Posts Tagged ‘Grass Roots Gigs’

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s Saturday night on the August bank holiday weekend. The students are on holiday, and it’s Leeds Festival weekend. On the face of it, it seems like madness to put a gig on in a tiny underground venue in the city centre, but in fact, it makes a lot of sense. Not only are the big festivals insanely expensive, but because commercial concerns are inevitably a priority these days, they represent an ever-narrowing musical choice. Festivals have become tediously safe, with corporate sponsorship and the same obvious, established acts playing the headline slots at every festival year on year. But it’s at gigs like this that future festival features cut their teeth. I’d take four little bands, up close and personal, at a free entry show, over the entirety of Reading and Leeds any day.

The first band up, who I assume are The Blewes (since they’re mentioned on the poster if not the event page, and they don’t say) deliver a competent set of alternative rock tunes, foraying into light funk rock mode around halfway through the set. The singer / guitarist’s wearing cherry-red 12-hole DM’s, but his butch credentials are covered by the fact he’s got his shirt, off and relentless calls of ‘show us your tiger’ from the back to the room (presumably the band’s mates) sees the bassist get his moobs out too. Unremarkable but entertaining enough, they’re more than adequate bill-proppers.

The Claxbys proved rather less entertaining. The bassist may have a Big Muff in his rack, but it doesn’t do anything to elevate the three-piece’s pedestrian pub rock. It’s only on the last song when the Scunthorpe trio kick out some beefy blues rock that things get interesting, but it’s rather too little, too late.

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The Claxbys

It turns out that the cocky kid who engaged me in conversation earlier, with seemingly good intentions, is the nineteen-year-old singer with The Bohos. It’s a crap name, but the Liverpool quartet blend psychedelic and 60s rock elements into neat packages delivered with energy. They look the part, too, and emanate a confidence befitting of a band who’ve got some big gigs including a support slot with White Lies under their belt. A critical stance would be that there’s little to differentiate them from a great many other bands, but there’s no question that they’re solid. The final song of the set, ‘I’m a Hero’ comes on like Oasis wrestling with The Cooper Temple Clause, and is the work of a band with enough assurance – or ego – to go places.

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The Bohos

Weekend Recovery are a band with definite star quality, and in singer Lauren Forster, they have a compelling focal point. She does a good line I that ‘grrrrghhh’ throat thing. She plays guitar. She has a natiral charisma. And while she may have devoted more time to practising her eye movements than her fretwork, as a unit, they’re musically tight throughout. The fact the band are playing with a stand-in bassist in the form of Joe Scotcher makes this even more impressive.

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Weekend Recovery

Yes, they’re a rock band with a keen pop sensibility, and since I first caught them in February, on the release of ‘Don’t Try and Stop Me’, they’ve honed their sound and grown in confidence through touring. Debus single ‘Focus’ is dropped early in a well-paced set, and latest single, ‘New Tattoo’, lifted from their ‘Rumours’ EP and their darkest, broodingest moment to date – showcases a capacity to combine emotional intensity with anthemic tunage. And despite the lateness of the hour (they don’t start till 11pm), they manage to hold the attention and even get some people moving down the front. They wrap up the night with a stomping rendition of ‘Don’t Try and Stop Me’, and exit triumphant. So yeah, take that, Eminem.

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