatshop’ as the penultimate song.

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Yur Mum

Healthy Junkies are another band who tour relentlessly, and it shows – not because they seem jaded, but because they’ve got that tightness that comes from time on the road (their last album, Forever on the Road is appropriately titled). And unphased by the smaller crowd, they play hard and put on the same standard of show as if the place was absolutely rammed. They’re not just pros, they pour every ounce into every song.

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Healthy Junkies

Nina Courson is a whirlwind of flailing limbs and hair, at times channelling Katie Jane Garside, and utterly compelling – to the point that sometimes you forget the songs, and the solidity of the band as a collective. Guitarist Phil Honey-Jones takes lead vocals on a handful of tracks, making for a nice contrast and highlighting the depth of the band’s talent. The rhythm section don’t do anything to draw attention, and do exactly what’s needed – keep it solid, and with drive. They wrap up with the fan-favourite cover of ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’, and that is indeed what they do.

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Healthy Junkies

Any disappointment over the absence of Witch of the East – and I for one was disappointed, as I’d been looking forward, while I suspect other got word and stayed home – was compensated by the quality of the two bands, both headline acts in their own right.

French experimental punk / hardcore trio, Birds In Row have been at the forefront of their genre for a decade. Their lauded 2012 debut You, Me & the Violence released on Deathwish Inc. rocketed them from Laval-based unknowns to the world’s stage. Their exceptional 2018 follow up We Already Lost the World was an unyielding inferno of brazen ideas. It screamed for mutual respect in a world of increasingly extreme political divides, and used the vehicles of punk, post-hardcore and post-metal to carry its cries.

Sonically, they’re fearless. Lyrically, they’re as poetic as they are recusant. And live, they’re a ruthless force, matching the power of their music with boundless, must-see energy.

Today they return with an immediate and genre-bending epic, ‘Water Wings’. Its scraping guitar strums a ticking clock, counting down to the inevitable barrage of hardcore to follow. Of the single, Birds In Row tell, “The dreams that are imposed on us – of social success, accomplishment or, even, the vision of what happiness is – does not consider who we are or where we’re from. Those dreams aren’t ours, but are inherently ours. Being ourselves means struggling against these dreams that have been forced onto us.”

Check the visualiser vid here:

“Water Wings” comes alongside the news that the band have signed with Red Creek Recordings (founded by Johannes Persson of Cult of Luna and Alexis Sevenier from ORA Management) to release their third studio album later this Fall. Birds In Row have also announced a full October/November European tour. See below for a full list of dates. For more info go here… stay tuned for more.

Birds In Row Live Dates:

* w/ Cult of Luna

Sep 30 – Vitry-sur-Seine (FR) – Festi’Val de Marne

Oct 01 – Rouen (FR) – Le 106

Oct 02 – Esch-sur-Alzette (LU) – Rockhal *

Oct 03 – Cologne (DE) – Live Music Hall *

Oct 04 – Geneve (CH – Alhambra *

Oct 05 – Toulouse (FR) – Le Metronum *

Oct 06 – Biarritz (FR) – Atabal *

Oct 07 – Barcelona (ES) – AMFest *

Oct 08 – Madrid (ES) – But *

Oct 09 – Porto (PT) – Ampli Fest *

Oct 11 – Nantes (FR) – Stereolux *

Oct 12 – Lille (FR) – Aeronef *

Oct 13 – Strasbourg (FR) – La Laiterie *

Oct 14 – Zwolle (NL) – Hedon *

Oct 15 – Leipzig (DE) – Felsenkeller *

Oct 16 – Wroclaw (PL) – A2 *

Oct 17 – Budapest (HU) – Durer Kert *

Oct 18 – Prague (CZ) – Underdogs *

Oct 20 – Berlin (DE) – Urban Spree

Oct 21 – Dortmund (DE) – Trompete

Oct 22 – Darmstadt (DE) – Oettinger Villa

Oct 23 – Neunkirchen (DE) – Stummschen Reithalle

Oct 27 – Bordeaux (FR) – Le Krakatoa

Oct 28 – Alençon (FR) – La Luciole

Nov 03 – Amiens (FR) – La Lune des Pirates

Nov 04 – Belfort (FR) – La Poudrière

Nov 05 – Annecy (FR) – Le Brise Glace

Nov 09 – Bruxelles (BE) – Le Botanique

Nov 10 – Haarlemn (NL) – Patronaat

Nov 11 – Leeuwarden (NL) – Neushoorn

Nov 12 – Nijmegen (NL) – Merleyn

Nov 17 – Poitiers (FR) – Le Confort Moderne

Nov 18 – Vannes (FR) – L’Echonova

Nov 19 – Quimper (FR) – Novomax

Nov 23 – Fribourg (CH) – Fri-Son

Nov 24 – Metz (FR) – Les Trinitaires

Nov 25 – Tours (FR) – Le Bateau Ivre

Nov 26 – Paris (FR) – Le Trabendo

Dec 09 – Angoulême (FR) – La Nef

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BIR

29th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

No, you’re not paranoid. This shit is real: you’re under surveillance, 24/7. London is one of the most surveilled cities in the world, but it’s by no means so far ahead of many others. Living in York, I noted walking past no fewer than thirteen cameras on my twenty-three minute walk to work – a stretch of precisely a mile. But you’re under surveillance without leaving the house, too: practically every keystroke you make is feeding the big data, and your mobile phone shows where you’ve been, as does your bank and credit card.

Brighton purveyors of psychedelic punk, Dog of Man are on a narrative path with their new single, ‘Hello MI5!, and you can’t help but wonder if the video concept preceded the song. Regardless, it’s three minutes of spiky indie-punk that’s so fast and furious it trips over itself at every step in its rush to pack everything in. It’s got one of those stringy, noodly, knotty guitar lines that’s positively addictive but also trips you up every other bar because it’s so busy it’s impossible to keep up.

Keeping up with Dog of Man is another problem, and it’s difficult. ‘Hello M15’ is eye-popping – arch, punky, poppy. It’s difficult, it’s frenetic, a sonic spasm inducing the same kind of jolting, jarring headache as early Foetus while bringing the chaotic snarking of Menswe@r and Selfish Cunt and driving into a head-on collision with This Et Al and S*M*A*S*H. Or something.

I suppose what I’m attempting to convey is that Dog of Man throw down everything all at once, and do so and a hundred miles an hour. This is mental shit, a frenzied chaos it’s… mayhem. There’s no real sense to be made here. ‘Hello MI5!’ is dizzying, and it’s brilliant.

Hello MI5! montage - Dog Of Man

Christopher Nosnibor

Having been rescheduled after last November’s booking was cancelled, The Golden Age of TV are back in York on the eve of the release of a new EP.

It’s not the most promising start to arrive to find the doors locked, and Sea Legs are still soundchecking when they open the doors 25 minutes late. Something isn’t right with the mic in the kick drum, and it’s creating huge crackling distortion. But a change of mic, a change of leads, and things are back on track, albeit with a slightly later start.

It’s pretty quiet to begin, too, so the time between soundcheck and the start affords a bit of time just to sup a pint of Timothy Taylor’s dark mild and see the venue properly. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that there’s still a fireplace and mantelpiece at the back of the stage behind the drum kit. It’s even more of an anomaly than the huge great radiator at the side of the room. These are reminders that The Vaults may be a venue, but still a pub at heart, and I’m drinking my hand-pulled pint from a real glass. There’s something comforting and gratifying about this.

Sea Legs’ melodic indie/alt rock stylings are easy on the ear, and occasionally fade into waves of ambience in between. There are some nice bass grooves too, not to mention some detailed and textured lead guitar work. They’re tight and tuneful: to my ears they’re nice enough but a shade ordinary, although that means they’re also exactly the kind of band that goes massive with the right breaks.

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Sea Legs

Pavillion’s front man’s beige chinos and shiny paisley shirt are a bit of a distraction from the music, although that’s probably just me as I realise he’s dressed how everyone dressed when I was their age, down to the early 90s curtains. I also realise the place is suddenly a lot busier, and it’s a shame their fans / mates thin out again shortly after their set, not least of all because they seriously missed out. If I was being harsh, I’d say their song ‘Terrifically Ordinary’ could be their signature, but they show real songwriting panache, with hints of Squeeze, and they play well, even if the visual aspect of their performance isn’t particularly evolved yet. Their lyrical vignettes are poetic and evocative, and well-constructed.

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Pavillion

All of this is just preamble, both in terms of the bands and the commentary. I’m here for The Golden Age of TV quite simply because the last time I saw them back in September, they absolutely blew me away with their sheer quality. Although they’ve been around a while, something seemed to have fired them up several notches during lockdown.

Tonight proves that their Long Division performance was not just a flicker post-pandemic exuberance, and that they really are a band who’ve achieved a new level of form. In a bold move, they open with the upcoming EP’s title track and lead single ‘Bite My Skin’ that merges motorik groove with choppy post punk and solid riffing.

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The Golden Age of TV

The energy they radiate is magical: they’re overtly nerdy in image, and they embrace it to the max. Rock god guitar poses (Ryan with glasses sliding off face, the guy plays every chord like it’s an absolute crushing stadium-blasting monster, Sam hard thrashing like he’s possessed) epic gurning and unashamed mum dancing, they are just so exuberant and joy to watch, and I keep finding myself grinning like a loon. Bea is a remarkably expressive vocalist with great presence. In all, they’ve got great tunes, tight and tidy with neat structures and finishes, and a great vibe. When a band are this into what they’re doing, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. The golden age of TV may have long passed, but their own golden age is now. Go see them: because recorded they’re ace, but it’s live where they really thrive.

28th January 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

On seeing / hearing this, I’m reminded of the character of Mike TV in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a book I loved as a child, and have enjoyed all over again as a parent – although I always detested the film adaptations, especially the original, not least of all because I doubly detest Gene Wilder: the guy just grates. However, Dahl had a way of making points through his characters, often about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits and characteristics and behaviours, and Mike TV was no exception, and it may not have been especially subtle, but then it was a children’s book written in the 60s, at a time when sociologists and psychologists too were becoming interested on the effect of the media, in particular television – the twentieth century opium of the people.

The Assist’s new offering unpacks this line of thinking through a contemporary filter and a more immediate perspective, portraying a character – who’s something of an emblem, a stereotype – whose expectations of life are unrealistic, distorted by media representations. Since the turn of the millennium and the advent of ‘reality’; TV, we’ve been fed an endless conveyor belt of shows that have espoused the idea that anyone can achieve anything, and that anyone can become a celebrity – and, worse still, that being a celebrity for its own sake is something not only achievable, but desirable. It wasn’t so long ago kids would grow up wanting to be film stars, pop stars, models, designers, sportspeople; now primary-age kids are coming through wanting to be reality TV celebs, Instagram influencers and YouTubers.

‘TV Kid’ paints the stark disparity between the dream and the reality, where head-in-the-clouds aspirations – ‘a top flight striker, Well known as a good time provider…A boxing expert, an amateur fighter, walks around to the eye of the tiger’ – are a world away from the stress of bills and so on, the kitchen sink drudgery or life on minimum wage – or, as they put it, ‘Big soup for breakfast, big soup for tea, petrol for Christmas’.

It’s a nifty tune, compressed into a sharp, snappy two-and-a-half minutes. It’s buoyant and upbeat in delivery, with some jangly but crunchy guitars driving it along nicely while brimming with melody and energy. The Midlands act are unashamed in their working class stylings, without being as in yer face as Sleaford Mods (which is no doubt one reason The Assist haven’t weighed in with Fat White Family on the ‘faux working classness of Idles), or as brash and tediously crap as Oasis, and consequently, in rank order it’s the music first and the attitude second. It’s a decent balance, and singer Mikey has just the right amount of swagger in his delivery – cocky, but not cockish, and nicely whetting the whistle for the debut album, Council Pop, out in April.

Artwork - The Assist

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Band shot - The Assist

Dance To The Radio Records – 17th September 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Between 2005 and 2011, Dance to the Radio was the label that wasn’t lonely synonymous with the Leeds scene, it practically was the Leeds scene, and contributed to putting the city and its bands back on the map, releasing The Pigeon Detectives, Forward Russia, This Et Al, iLiKETRAiNS, and Grammatrics, as well as a number of wide-ranging compilations featuring the like of Pulled Apart by Horses. Returning in 2017 after a six-year hiatus, they’ve focused on a small but carefully-curated roster, giving a home to Tallsaint, Aural Aggro faves Dead Naked Hippies, Jake Whiskin, and Hull’s Low Hummer, who may be relatively new but have established themselves quickly, showcasing an energetic alt-rock sound that incorporates elements of grunge, punk, postpunk, and electro-pop with potent results. Debuting in October 2019 with the single ‘I Choose Live News’, the band have marked a steadily upward trajectory in the profile stakes ever since.

Granted, over half the tracks on Modern Tricks For Living have been released as singles in the last couple of years or so, making this as much a compilation as an album proper, but nevertheless, it hangs together nicely, on account of its stylistic unity and lyrical themes, and it’s well sequenced too, with the ups and downs just where they need to be.

Classic themes of angst, anxiety, and alienation dominate, and they never grow tired or fade. They possess a universality and an eternal relevance. The power and passion of the emotions may fade with age, but they never go away: most disaffected teens still feel it, unless they sell out and become self-satisfied, complacent parts of the machine. And some do – I’ve lost friends that way – but many of us still burn with the anguish of adolescence. As such, despite the band’s youth, there’s a universality in their appeal.

‘These days I feel like I’m dead’: the drawling vocal on ‘Tell You What’ is pure grunge nihilism, but there’s a sparkly electropop aspect to it, too. And the more you delve into Modern Tricks For Living, the more detail and the more canny crafting it reveals: amidst the brashy, trashy surface, there’s a lot more going on. These songs aren’t superficial, rushed, three-chord thrashes – well, they are, but they’re a lot more besides, and that’s the appeal of Low Hummer.

‘Take Arms’ packs some attack and makes for a strong opener. It doesn’t waste any time in planting a powerful earworm, with a motorik beat and bubbling synth bass providing the spine of a spiky punky indie banger that’s pure 90s in its vibe – the guitars fizz and the shouty female backing vocals reactive the riot grrrl sound and it kicks hard.

One of the few tracks not to have been released previously, ‘Don’t You Ever Sleep’, is an exuberant, bouncy paean to boredom that powers through in a whirl of synths in two and three quarter minutes, and it’s exhilarating, and ‘I Choose Live News’ crashes in as the third track, and it’s another relentless rush.

The Curesque ‘Never Enough’ (one suspects the title isn’t entirely accidental either) brings a change of tempo and switches the full-throttle fizz for an altogether dreamier form. It’s well-placed, and proves they’re not one-dimensional or one-pace, hinting at a range that they’re yet to fully explore. Slinging lines like ‘I hate this place / I hate the world’ , they pack in the angst and nihilism

‘Sometimes I Wish’ has some neat bass runs and a cyclical guitar riff that builds, while a wild lead part tops it all off. The tempo change towards the end is both unexpected and well-executed. ‘Slow One’ isn’t all that slow, but these things are all relative, and ‘The People, This Place’, another previous single release provides a blistering finale. And what can I say? This is a cracking album from beginning to end, that presents a solid selection of songs. Modern Tricks For Living is exciting and exhilarating, and it’s as simple as that.

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Trash Wax Recordings – 14th May 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Belgian four-piece The Distractors formed in 2019, and despite the last year and a bit not being the time for bands to build a fan base through live activity, they’ve managed to deliver their debut long player, which they’re the first to admit is an homage to their influences, as filtered through the band’s quirky, anarchic creative methods and general disregard for orthodoxy.

‘Everybody Hates Poetry’ is a straight-ahead punk three-chord thrash with gruff vocals that isn’t a million miles from The Anti-Nowhere League, and immediately establishes their style and credentials. And there really is nothing fancy about any of this. It’s a no-messing punk album, and you could pretty much leave it at that.

For a movement that was so revolutionary in terms of its achievements, a lot of punk music wasn’t nearly that innovative, although it’s perhaps a fair assessment that the most commercially successful and renowned punk acts of that first watershed were the least innovative and most accessible. The likes of Sex Pistols, Sham 69, and The Vibrators, on reflection, were just pub rock cranked up a few notches, and pretty tame. Real punk was Wire, Metal Urbain, Throbbing Gristle, bands that challenged both the establishment and musical convention. I say ‘was’, as punk rapidly transitioned from anti-establishment to an establishment of its own, a genre rather than an attitude.

But The Distractors combine both: punk style and punk attitude, and that’s the selling point behind Subversiv Dekadent, an album that does live up to its title, by and large.

Simple chord sequences – no more than three or four – are standard, and the songs are very much cut from the simple-but-effective mould or energetic primitivism.

‘The Night is Young (and So Are You)’ has an element of wrongness to its lyrics, and also mines a surf-punk seem that’s big on reverb and swagger, with contrasting guitar parts that balance the choppy and the noodly to strong effect. ‘Love You to the Max’ isn’t exactly tender, but it’s heartfelt and brimming with passion, and with a picked, chiming guitar in the verses, it’s got dynamic range, too. ‘To Hell With Good Intentions’ is one of those full-throttle ragers that slams in hard and fast and is all over in under two minutes. It’s not pretty, but it is strong – and that’s probably a fair summary of the album as a whole.

The innovation and uniqueness ratings for Subversiv Dekadent are low, but that’s not the point: the fury and energy ratings are off the scale, with the driving, gritty guitars cranked up really high and the energy and passion going up to eleven. Subversiv Dekadent is loud, fast, and it’s exciting. And that’s what a punk album ought to be.

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Artwork

Cruel Nature Records – 5th March 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I know next to nothing about Fast Blood beyond the brief biographical info that accompanies this, their debut EP, which follows a brace of singles.

Apparently, the members of the foursome are stalwarts of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne DIY scene, but as a unit they only came together in 2019, performing together for the first time in April of that year. They managed to amass a decent resume of support slots in the eleven months before the world ended for live music, and announced their arrival in November 2019 with the hooky as hell ‘You’, which is featured here as the EP’s second track.

They trade in short – three minutes or less – poppy punk tunes, and for all their ‘nods to 90’s Midwestern indie/emo, hardcore and garage punk’, what actually comes through above anything is how they hark back to a more classic female-fronted punk vintage. That isn’t to say they sound like X-Ray Spex, or Penetration, or Blondie, but there’s certainly something of that vibe infused within their driving, guitar-driven songs which are big on energy.

‘Why do I keep doing this to myself? / I keep telling myself I’m not worthy’ Abigail Barlow sings on ‘Milo’, which was released as their second single in January last year, and while the delivery is accessible, and very much driven by a sense of ‘song’, and ‘melody’, and there’s nothing that’s overtly dark about their songs, there’s an emotional honesty and a sincerity about the lyrics that runs deeper. In this sense, it’s the best of both: a vintage style with a contemporary edge – without the crap connotations of punk-pop dragged along by the likes of shit like Panic! At the Disco, New Found Glory, and All Time Low – they balance bite with something altogether more easy on the ear. Kudos.

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Christopher Nosnibor

There’s usually at least one band in a lineup of four that’s only so-so, only middling, or simply doesn’t appeal. This makes tonight’s bill unusual, especially given the fact there’s no specific genre theme. The four bands showcasing their wares tonight are pulled together from around the country is probably a factor: despite FURR being a Leeds band and Weekend Recovery having recently relocated to the city (and both having built themselves a bit of a following on a national level), this isn’t a ‘local bands’ gig by any stretch.

Sheffield four-piece Mollyanna deliver buoyant indie / alternative rock with – dare I say it? – infectious tunes. They have a good energy, but also an emotive, brooding edge, and tinges of darkness creep into the keen vocal melodies. The band’s gutsier, grungier side emerges as the set progresses, as do more cinematic aspects that call to mind Evanescence (only minus the pomp, and therefore better).

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Mollyanna

Tokyo Taboo are an altogether different proposition, and if Mollyanna have good energy, Tokyo Taboo have insane energy. The guitarist – Moöey is wearing a silver hoody and star-jumping, spot-running, high-kicking singer Dolly Daggers has accessorised her minidress with a kind of shrug that’s also a sort of stuffed toy. Or something. But they’re not just visually compelling: their brand of amped-up power pop with a punk edge – and a dash of grunge – hits all the right spots. Joe Scotcher’s basslines keep everything nailed down nicely amidst the frenzy. And they have tunes! In fact, the last song – a slow-burner that finds Dolly sitting in the audience to sing – is one of the best things I’ve hear so far this year. I’m too busy enjoying the set to take many notes and the ones I have are barely legible, and all of my photos are blurry, but then, writing about or taking still photographs of Tokyo Taboo seems vaguely pointless: go and see them for yourself. They really are a cracking live act. And utterly barking.

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Tokyo Taboo

I’ve written a fair bit about Weekend Recovery over the last year or so, and it was a year to the day I first caught them live in Leeds. They’ve come a long way since then, on many levels and not just geographically. Musically, they’ve evolved, and the songs on their debut album, Get What You Came For – the reason they’re currently touring and are here tonight for their local launch – have a harder, grungier, punkier, and more distinctive sound. Visually, they’re simply looking more like a band. And in terms of performance, they’re more confident and assured, and the time on the road has made them tighter and punchier. Not that older songs like ‘Focus’ and ‘Don’t Try and Stop Me’ sit awkwardly in the set: if anything, they contrast nicely with the more direct and biting newer songs.

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Weekend Recovery

Lorin pogos around a lot while the guys kick out the riffs, with the album’s title track standing out in particular for its riffines. They wrap their set with a high-octane, full-throttle rendition of ‘Why Don’t You Love Me?’, the squeaky pop of the studio version transformed into a fierce demand that’s both exhilarating and a little bit scary (in a good way).

In the event, they prove to be the biggest draw of the night, and receive the warmest reception. And it’s well-deserved.

FURR are conspicuous by virtue of being the only all-male band, and not having a female vocalist. Having recently featured as part of the Leeds-based Come Play With Me singles club, the grungy guitar foursome have been attracting some attention of late. They’re probably too young to have even been born when Kurt Cobain was still alive, but they’ve got the c92 sound – with some keen melodies and clean vocals, they’re perhaps more Bivouac than Nirvana – nailed, as well as the look, only with a contemporary spin (by which I mean they sport plaid shirts, and have a 3:1 beard ratio). There’s no let-up for the duration of their set, as they piledrive their way through the songs. It’s all good, and they close with a ripping rendition of single cut ‘Fable’ (the set list scribbled on a Jiffy bag confirms this).

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FURR

They fumble about a bit and deliberate before playing one more song, and it makes for a slightly disorganised end to proceedings, but who cares? It’s been a good night – better than good, in fact, even great – and one which reminds us precisely why independent music and the venues that support it are so essential. Every band on the bill brought the energy and their A-game, and the experience is an all-out rush. And given the pick of these for bands tonight, or Morrissey at the First Direct Arena the next evening, I’d make the same choice every time.