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we are six

Just Handshakes (We’re British)

I Concur leeds festival

The Beginner’s Guide To Leeds Rock Trumps Mik Artistik Leeds and West Yorkshire

Free October 2009


The Team Editor Rob Paul Chapman themag@vibrations.org.uk

Design Editor Tim Metcalfe tim@vibrations.org.uk

Picture Editor Tom Martin tom@vibrations.org.uk

Reviews Editor Rob Wright bert@vibrations.org.uk

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Cover shot Just Handshakes (We're British) by Tom Martin The Flounders vibrations 3


I moved house this month. Wow, that’s really got your attention now, hasn’t it? Check me and my impact journalism. (That sudden and violent whirring sound you can hear off in the distance is Lester Bangs spinning in his grave). However I appear to have made a catastrophic error in selecting a new abode as somehow I’ve managed to fall outside the range of a DAB signal.

Pixie Lott who makes Duffy look like Frank Zappa, and the much trumpeted ‘great new discovery’ Camilla Kerslake who’s anaemic belly-flop through She Moved Through The Fair had me inexplicably pining for the horrifically This is a genuine tragedy. bloated, worthy and pompous Simple I was faced with the distressing – nay Minds track Belfast Child, based on the same song. – terrifying realisation that, for the first time in years, I was going to have to rely on FM radio over breakfast. I felt disgusted with myself just typing that. I have three choices: Radio 1, Radio 2 or something commercial (I am not But the tipping point was the amount called Gladys and do not smell of rose of time devoted to “Barbara Streisand water and therefore have no use for Week”. I don’t even know where to BBC local radio unless Alan Raw is on). start with this, so I’ll just leave that one hanging for you to fathom by yourselves. A quick shift of the tuning knob and I am greeted by Chris Moyles shouting. This Mr & Mrs Backbone will undoubtedly goes on for many, many minutes. No believe this assessment to be records are played. Just Chris shouting. outrageously snobbish, and they would A quick re-tune and it’s Radio Aire… be entirely correct. Wogan is giving people “what they want” a feeble …I am now bored of adverts. argument often used to defend the corrosive, cancerous writings of Richard Which leaves us with Wogan on Radio Littlejohn and his like. 2. And this is where the depression really kicks in. If “what the public wants” is the only factor of relevance, be done with it and I’m 32 years old. I cannot move bring back public hanging. for people telling me I am now the natural demographic for Radio 2. But this isn’t some populace-placating If that really is the case, then the commercial institution, this is a public abundant woes of the music industry body funded by its own tax. It should now make perfect sense. not be concerned with “what we want”; it should be concerned by what is good “But Wogan’s an institution” wail Mr and for us. I want Mother from Auntie. We Mrs Backbone-of-England as the late, cannot survive on sweets and Sunny great Jeffery Bernard used to call them. Delight, we need nutrition. If we don’t Yeah, well so was Highroyds, until like it we can opt out and hang around someone had the human decency to with the borstal kids at Galaxy. offer the hopelessly incarcerated a better chance in life. Critics of the BBC – and at this point, I want to declare that I am not one – I don’t have a problem with the old point towards HBO as a business that goat himself, and but one glance at the has had success producing quality on playlist (to which I imagine he has scant subscription rather than a licence fee. influence), confirms that I really did have Mr & Mrs Backbone are very fond of to endure Michael Bolton, Simply Red, the BBC, we’re told, but don’t like the Kenny Loggins, Extreme (the appalling licence fee. ballad, not the entertainingly dumb funk-metal-lite), Robbie Williams, Don The clue, I feel, is in the word “fee”. McLean, Whitney Houston, David Gray People don’t like council tax either, but and Newton Faulkner all in the same it’s largely essential if people want basic programme. things like their bins collecting… oh. The only music that could remotely be described as ‘new’ was the sub-Spice

route, the people to subscribe would be the sort of people who watch HBO. The BBC is in a unique position to gently enforce quality on those who would otherwise pick the easy, but long-term vacuous option. At this point, I fully expect Mr. & Mrs. Backbone to pull out the classic that ‘quality is subjective’. Well let’s quash that myth once and for all, because it isn’t. Quality never has, and never will be anywhere near as subjective as some people think. Taste is subjective. But a fully-functioning brain, working ears and an open mind should be enough to filter quality. Why should I care? The reason I get so upset about the decline, devaluing and trivialisation of the mainstream, is that I am privileged enough to experience in our local area some truly outstanding talent. If I had a pound for every time I’d said “I can see this working brilliantly on Radio 2” I’d be able to fund the print run personally each month. Yet I obviously didn’t appreciate what Radio 2 was. And therefore, if you’re a fantastically talented, potentially mainstream singer-songwriter, a Ric Neale, even a Benjamin Wetherill or a Jon Gomm, what are your options? According to the assumed radio 2 manifesto, the only new artists they seem willing to support are those who are female, blond, hugely attractive and under 20. Even Laura Groves is going to struggle unless she dyes her hair... All of a sudden the Little Boots change of look is making more sense… Anyway, to all of you who have also moved house this month to join us in glorious West Yorkshire as students at one of the many universities and colleges, welcome. It’s not all moaning and you will find a vibrant scene here. As you’ll realise, when you have the artistic talents of the people we regularly write about in these very pages, who needs the rest of the country getting their grubby mits on our prize assets? They’ll only break them.

ATB. RPC Anyway, the HBO argument is a Red Herring. If the BBC went down the HBO vibrations 5


Brudenell Sociable Club Bands may play great gigs, but they don’t make great gigs; audiences do. So argues Sam Saunders Who cares who makes the music? Who cares where it’s played or what medium brings it to your ears? What difference does it make if no one else is listening? If it’s good music, that’s all that matters. Surely these are self evident truths? Am I not parading the obvious? Actually, no. And to be honest, I am not.

Robinson. You take a chance on ringing a couple of venues in Birmingham and Nottingham and Bristol to see if you can put a small tour together. Eventually you get a promoter from Bristol to answer the phone. He’s fine. He’s OK. He doesn’t tell you to piss off. But eventually he asks a question: “But who in Bristol has heard of you?” He doesn’t ask for a myspace link - he knows it will be fine. He doesn’t want to see pictures or hear your CV. He has seen a million and they are all the same. He’s never heard of you, and he has heard of more bands than anyone in Bristol. So that’s it. No gig.

The big reason is that even for loner geeks like me, music is, fundamentally a social thing. Without a social setting music is just dead noise. Without the social conventions music is incomprehensible.

“Heard of” is the great social divider. “Never head of” is the big killer. These are social categories, not musical ones. Given ten names on a festival bill, none of whom you have seen or listened to, who do you go for? Exactly. You go for the one you have “heard of”. When your Uncle Dave asks you what bands you like you mumble for a bit about “you will never have heard of …” and give up and say “Nirvana” because you know he’s heard of them and you do like them a bit.

Let’s have a look at it from a few angles and see if I’m not right:

Last story:

Imagine being visited by friends or relatives from far away. They like music. They have heard that Leeds has an amazing music scene and they’re ready to be taken to a gig. You absolutely love Chickenhawk and you know they will too. So off you go. Beers, chat, support band, memories. Laughs and teasing. It’s all going well. But half way through Chickenhawk’s first tune you get that unpleasant still feeling of other people’s discomfort. Maybe it’s just a feeling. Maybe it’s OK. They sort of smile. It’s too loud to talk, but as you listen to the mighty roar it starts to sound a bit wrong. Maybe you remember they always liked Take That when they were little. The mood has definitely shifted. Chickenhawk don’t sound how you remember them, they seem more abrasive somehow, their moves look less exciting. The blistering riffs seem noodly. The drumming is a bit aggressive. Your visitors are exchanging expressions that you can’t quite see.

You’re in the Brudenell. No one else wanted to go to see Icy Demons, but you loved their CD and you’re there on your own. They are as good as you had hoped. There’s a ton of musicianship to listen to and you’re totally absorbed. But there’s a loud bastard near you shouting in his mate’s ear. It’s a bit annoying. He isn’t stopping for breath. And you notice he isn’t the only one. And then you notice that you are the only one not in a conversation. The whole room is full of people pretending to listen to the gig, but fully engaged in conversations about last night’s TV. Or something. So it’s all about the people at the gig. It’s not really the band at all. And I haven’t even started on the serious social analysis of genres, acceptance, affinities, in-group/out-group and all the other stuff. Just face it. Music is not just music. It’s a social thing.

Oh dear. This is going wrong isn’t it? Even if they went downstairs to the bar you wouldn’t enjoy listening any more, would you? No you wouldn’t. You suggest popping over the road to the Packhorse where Ellen and the Escapades are playing. Everything starts to get better, you really get into Ms Smith and the band. In fact, the others’ smiles cheer you up so much that you realise how good a band it is. You promise them a copy of the CD and talk about hearing them live on BBC’s Raw Talent. They are impressed. You all get wrecked and go home in a great mood. You get your Dad’s copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours out and phone for a pizza. Another story: You are in a band. You have played half a dozen Leeds gigs and they have been well received. You supported Dinosaur Pile-Up and your Myspace track got played by Tom

“Chickenhawk: Loud” by Tom Martin


rainbow warrior Considering this column is generally meant to be about fighting the good fight in an arty sort of of way, I think I’ve outdone myself this issue to a ridiculous degree says Kate Wellham. The only natural progression from here is trying to bring down Nestle by throwing formaldehyde-filled sharks at it. That is because, in my most recent adventure, I wasn’t just watching protest art, or even making it, I WAS protest art. You may or may not have heard about the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, the empty one. Or at least, it was empty, until Anthony ‘Angel of the North’ Gormley decided it would be a brilliant idea to fill it with 2400 random people whose names were drawn out of a hat, or a computer, or a computerised hat – one an hour, every hour, for a hundred days. The first I heard about this project was the official email doing the rounds at work; ‘come and stand on the Fourth Plinth for an hour to help create a portrait of Britain’ it said. Just stand. Nothing more. Standing can sometimes be a problem for me, and standing still particularly, but I thought I’d stretch my abilities to the limit and enter the draw along with everybody else. But it didn’t take long, from the first person taking to the Plinth, for the project to change from something I didn’t really mind doing into something I have nightmares about. And by the time Wombles, one man bands and dancing queens had transformed the Plinth from ‘a portrait of Britain’ to ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ it was far too late for me to back out of it without feeling like I’d be wasting a valuable opportunity. I’m not a performer, I don’t have an act, and there’s very little in my personal skillset that could be made into a stage show of any kind, despite having the wardrobe of a stripper clown. So I decided to spend the hour doing something as Rainbow Warriorish as possible, even though it wouldn’t be much to look at.

protested, voted, turned up to hug it, started campaigns, formed groups and produced a newspaper, but the Council are as intent on knocking it down as they would be if they were getting back-handers for the land or something crazy like that. At first, I just wanted them to turn it into a venue, that was my only preference, but now I’m so shocked at the dodgy handling of so many people’s feelings, so much money, and such a supposedly democratic process that I honestly don’t care what they put in it as long as they save it. And the building they want to replace it with – some soulless glass brick that will make the place look like Manchester – will look stupid next to the Alhambra theatre, which was built to fit in with the Odeon in the first place. The same thing happened to the city in the 60s, which is why where Leeds has a lovely old market, Bradford has a massive dirty grey concrete monster called The Kirkgate Centre. You’d think they’d have learned, but in the same summer we become UNESCO’s International City of Film, we’re fighting to save a beautiful old cinema that was bought with public money, that we technically own, that is one of the only unique historial buildings we’ve still got that has any character at all. I love Bradford, but I hate Bradford Council, and if the most recent planning application to knock the building down goes through, there’ll be some interesting scenes in the city centre that will be well worth watching, and some fun to be had until the very last second.

The Alhambra and The Odeon

What I did, in the end, would have been a pretty decent amount of work for an hour in the office, let alone an hour on top of a rock in the middle of London. I wrote a column for Tin Can (*ahem* www.tincan.tv) about Bradford Council trying to demolish the Odeon building. It’s called Open Letter to the Muppet Show, and it’s the first time I’ve ever sworn at an entire public body in one go. I’d recommend it, it’s therapeutic. The reason I wanted to do this, long story short, is that the Odeon cinema – previously a Victorian dance hall – has been under threat since the Council first asked us what we wanted to do with it in the grand redevelopment plan. Yes, that would be the same redevelopment that’s left a hole in the city centre for five years so far with no sign of anything actually being built, and the same thing that sparked the undercover graffiti protest I wrote about in one of the previous issues. We said we wanted to keep the Odeon, and we’ve been saying that ever since we were first consulted; we’ve vibrations 8


If you’re new to Leeds and you love music, be warned. 700,000+ people forming a diverse cultural mix around a major transport hub certainly provides the conditions for some great art, but as a university city with an economy dependent on the splurging of student loans this art isn’t always clearly visible. It’s easy to let the slew of crass, overbearing advertising unleashed in your general direction blind you to the hidden treasures which lie just a little way off the beaten track. That, in essence, is why this magazine exists. For the most part, making music doesn’t equate to making money – and unless it makes money the mainstream media isn’t likely to be interested. Making money also doesn’t equate to being any good. This is why Leeds is a great city to live in: there are lots of people here who create and put on brilliant music purely for the love of it, with little or no commercial incentive. Vibrations aims to give these people the credit they deserve and draw your attention to what they’re doing – so, whatever you’re into, you can be a part of it too. This is very important. Even scenes as vibrant and diverse as those which exist in and around Leeds hinge on interaction, on passionate and like-minded people coming to the gigs and the club nights, putting on/forming/joining the acts, spinning the records and (dare we say it?) picking up the ‘zines. It’s easy to get involved, in whatever capacity suits, with music which is often so fantastically, heroically un-

commercial that you’d probably never encounter it any other way. That said, here at Vibrations, we’re as open to the wilfully mainstream as we are the obstinately esoteric. Our only criterion is that it is put together by passionate, inspired people who care ardently about their art. Oh, and they need to be really good too. We should probably mention that… Here, ten Vibrations writers take you through their particular area of interest and flag some names and places you might not have come across yet. Whether you’re new to the city, or a died-in-the-wool Leodian, hopefully you’ll find something to investigate further. Rob Paul Chapman on Pop Leeds isn’t all about indie guitar bands. However it is mostly about indie guitar bands. But, the times, they might be a changin’. The catalyst (not that one) seems to have been the previously unspectacular Victoria Dead Disco of Leeds going blond and executing a perfect Kill Bill-style roundhouse on Matthew Kelly’s doors of pop reinvention, emerging as the industry’s belle du jour Little Boots. Hopefully the mega-units will follow to catch up with the substantially inferior La Roux Chief among the up-and-comings are Daft Punk-loving, 80s electro embracing Heads We Dance; whose irresistible rise around the

world, including a recent #1 on The Hype Machine, makes their relative anonymity in their home town the more perplexing. Remember heartbroken, chart-hugging, T2-collaberting Jodie Aysha? If not, you shortly will do. HWD’s Pete and Yoni look set to deliver a jump-start after a couple of years in the wilderness (a lifetime in pop). Elsewhere, Delorean Drivers look a fair outside bet. An ambitious (if small) indie label, combined with some truly exhilarating pop music and a killer live show that verges on spiritual communion (Polyphonic Spree meet Scissor Sisters, but with all the annoying bits of the latter removed). And for pure escapist joy, the sax-tastic Dexyisms of The Resplendents remain an unbridled pleasure.

Tom Bailey on Indie Leeds may be better known historically for its rockorientated scene, but rest assured there’s plenty to satisfy all your indie needs. Whilst in terms of live music you really will be spoilt for choice with The Cockpit, Leeds Met, Leeds Refectory and the O2 Academy attracting the hottest signed acts, those looking for a truly independent and individual experience should check out Brudenell Social Club; a venue full of character and charm that regularly showcases upcoming talent before the masses get in on the action. Equally worthy of a look is the Faversham; a restaurant, live venue, bar and club all rolled into one. It’s hosted just about everyone

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from Animal Collective to Arctic Monkeys, The Cribs to Crystal Castles. You get the idea.

more hungry, hard working rock outfits regularly packing out venues (or not) across the city.

parties in Leeds. To give you a taste of what’s going down; let me show you where I’ll be spending my coins.

Those looking for the definitive indie club night should try Brighton Beach. Held on the second Saturday of every month in the Leeds University Union building, the night mixes 60’s indie and soul with contemporary hits. And for anyone with a bit of a Sci-Fi / B-Movie leaning, (there’s no need to be ashamed) head over to FAB Cafe for drinks, music and as much memorabilia as your giddy little hearts can handle.

If you want to check out a decent live band, the opening of the Academy has filled the void left by the Town and Country club, so Leeds once more boasts venues to suit most crowd sizes. And who wants to go to an Arena anyway?

First stop, be sure to catch Bad Sneakers every Saturday at The Faversham. Tucked away near the University, they have welcomed the likes of DJ Mehdi, Simian Mobile Disco, Goose and many more. This cutting edge night is set to bring you anything from Electro to Dubs, so get there early for a Night of wobbly beelines and fancy frolics.

Pick of the rest are the Irish Centre on York Road, the Cockpit under the railway arches in the city centre, Brudenell Social in Hyde Park, Joseph’s Well next to the infirmary and the Faversham near Leeds University.

Rob Wright on Post-RocK I’ll confess I have a bit of a weakness for post-rock bands, me being in my late thirties and into all that slow, moody stuff (post-rock – goth for the over thirties) and fortunately Leeds is fairly rich when it comes to the old climax rock.

Mike Price on Rock Leeds has arguably overtaken Manchester as the North’s premier rock city. With Oasis having now shuffled off, most Mancunians, when not looking enviously over the Pennines towards Leeds’ thriving music scene, are now hedging their bets to see who will reform first, the Smiths or the Stone Roses. With the Kaiser Chiefs blazing the Leodensian trail, you’d think there would be wall to wall indie soundalikes dominating the city’s live music scene. Not a bit of it. A little digging will unearth such gems such as the bluesy growl of the Old Romantic Killer Band, the insanely psychedelic prog of Elephants on Acid, the slightly scarier Pulled Apart By Horses, plus plenty

iLiKETRAiNS are one of the most exceptional PR bands in Leeds, nay the country, with their sombre yet occasionally uplifting historical epics, so check them out. Vessels, five extremely talented young men, are Leeds’ answer to 65DOS but so much more. Her Name Is Calla... though late of Leicester do spend a lot of their time in Leeds and are capable of some of the most beautiful and terrifying songs you’re likely to hear in a long time. These Monsters have got really good of late and are definitely ones to watch. Finally go and see Humanfly. Though not post-rock per se, their prog metal grind does have a lot in common with PR.

Liam Ivory on Dance From the spanking new students to the erudite cats that are more than familiar with this city, we all know that there is no shortage of

Following their recent sabbatical, Analog are returning with their monthly night at Mine Club. With Top-shelf acts lined-up, be sure you don’t miss local Leeds boys Youth Attack! After bursting onto the scene just last year with their remix of Shadow Dancer, they have since produced a solid collection of remixes and are definitely ones to watch in and around Leeds. Also returning from their summer break, we welcome back Wax:On. Who as per bloody usual, have an absolutely sick line up planned for the rest of this year. Still hosted at Stylus, you’re likely to see names like; Plastician, Hervé, Fake Blood and Radio 1’s Annie Mac.

Justin Myers on Hip-Hop Lyrically Justified is an open mic night hosted at Leeds Metropolitan University, Beckett's Park campus. Expect to find artists from all walks of life including some of the freshest – and best – Mc's currently on the scene. Resident MC Ill-literate, definitely being one to watch. Lyrically justified is held the first Friday of every month in the Beckett's Park SU bar for £4. If you find yourself short on cash however, you can also catch the same club night in Carpe Diem, Monday nights, 8pm onwards absolutely free! For the more hardcore fans, New Bohemia, hosted at the Faversham is one of the UK's most revered Hip Hop nights, hotly tipped by the likes of Roots Manuva, Mr Scruff and The Guardian Guide. The club night is every Friday kicking off at ten o'clock, with resident DJ's such as kidkanevil, Gilla and Andy H.

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Other local artists to look out for include rising stars Asher Don, Jay and D.Bizzy.

Patrick Gunn on Metal We may still be waiting for a metal band from Leeds to follow in the steps of bands like the Kaiser Chiefs and the Pigeon Detectives to mainstream success, but the scene itself in Leeds is alive and well. There are so many different genres of metal that picking bands to watch is a hard task, but for those partial to outand-out death metal, you can’t fail with The Torture Of Comacine, who have been kicking around the area for years now. The hardcore genre has seen a sudden influx of bands, including the fast rising A Last Concern who already have gigs with Ghost Of A Thousand and Deaf Havana under their belts and have built up a reputation for highoctane live shows. While on the softer, more poppy side of things, the newly formed Up All Night have made a fast dash to the top of the pile, gaining gigs with Paige and Dissolved In.

international and home grown jazz to the city for exactly 25 years, and Leeds College of Music (LCM) who have produced a steady stream of the jazz stars, as well as regularly putting on concerts by some of the biggest names in international jazz. Further afield, intrepid jazz fans can check out established jazz clubs in Wakefield and at the Puzzle Hall Inn just outside Halifax, the kind of clubs that provide the backbone for the live British jazz scene.

partnership with Irish Arts Foundation in the run up to the famous Leeds Gathering which starts on November 6th.

Leeds is also fortunate to have the Leeds Improvised Music Association (LIMA). Started by a mixture of LCM students, alumni and experienced local musicians, LIMA not only puts on some incredible gigs but has acted as a kind of musical glue binding together elements from the jazz, noise and even the local indie rock scenes to the general benefit of all of them. LIMA gigs can feature hard core free improvisation, or vibrant modern jazz, or howling rock based noise, sometimes all on the same bill! Richard Ormrod’s regular Unpopular Music nights at The Packhorse provide the raw material that helps improvised music live and breathe.

Greg Elliott on Ambient & Electronica

Sam Saunders on Folk

Steve Walsh on Jazz & Improvisation

Leeds' legendary Grove Folk Club presents the real thing every Friday, in the same pub in Holbeck where it opened 47 years ago. Martin Carthy, Britain's finest singer for 40 years plays there on November 27th. As usual in folk clubs, floor singers will contribute their own songs and everyone joins in with choruses. Older still, The Topic Folk Club meets at Bradford's Irish Club on Thursdays.

Like most types of music in Leeds, you don‘t have to dig too far below the surface to find great jazz. There are two main outlets – promoters Leeds Jazz have been bringing the best in

Wednesday has a lively folk music session at The Chemic in Woodhouse. Otley (home of the annual Black Sheep Folk Festival in September) has another well-established club in the back room of Korks, also on Wednesdays. Irish music is strong in Leeds, too. This Autumn is the 40th Anniversary of Leeds CCE (Irish Musicians Association) who organise lessons and sessions. They have a public performance as part of Leeds Light Night on October 9th, in

Despite the lack of commercial success the scene has had over the past few years, Leeds Metal is being kept alive by the sheer drive of its bands and promoters. None more so than at Rios, which features gigs from Confide to Devildriver this year, including the annual Ghostfest which brings together the cream of underground Metal from around the country.

To find out about visits by folk celebrities like June Tabor, John Renbourn or Kate Rusby check listings for Leeds City Varieties, The Howard Assembly Rooms, The Irish Centre, The Venue, Korks in Otley and The West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Whether you’re interested in live performance or are looking to cut some rug, aficionados of electronic music are well-catered for in Leeds. In addition to the largebudgeted and highly visible events organised by the likes of Wax:On in such cavernous spaces as Victoria Works and Stylus, the city is also home to a growing number of independent outfits who more than know what they’re doing. System, Asylum, Technique, Subdub, Exodus, Back to Basics and Louche – to name but a few – organise regular nights in tucked-away spots including MyHouse on Brick Street, Mint Club just off New Briggate and the West Indian Centre in Chapeltown. Resident DJs and renowned guest artists play a vibrant mixture of house, techno, dub and every conceivable subgenre in between. The line between the ‘club circuit’ and the ‘live circuit’ is also increasingly blurred, with forward-thinking promoters such as Room 237 making room for leftfield live acts in both. Those with an ear for music less suited to the frenzied atmosphere of the club meanwhile, or who want to take in a show in a more convivial atmosphere, will find themselves in safe hands at gigs organised by Forest of Sound.

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Leeds Festival 2009

BBC Introducing Stage @ Leeds Festival 2009

lack of big group revelry in the Guest Area.

This fifth year of a dedicated emerging talent stage at Leeds felt like a coming of age. It seems to have turned from the joys of excitement and hope into something less innocent and more world-weary. Since Alan Raw’s beginning in 2005, the strong regional focus has broadened beyond anyone’s expectations. In the process, a BBC panel has taken over from the local enthusiasts. The stage is now the BBC Introducing Stage, with only five of the 34 artists chosen locally from entrants in the Leeds Futuresound Competition - all the others appearing by the good grace of that mysterious panel, described by Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt as “DJs such as Steve Lamacq, the head of music for Radio 1 and Radio 2 and some external people.”

However, with less scope for local idiosyncrasy, the quality in 2009 was at least less patchy - only a couple of bands seemed to have the startled look and sound of people caught in the wrong place. The fact that some had been selected via the BBC Introducing Uploader (“Send your mp3s, and we’ll put you on a stage!”) might explain one lapse. The Teeth’s light gold jackets, looking like a last minute uniform choice pulled over everydaybloke casual clothes, turned them into a bunch of teachers doing a “pop concert” for school assembly.

One thing I really missed from earlier years was the visible comradeship among the bands. Maybe it all happened in Reading on Saturday? In earlier years I have always seen plenty of bands in the audience watching each other - this year the Leeds sightings were fewer. Maybe that is part of the growing up, and so too the

The music itself? I don’t think there are many people who have been in the audience for all 150+ turns since the first opening by The Adventures of Loki in 2005. As one of those who has, I would rate this year’s Leeds cohort as outstanding - exploring new ideas where the national contingent (with exceptions like Everything Everything and the preposterously good Punch and the Apostels) seem more inclined to explore reconstituted pop and roll from the dying embers of their own recent pop favourites.

Photography by Bart Pettman. Additional photography Sam Saunders and Tom Martin

The first local heroes on stage were Wonderswan. They seem to be a band in progress with the Stephen Malkmus thumbprint still clearly impressed in their sound. It’s a great starting point, but the melodic patterns are so distinctive that they can distract attention from the well-made songs in which they are so well lodged. There’s a parallel with Dinosaur Pile-Up who didn’t convince me 100% last year, but whose opening set on the NME/Radio 1 stage this year was a magnificent blast of guitarish excitement with a huge and enthusiastic crowd. Chickenhawk made great noisy mathy rock, which is no surprise. But they do it so well that there’s no point stopping for a long time yet. They write ironclad riffs and perform with a crisply bludgeoning roar. Entertainment, shock, awe and genuine excitement. Go Chickenhawk! Ellen and the Escapades were perfect for the stage: the mid afternoon warmth and an adoring crowd gave them a great reception. Ellen’s nervousness, compounded (contributing to?) tuning problems had me a bit worried. The crowd, happily, saw it the other way, and fell even more in love. Ellen Smith vibrations 14


has a distinctive, attractive voice, and her songs have strength and longevity. The country music settings work very well, the frisky hoedown a bit less so. On Saturday, The Old Romantic Killer Band made it utterly clear what they are all about: Texas chainsaw blues guitar/drums/vox with no frills. Greg Holland plays the drums and Harry Johns plays soul tearing guitar while singing like a big old hound and looking like a pharmacist on holiday. It’s ecstasy for the faithful, bewilderment for the sluggish. Saturday was a lonely day. By Sunday the Stage is hungry for more Leeds. Kinch are my surprise hit of the weekend. They are a young band playing spontaneously great chorus-laden pop songs with tunes, confidence and a great set of mums in the audience. They are genuinely commercial and truly enjoyable at the same time. Milk White White Teeth follow them with a full stage and lots of well balanced voices. They haven’t quite got all the instrumentalists up to the standard needed for this kind of ambition – but the promise is very exciting and the songs are just perfect.

corner of effortlessly good songs, played with understated glee (and lots of vocal harmony) The stage looks gorgeous, with peacock feathers and a Pre-Raphaelite shimmer of vivid colour. They make me so happy I’m nearly in tears. I think it’s the rich guitar sounds that do it for me. Among the interlopers from the wider world, Punch and the Apostles are as mad as The Scaramanga Six and Loqui put together. They are also very clever and very entertaining. The Neat have grown into a good minor band with surly growling and authentic songs. Minnaars do a fine job of exciting noise and cleverness, Everything Everything sweep all before them with their delectably complex emotional songs and precise musicianship. Lovvers leave us with a sour taste. Topping Sunday’s bill, Shaun Hencher sneers unconvincingly and the band play weak material with no conviction. I leave them to it.

Middleman, who had already bounced the Festival Republic Stage into happy submission at midday dashed across to cover Plugs’s 2.45 slot (stuck in traffic) and played their third blinder in three years. Bear Driver caught the early evening off guard, and cuddled it into a blissful

So, thank God for Pulled Apart By Horses who close my Festival, a little later, on the Alternative Stage as part of the Transgressive DJ’s set. They absolutely explode, in a rush of mayhem that scares the pants off the stage manager (and me). Blood, smoke and madness pour out – providing catharsis for anyone’s inner rage. Faith is restored and the journey home is a happy one. Sam Saunders

Vibrations’ Reviews Editor Rob Wright chatted to some of those involved in this year’s festival Nick Lane-Fox Owner of Bramham Park Why did you decide to offer your home as a venue for a rock festival? I wish that I could say that it was due to my life-long love of contemporary music, but that would be a lie! When they were having problems at their previous venue, the Leeds Festival organizers, Festival Republic (then called Mean Fiddler), approached us. They were offering us a much better return than we could earn from just farming our land and it would allow us to undertake the restoration of lots of elements of the historic landscape here at Bramham. Who have been your festival faves over the last seven years? I loved the White Stripes – Meg White projected such sex-appeal on the drums and I just wish I could play a guitar like Jack White. My children took me to see Paramour, the year before last, who were good. Another memorable set was Reverend and the Makers – I really like their music. For how long do Festival Republic take over the place? Officially it is for 4 weeks before and vibrations 15


2 weeks after the Festival. In practice they usually start putting up the lighting telegraph poles and laying track-way before that and (depending on the weather) the tidying-up and repairs to the ground often take longer. What do you like best and least about Leeds Festival? Best: the amazing atmosphere walking round the campsites. The fact that the Festival has put Leeds and Bramham on the music map. What has been achieved to improve the lives of people in the two neighbouring villages through charitable donations from the Festival. The work we have been able to do to improve Bramham Park, through the funds from the Festival. Worst: the rubbish on Monday morning and the fact that the Festival is all over for another year. What advice would you give to anyone considering hosting their own outdoor festival? Make sure that you’ve got enough room (our site now covers about 600 acres). Make sure that you’ve got understanding (or just music-mad) neighbours. Get a larger address book for all the friends you haven’t seen for 20 years but suddenly want a guest pass. Be prepared to do a lot of clearing up. Make sure you enjoy the Festival yourself!

Milk White White Teeth How did you get on the bill? We got on the bill through the Futuresound competition. We were happy just to play at the cockpit but to get this as well is the icing on the cake. What are you looking forward to most about Leeds? Playing in sunlight, making new friends. Its going to be good playing on a stage that can actually fit us all on. And obviously playing in front of a big crowd, fingers crossed! Who are you looking forward to seeing yourself? Eagles of Death Metal, Passion Pit, Rival Schools, Lightspeed Champion, Bear Driver. Leftover Crack. What are you taking to the festival? Wet wipes, trainers, and a Casio F-91W watch with a light. Smiles, BAGs (Boyfriends, acquaintances, girlfriends) and Dave. Everywhere we

go we always take the weather with us. What are you going to say first when you get on stage? Hello, we’re the Kings of Leon.

Leeds Festival 2009 Thursday Bear Hands start contentiously with Dylan Rau advocating widespread ecstasy usage and follow it up with some crunchy openings in an At The Drive In style. Unfortunately after this strong start, songs tail off. More stamina required.

65daysofstatic and Prodigy are both superb examples of rock and rave becoming one and the same, but I am off to see a band in the process of coming apart. In the meantime, Glasvegas surprise me with their ability to be anthemic and striking and almost living up to the hype. Gossip however are late, cut short and more about agenda than the music, which is a shame because there are some good tunes in there. Rob Wright

Wild Beasts however deliver on all levels. Singing duties are divided between Haydn and bassist Tom Fleming, creating light and shade over a barrage of bass and beats. In response, the crowd move like a tsunami for ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’. A real sea change. Blood Red Shoes are interesting to look at and okay to listen to – Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell make a neat little pocket Sky Larkin. Bad sound makes them less than compelling, but otherwise it’s a good start. Rob Wright

Friday Opening the proceedings and keeping it local, Dinosaur Pile Up load up the riffs and let loose, nineties style. Hardly original, but a lively start. Until you see Pulled Apart By Horses. Wearing dayglo capes and crippled by appalling sound they lumber belligerently into a set that is pure anarchic fun. Only quieter. Eagles of Death Metal don’t really grab me, I’m too excited about Patrick Wolf and boy is he on good form. Dressed like Jerry Cornelius in full hermaphrodite mode he charms the crowd, prancing and crackling with sexual energy. Bloody amazing. Secret gigs are fast becoming the essence of Leeds Festival. Today it is the turn for Them Crooked Vultures. With Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones (plus Spinnerettes Alain Johannes) this is the super group of super groups and a spectacular, beautiful experience. The defining moment of the weekend.

Saturday Lethal Bizzle had just the right amount of searing egotism and energetic performance to work the crowd successfully; an entire tent of hungover festival-goers bumping at just past lunch time is worth an accolade of some kind. Great use of audience participation made the sometimes repetitive set into a decent bop. An enthusiastic warm up for the rest of the day’s events. A magical set from Passion Pit. Michael Angelakos’ light, sparkly vocals pushed the band’s slowly climactic routine step-by-step, leading into epic songs such as ‘I’ve Got Your Number’. The tight harmonies from the EP ‘Chunk of Change’ were maintained throughout, despite the languid crescendo of the set. A demonstration of how to sustain crowd interest without the need for ostentatious stage antics. Although not a fan of Crystal Castles’ records, their live set exceeded expectations. Alice Glass was a force to be reckoned with, storming and writhing about the stage like a woman

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possessed; Sylvia Plath’s raging digital baby. The set was strong, powerful and incredibly forceful. Listening to the entire thing was hard work, but their sex appeal and aggressive performance ensured they were a highlight of the festival. Eleanor Snare Master Shortie wins ironic performance of the weekend by a) getting a predominantly white male audience to sing ‘dance like a white boy,’ b) using a sample from ‘Prince Charming’ and c) having someone’s dad on guitar. Fun though. Titus Andronicus are a lot better live than recorded, being more folk-punk and led by a trampy Patrick Stickles, complete with Special Brew. Then I am chilled to the core by The XX, aliens from South West London mixing the Beloved with Black Box Recorder and Jesus & Mary Chain. Cold but compelling. Finally I am warmed by the bouncy indie pop Joy Formidable – a nice little revelatory threesome from the Festival Republic stage.

Sunday The Plight are old school metal complete with shorts and growls – this is hardcore, West Yorks style but Brazilian in ferocity. Make me proud, as do Middleman, comeback kids in sportswear, still making songs to bounce to and smarter than they look.

Little Boots; loath to say it, but she’s a lot more fun than I thought she’d be. More accessible than Goldfrapp, futuristic rather than retro and she gets her brother on stage for his Birthday. Bless. Faris Badwan stalks the stage like a bad dream and The Horrors make the most of their sepulchral new material, bringing the night to this corner of West Yorkshire. I need a bit of a sit down, so I let The Big Pink lull me to sleep with their Spiritualised bothering shoegaze. Waking, I wander aimlessly until Friendly Fires rouse me to dance. Their electro-carnival theme is still infectious, but it’s almost a carbon copy of last year’s show with better sound. Faith No More; their being together on one stage at the same time is a miracle worthy of canonisation. Mike is evil personified and even cut short they are nothing short of... awesome. I feel young again. Rob Wright

Metronomy, the feeling man’s Kraftwerk, have Ood globes on their chest and make lovely noises. Grammatics have rubbish sound but an audience so up for it that even Rory looks pleased. Even on half-power they slay. They have every right to look pleased.

MSTRKRFT do beats and noise and little else whilst Radiohead do the lot – lights, anthems, crowd pleasers. Mainly they do lots of Kid A and Amnesiac which sends me off in paroxysms of joy. Thanks Thom. Rob Wright vibrations 17


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Join the good fight Long-term readers (and by that we don’t mean those who are still with us having waded through the first few pages), may remember that last year we put together the first “Fight Before Christmas” – our end of year list of the stuff we had particularly enjoyed in the past 12 months. Now, as you’ve probably noticed, we are not Q Magazine. So “lists” are not exactly our comfort zone. As fun as it might be to compile The 100 Best Haircut And Skinny Jeans Combos In Leeds Music or The 50 Most Fanciable Drummers In The Bradford Metropolitan District, it’s just not really us. And frankly, we like to think our readership has a mite more sophistication than that. Don’t get us wrong, you regularly disappoint us beyond all previously considered levels when we actually meet you in person, but that doesn’t stop us liking to think our readership has a mite more sophistication than that. Anyway, The Fight Before Christmas was basically our favourite albums as submitted by the team here at Vibrations, whittled down to the best 20, and then argued over by 6 members of the editorial team at Vibrations Towers over large amounts of wine, beer, crisps and in Sam’s case fruit juice, until we had a far-from-definitive list of our favourite albums by local artists in order.

Last Year’s Top 10: Plastic Fuzz Dots Wild Beasts Limbo Panto Duels The Barbarians Move In Eureka Machines Do Or Die Ben Wetherill Laura Cowtown Pie-Cone Express Forward Russia Life Processes The Lodger Life Is Sweet Breaking The Illusion Mixed Messages Vessles White Fields And Open Devices

All we ask is the following: 1) The act must be currently based in West Yorkshire, i.e. residing in addresses with either an LS, BD, HD, WF or HX postcode. In the event that the band members are divided amongst various places, at least half of the band members must currently reside as above 2) It must be a full album (i.e. over 25 minutes long) 3) It must have been (or be) ostensibly “released” between 1st November 2008 and 31st October 2009 4) You must, if requested, be able to provide a copy or link so that we can hear it if we don’t have a copy at Vibrations Towers. If you would like to nominate something for inclusion, drop us an email to themag@vibrations.org.uk and put “Fight Before Christmas” in the subject header. In addition, we are putting one of the places on the panel up for grabs to anyone who submits a nomination. We will select at random one “lucky” reader who submits their nomination regardless of whether this nomination makes the final shortlist. You will need to be able to get to Vibrations Towers (at a secret location on the edges of West Yorkshire) on a (probably Friday) evening some time in early November and have listened to the shortlist – which we will make available for you – in advance. If you do not wish to be considered for this “prize” please title your email in the subject heading “Fight Before Christmas Nomination Only”. The Fight Before Christmas 2009 will appear in the December issue of the mag and if we can manage it, may well be out in podcast format as well. So dig out the local records you’ve heard this year, give them another spin, and let us know the ones we should be considering. We look forward to hearing from you, and quite possibly hearing you as well. Rob Paul Chapman, Editor

Next issue, we shall be returning with the second annual Fight Before Christmas, but rather than throw it together ad-hoc, we thought we would attempt to apply some kind of democratic process (well, to an extent anyway). For that, we need your input. So please tell us which albums have worked for you this year. It might be something we have reviewed, it might be something we’ve completely missed. We have no problem at all in you nominating your own record. Similarly, if it’s a record that has nothing to do with you, but you just feel very passionate about it and want to see it given a bit of page space, then let us know as well.

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Concur The Nation

With songs about genetic engineering, impending nuclear apocalypse and motorway planning, it’s clear that I Concur are not your average alt-rock band. Now, with an acclaimed debut album under their belts, festival appearances, a Maida Vale session and the ear of Huw Stephens, the band have achieved a heck of a lot in just three years. “I think we managed to offend one of The Wombats” they tell Spencer Bayles. That’ll do for us..

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If you’ve ever driven across the Pennines from Leeds to Manchester or vice versa, you’ll have no doubt noticed the solitary farm that splits the M62 halfway along. Popular urban legend suggests the landowner refused to move when the road was being constructed, leading the motorway’s planners to build around it. “It’s a myth,” says Tim Hann, singer and primary songwriter in the Leeds alt-rock band I Concur, “but I wondered what it would’ve been like to be the guy in that house at the time, when you could see the road coming through the mountainside, creeping up on you. It’s also about playing mind games with the road builders, refusing to leave the house – ‘What are you going to do? Go through or build around us?’” The song in question, ‘Build Around Me’, is just one on the band’s debut album to have its roots in a story that might have passed most people by. See also ‘Decimal Places’, concerning the fraudulent stem-cell experiments carried out in the first half of this decade by researcher Hwang WooSuk, and the epic closer ‘Exits Are Blockades’, about the extinction of the prehistoric crocodile. Not, it must be said, topics often set to music. Then there’s the band’s new single, ‘Sobotka’, the subject matter of which will be familiar to viewers of TV drama The Wire. “It’s so uplifting and inspiring.

I thought, I’ve watched about 72 hours of this, and now I want something else out of it!” laughs Tim. Frank Sobotka is essentially a good guy who makes some bad decisions, “strong but fallible,” as Tim describes him. “Going for a main character was far too obvious, so I went for one that was a little more understated.” ‘Sobotka’, like a lot of the songs on the album, conjures up very vivid visual imagery, and although a video is in production, it unfortunately won’t feature the band re-enacting scenes from the show. So anyone desperate to see Tim’s impression of McNulty will be sorely disappointed... I Concur formed in late 2006, Tim and drummer James Brunger emerging from former band Nikoli, guitarist Chris Woolford having just left LaRusso, and bassist Toby Page being recruited via a small ad. They gelled over a shared love of The National, Wilco, Explosions In The Sky and Low, and make what James describes as “Americana indie shoegazey big noise with harmonies.” While that may be a bit of a mouthful, it’s a pretty accurate summary of the band’s sound. Starting out, their combined previous experiences on the Leeds circuit led to a focus and ambition that lesser new bands sometimes lack; they locked themselves away in a practice

room for five months before playing live, and shortly after released an EP - ‘Whatever It’s Going To Be’ that clearly spelled out their musical game-plan. “We wanted to hit the ground running,” explains Tim, “and to have some momentum in the first eighteen months. Soon after the EP, Brew Records expressed an interest in working with us, released our first single (‘Lucky Jack’), and then another one a few months later (‘Oblige’). It all just fell into place.” In March 2008, a recommendation from the BBC radio show Raw Talent saw the band heading to Maida Vale to record a session for Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. “It was great,” says Tim, “the equipment there is so good, and the engineers are amazing.” James takes great delight in recalling a story about one of the studio’s previous visitors: “We were in the same room where Joss Stone filmed her Flake advert!” Alas, Stone’s people weren’t given access to some of the studio’s resources when filming, so look closely and there’s a suspicious lack of even the basics. “They told us that even though there was a full orchestra, drums etc… there were no microphones.” No such fate awaited I Concur, with ‘Able Archer’ – recorded at the session with those missing mics – receiving its Radio 1 debut soon after.

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The links with Huw Stephens and Raw Talent then led to the band playing at last year’s Leeds and Reading festivals. “They picked us and Pulled Apart By Horses as the two BBC choices, and it was… boozy,” recalls Tim. “We were on at 12 both days, so it was a bit of a struggle!” They had a little trouble initially getting past the security at Reading. “We were saying, ‘You know where Rage Against The Machine park their buses? That’s where we want to put this one,’ and they said no.” And were you mingling with the stars backstage? “I think we managed to offend a guy from The Wombats; James made a remark about shit indie bands, and he managed to phrase it as if he was addressing this guy who was stood next to us.” Single releases and festival slots in the bag, the natural next step was to make the debut album. A decision was made to record it in Bridlington with increasingly in-demand producer James Kenosha. “After we’d heard the work he’d done with Grammatics and This Et Al, he seemed the obvious choice,” says Tim. Studio time was booked for February, by which time London-based label Club AC30 had offered them a deal. The band had initially planned to fund the recording themselves, but the label ended up picking up the tab. How was James Kenosha to work with? “He’s very good at suggesting things and getting it to go the way he wants it to go…” suggests Tim, “… but making you think you’ve come up with the idea,” concludes James with a chuckle. They then describe late night recording sessions where guitarist Chris’s intoxicated attempts at backing

vocals didn’t go quite as planned. “We wanted the other two to get involved with the vocals…” says James, with a smile that suggests it won’t be happening again. The album’s title track ‘Able Archer’ refers to a NATO command post exercise in the early 80s, where heightened nuclear threats led the West to carry out ever more realistic response simulations. Tim explains: “Reagan was throwing his weight around a bit and carried around a briefcase containing codes that could be sent to bases electronically if required. When they started using new codes the Soviets couldn’t interpret, the Soviets mistook it to mean that the exercise was genuine. We were just simulating and they were actually playing it out for real. We came very close to all dying!” The resulting song is one of many breathtaking moments on the album, five minutes of rollercoaster tensionand-release that showcases a side of the band keen to experiment with song structure. The recording captures the power and intensity of what is often a highlight of the live set, topped off with a suitably frantic, impassioned vocal. Less left-field tastes are catered for too, most notably in the shape of ‘Oblige’. Described as “an ode to the futility of being in a band which is slowly breaking apart at the seams”, the song, based around a riff Johnny Marr would sell his granny for, has a chorus at once melodically uplifting yet lyrically bittersweet, sounding almost like a message of hope for its writer: “Have patience, no pressure / All in good time…” Having already proved itself to be a highlight of the EP

and then recorded again for a Brew Records 7”, it appears on the album in its third incarnation. They burst out laughing when I ask how they approached recording the older stuff again with fresh ears. “We didn’t!” says Tim. “Head down, get it done!” continues James. James believes the new versions are certainly superior to previous ones: “Without a shadow of a doubt. Some of the older material got a new lease of life. We said, ‘let’s get the ones we’ve done before recorded first’, thinking it’d be routine, but we got some really nice stuff out of them.” “I looked at the album as documenting a point in time,” says Tim, “representing the first stages of what the band was, so a lot of the older stuff needed to be on there.” There is, however, new material already in development, which Tim describes as sounding like “Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine crossed with us.” The upcoming tour will see some of the new songs rubbing shoulders with tracks from the album. So, having achieved more in three years than a lot of bands achieve in twice that, where do I Concur fit into the current musical climate? “We’re not a pop band,” says James, “and we’re not in it to whore ourselves and make tons of money for about five minutes – we’re in it for the long haul. We just want to enjoy what we’re making and be proud of it, with no compromises.” Their intentions are clear – take a listen and you may well concur.

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no racists we’re Handshakes ...

Despite mistaken identities and confusion with brackets, the Lamacq-endorsed Just Handshakes (We’re British) have one of the fastest rising profiles in Leeds. “There’s no point being all crazy and dancing around because it’s not us” the band with the 5th worst name in the world* tell Rob Wright

Photography by Tom Martin vibrations 24


I have never considered myself threatening. True, I clock in at a reasonable six foot three, but you’d see more impressive muscles at a third-rate seafood restaurant. Nonetheless, Clara and Mike of Leeds’ latest indie pop sensations Just Handshakes (We’re British) look as if they’re about to undergo a thorough investigation by a CIA man who’s just pulled on the latex gloves. Nervously they sip at their green teas, sitting behind the wax-stained table in the Clock Café. I almost feel bad about asking them stuff… Just Handshakes (We’re British) came together at the tail end of 2007 when Clara (vocals), Mike (guitar) and James (drums) met each other at Leeds College of Music. “Not very exciting, really,” says Clara, twisting her hands together nervously, “we were all spread out in different Northern cities before - I’m in Leeds, Mike’s in Manchester, James was in Selby.” “We spent a while with just the three of us, running some early songs and structures and stuff,” says Mike quietly, “I’d say it was odd to start off, like any other band, then we sorta found our theme.” Shortly after that they decided that they needed a bass player, put in an advert and got Edward, late of Sheffield. Though it sounds like a slow, almost lethargic start, the ambition to be in a band had always been a concern. “I think we knew from the beginning that we wanted to do it,” says Mike. Clara nods. “We always wanted to make something. I won’t say we took ourselves too seriously, but we always wanted to do it properly rather than just mess around.” For a moment she fades out. She catches herself and giggles. “Sorry, easily distracted.” It’s devastatingly disarming. Though relatively new to the scene, they got a big break at the beginning of this year when Steve Lamacq picked up their second single, ‘Paper Cranes.’ “It was a surprise,” says Mike, “but obviously when you send stuff out you hope that someone’s gonna get back to you. But we weren’t expecting, you know…” Clara picks it up, Mike having been completely drowned out by the clamour coming from the table behind them. ”That was a really important thing,” she says, “and that went to other things like This Is Fake DIY (The Research’s label) and really helped us get out of Leeds,” she reconsiders her comment, looking uncomfortable, “not that we don’t like Leeds.”

It also put their curious name in the firing line. “The guy from the BBC said he didn’t like the brackets,” says Mike. It appears that everyone has an opinion about the brackets, usually a negative one. “I think it’s because it’s grammatically incorrect,” says Clara, “probably causes more trouble than it’s worth. *Just recently we found ourselves on this blog in America and it listed the twenty worst band names ever, and we were number five or something. We were pretty proud of that. But people get the wrong idea… we’ve been accused of being a BNP band.” Yes, that is probably more trouble than a name is worth but, after all that, whether you like the name or not, you can’t ignore it. Oh, and for all those interested in where the name comes from, it has been adapted from the British farce, ‘No Sex Please, Were British’. No nationalism intended. “We’re not racist, I’d like to clarify that,” says Clara, making the point quite firmly. Getting away from name calling, I decide to broach the subject of Mike and Clara’s obvious timidity as they are looking edgier all the time. “It’s not just an act,” says Mike, “it’s the way we are.” “We’ve always tried to keep the music quite honest,” says Clara, “so there’s no point in going on and being all crazy and dancing around because it’s not us… it’s quite fake. Each of us is different – Ed does all his freaky dancing and that’s him… James and Edward bring a lot of the energy and atmosphere.” Though Clara and Mike themselves are fairly reserved, there is indeed a lot of energy in the music – staccato South African picked-guitar collides with luscious pink bubblegum Jap-pop while the bass and drums do very unexpected things… when you least expect them. “We all have slightly different tastes,” says Mike cryptically. “Although we are big fans of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’,” says Clara smiling mischievously, “We could go on forever, each one of us giving you a massive list of all the different things we like. I think together we all like our Swedish pop like Jens Leckmann… I think we’re all quite openminded. We go to see a lot of music and in Leeds you’re spoiled. There are so many good venues and good bands.” All very well-balanced, and it emerges in the music. Clara has of late taken to playing keyboards (“We like our

old rubbish keyboards that nobody else really appreciates,” says Clara chuckling) giving the whole performance a rounded, complete sound. “When we first started playing we didn’t have any keys at all,” says Mike, “we only had one guitarist, so it’s good if we want to put lead lines or a bit more melody over the top.”

We go to see a lot of music and in Leeds you’re spoiled. There are so many good venues and good bands.” “It‘s also good because [the keyboard] gets a chance to sparkle,” says Clara, “in some bands it’s the vocals at the front and everything else behind, but (with us) everything’s equal – the bass lines, the drums, the guitars – they’re just as important. I think we try and put that on stage as well.” Sparkle? Equal? Melody? It all sounds very nice, very… I mention the ‘T’ word. It doesn’t go down well. Mike doesn’t look comfortable and I feel I’ve blown my role as impervious interrogator. “I’d say we sit on the fence with that one,” he says diplomatically, “I wouldn’t say we’re into that stereotype.” Clara is a bit more vocal. “We’ve got female vocals that are quite sweet and people automatically go ‘Twee’” she says, the colour rising to her cheeks slightly. I think this is as close as I am going to get to seeing her cross. “I guess it’s how you define Twee,” says Mike, “at what point does twee turn into sickly…” “I don’t think Twee is something that we’re trying to be,” says Clara “but it is something that we do have about us.” I feel that disaster has been averted, no thanks to my big mouth… They may not be the ’T’ word, but they are very much part of a new wave of Leeds bands rushing in to fill the spaces left by recent local successes with gleeful gratitude. “I guess we’d like to think that,” says Clara, “There are so many big bands in Leeds at the moment that it’s always a joy to be asked to do a gig with anyone and there are so many great venues and great promoters – it’s an exciting place to be. We were talking on the way here about the Futuresound thing and just look at the bands that were in that. I think that everyone would have been happy if any

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one of them won.” Just Handshakes were kept off the Leeds Festival roster by Milk White White Teeth, but quite frankly they were just happy to be a part of it. By way of incongruous consolation they were asked to support Grammatics vs Blue Roses at A Nation of Shopkeepers recently, though under an assumed name. “This had nothing to do with us,” says Clara, laughing, “it was Ed’s idea. They needed a band last minute and we had our single launch the day after so we didn’t want to publicise that we were doing one before, so the promoter wanted us to give them a fake name.”

“We didn’t want to step on the other promoter’s toes,” adds Mike pragmatically. “Ed said it would be a play on words and only our biggest fans would understand it,” continues Clara. “Once we’d established we didn’t have any big fans we realised our mistake.” Still, one and a half years in and playing secret gigs with some of Leeds’ finest. Not too shabby. The recent single (‘Shipwrecks/Go Go Go’) marks the beginning of a musical campaign for Just Handshakes. They’d just come out of the studio that day having recorded their half of a double A-side with Yonderboy, due for release

on 28th September, with Whiskas. “It’s been really different,” says Mike, “really good.” This is due to be followed by an EP in October, a possible appearance on Dance to the Radio’s end of year 4 x12” and an EP in early 2010. “We’re trying to plan ahead a bit more,” says Clara modestly. Not only but also they are due to tour with the Kabeedies in November.) “It’s all going okay,” says Clara, “hopefully people won’t get too sick of us.” She smiles, then remembers something else. “And we’re definitely not racist.” In case you’d forgotten.

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Tim MetcalfeTM

graphic design web design studio@timmetcalfe.com / 07958 181 589

www.timmetcalfe.com


Rock ps! Trum

Rob Wright draws this month’s short straw to add to your pack

Another four cards to add your collection – you are collecting these, aren’t you? For a moment, you had me there...

Her Name Is Calla

Rock Trum ps!

Leeds/Leicester moribund post-rockers with a taste for the epic. And barbeque. And waistcoats.

Rules: Cards; shuffle; deal; compare; highest score wins; cheer; repeat. Oh, and if one of you is called Rob, you go first. If none of you are called Rob, wait until you can find one, then begin.

Vessels

Rock Trum ps!

Leeds’ cyber post-rockers with a penchant for elaborate stage set ups

I Predict a Riot – 8 Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 7 Hey Scenesters – 3 Potential Futures – 5 Let’s Have A Dance – 4 Commercial Breakdown – 8

I Predict A Riot – 6 Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 6.5 Hey Scenesters! – 6 Potential Futures – 5 Let’s Have a Dance – 6 Commercial Breakdown – 1 I Predict A Riot – 6. Well known for enjoying the occasional soiree, Vessels will be the first men up and the last men standing... if that makes any sense at all. They have toned it down a bit and are currently considering the prospect of another album – so expect the avoidance tactics to get more extreme in the coming months. Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 6.5. To quote: ‘Peter Wright: looks like Skeletor, shags like He-Man.’ They do get bonus points for looking utterly beatific when they play on stage though. Hey Scenesters! – 6. Not quite pop, but by no means wacky, Vessels have a loyal but sensible fan base who are more chilled than crazed. Potential Futures – 5. After last year’s exertions (Bestival and album), this year has been a bit quieter, though they have released a stonking remix album. Working on a new record though... could take a while... Let’s Have a Dance – 6. Plenty of porn face guitar playing, instrument swapping and... well, Peter Wright is always captivating. It’s a wonder they can move at all on stage with so much equipment, so worth a few extra points in anyone’s book.

I Predict a Riot – 8. The picture of good behaviour on stage, ‘Calla become cruel and unusual off it. During their tour with iLiKETRAiNS, they managed to cause their manager to question his sexuality, nigh on broke their guitarist’s hand in the door of their transit, were drunk in playgrounds and got involved with various bizarre personages on the streets of Britain. That, and Tom will barbeque anything. Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 7. Handsome, in a very Russian dissident style. Why Grusha, it is too cold for snow... Hey Scenesters – 3. More marginal than cult, Calla are band of two cities, spread between Leeds and Leicester, so any appearance is welcome by their core of loyal fans. But they don’t wear masks or that sort of thing. Potential Futures – 5. After a well received mini-album, The Heritage, they are now working on a full length album due for release towards the end of the year. If the BBC pick up one of their tunes as a link, they’re made. Let’s Have A Dance – 4. Not the most lively stage performance, but Tom has one of those voices and that kind of stage presence that makes them very watchable despite that. Commercial Breakdown – 8. Long distance relationships are hard to maintain and they have already been on a year long hiatus. It would be tragic if it did occur, but Calla’s existence has the appearance of being very fragile. I could be wrong, though...

Commercial Breakdown – 1. Such dedication, such concentration, such coordination. If one of them went now, the whole thing would fall apart. Which would be very bad. vibrations 28


I Predict a Riot – 7.5. When not drinking the blood of virgin bats, these guys are incredibly affable and accommodating. Paul and Steve Morricone are experts at the subtle art of making friends and influencing people... yet there’s something in their charm that reminds me of the old East End... Whitechapel... the Krays. And Steve is a scary man when riled. Good thing he keeps it under wraps most of the time.

Grammatics

Rock Trum ps!

Four complicated popsters adrift in a sea of busted genres and failing equipment. Beautiful tunes, though.

Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 7. Good-looking, suave, well presented... yes, Julia Arnez more than makes up for the Brothers’ short-fallings. Just kidding lads. Hey Scenesters – 8. The very nature of their subject matter, their promotional videos and their whole persona make them the epitome of cult following. The bizarre are beckoned to their presence. Why I find myself drawn to them... Potential Futures – 4. The ‘Six aren’t exactly TOTP material... but then TOTP is hardly an ongoing concern. One day though... Let’s Have a Dance – 8. One of the last great theatrical bands, they really are ones to watch – former Keyboardist and current Eureka Machine Chris Catalyst once played a song completely oblivious to blood running down his face. Their ‘Applause’ sign may never work, but you can’t help but be drawn in by Steve’s violent bass wielding juxtaposing Paul’s gentle crooning. Commercial Breakdown – 5. Having an almost Tapian drum issue and a fluctuating band roster, things are always a bit shaky with The ‘Six and they do have a huge case of sideprojectitis, but as long as there is the core of Julia, Steve and Paul, there will always be a ‘Six.

Scaramanga Six

Rock Trum ps!

Grand Guignol pronkers extraordinaire.

I Predict a Riot – 7 Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 7 Hey Scenesters! – 4 Potential Futures – 7 Let’s Have a Dance – 3 Commercial Breakdown – 6

I Predict a Riot – 7. Don’t be fooled by these demure popsters – they can misbehave with the best of them. Previously ‘challenging’ to promoters that are perceived to have underperformed, they’ve mellowed out but still enjoy offstage shenanigans with hell raisers Pulled Apart By Horses. Owen is rarely seen on stage without a glass of red, Rory is lethal with a guitar and Emilia insists on a brandy balloon full of brown M & Ms before going on… Okay, that last one is probably made-up. Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 7. Handsome in a very Evelyn Waugh fashion. Hey Scenesters! – 4. Cello and Omnichord make things a bit unusual, but these guys are very pop about it. Potential Futures – 7. Things are looking very bright for the G’s. Their debut album received critical acclaim across the board from the jaded music press, which must have done them some good as Bloc Party booked them to support them on tour strictly on the basis of ‘liking them’. Maybe there’s hope for this industry after all. Let’s Have a Dance – 3. Not ones for antics, unless you count battering amps.

I Predict a Riot – 7.5 Where Did You Get That Horrible Face – 7 Hey Scenesters – 8 Potential Futures – 4 Let’s Have a Dance – 8 Commercial Breakdown – 5

Commercial Breakdown – 6. Quite a high turnover of members (they’ve just lost their drummer to the false god of ‘a proper job’) suggests either a) bad luck or b) a fiery behind-the-scenes relationship. Owen and Rory remain the Grammatic core. Let’s hope they don’t fall out...

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REVIEWS albums Homecut No Freedom Without Sacrifice (First Word Records) Though Leeds is best known for its indie fare, it also has a vibrant hip hop, soul and dance scene led by the likes of Corrine Bailey Rae, Kidkanevil and Stateless. Joining these illustrious alumni is hip hop emcee and producer Testament and his debut album under the recording monica of ‘Homecut’. It is some seriously uplifting stuff. Eschewing the usual path of samples and electronically fattened beats, he takes the path less travelled, putting down some soulful piano, funky bass and toppy beats. Tracks like ‘I Don’t Even Know’ and ‘Not Far To Go’ are more Bristol than Brudenell, bringing to mind the like of Massive Attack and Mr Scruff. It’s the kind of laid back, soul laced jazz that completes a Sunday afternoon in the HiFi. Very smooth indeed. The lyrics are smooth too, selfdeprecating, sincere and spiritual – Testament is a Christian, preaching but not preachy. His words are hopeful though, not damning – even the relatively dark ‘YKTE’ and ‘Night at The Fair’ are brightened by a regretful life lived backwards to innocence and some beautiful gospel harmonies. That doesn’t mean it’s soft – there still some Gil Scott Heron hardness about it but without the accusation. It’s not hindered by the presence of some powerfully-voiced friends including Corrine Bailey Rae – it all adds to the gleam.

and Bright Eyes to name but a few. Thankfully this time though this is not just distasteful name-dropping but is to an extent justified. Let’s get one thing clear though: this 12-track offering is no masterpiece. The production feels far too amateurish. Not bad given it was recorded on a home computer, but it does show. Technical aspects aside, some of the song writing is impressive. ‘Limited Edition’ and ‘You’re What’s Wrong With This Country’ both attack contemporary Britain skilfully, referencing classic Morrissey-esque observational humour, with lines in the former such as “LP, EP, CD, MP3… means nothing to me, Lo Fi, Hi Fi, just play the song.” Elsewhere the more sombre feel of ‘Let The Sleeping Dogs Lie’ hint at the equally melancholic Nick Cave. Aside from these standout tracks, however, the rest feels far too inconsistent and generic. And it’s a real shame, as the aforementioned tracks really do shine. Ultimately, whilst there are some nice ideas here, the best ones are those borrowed from elsewhere. Worth a listen, but nothing to shout about. Tom Bailey

EPs The Lodger I Think I Need You EP

Violet Shrink Violet Shrink Cute name, disappointing demo. At best her voice is like a No Doubt-era Gwen Stefani; at worst, a childish version of the bird from Evanescence; the “sprinkling of angst” from their blurb is more like a dousing, with too much whine and not enough irony; the band is heavy, dull and sometimes sloppy. ‘Ashamed’ lets the vocalist shine through with seductive harmonies and attractive, angry tones, but the band’s predictable intro and rhythm changes pull it down. ‘It’s Not Your Day’ is simply boring, and ‘Unfamiliar’ can be summed up by a neat visual: montage. It’s an American teen movie: he’s lost the girl, how does he get her back? With a montage of ‘hilarious’ scenes set to this perky espousal of depression, with its clichéd heavy drum prominence and upbeat tempo/downbeat lyric combo, that’s how. My advice: ditch the band, sweetheart. Elly Snare

Modeliste Modeliste EP A funky little four-track EP says Modeliste are deviant jazzist plunderers with damaged bass and a very fine loose feel; I don’t think my speakers are that wrecked yet.

It wouldn’t be summer without something new from The Lodger, and true to form the closest Leeds has to its own Belle and Sebastian return with a brilliant EP. Now on the none-more-twee Spanish indie-pop label Elefant, it seems rubbing shoulders with labelmates Camera Obscura and The School has made The Lodger’s brand of lovelorn pop even more perky. The title track There are a few incongruous moments, is one of their best yet - Ben Siddall’s downtrodden voice perfectly suiting like the Brazilian breakdown on ‘Time another tale of love and doubt set to Difference’, but on the whole this is laid back, thoughtful, soulful and good for the a chiming and charming backdrop. Elsewhere, ‘I Can’t Stop’ follows the soul. Amen. blueprint from last year’s Life Is Sweet album, while ‘This Is Good Fortune’ is so Rob Wright wistful it’d make Stuart Murdoch weep into his lemonade.

The four tracks stick to an acid groove and stay rich with expressive intent. I like the bravado and the physical charge. ‘The Drums Are Sex’ stands out. The grunge-over funk on ‘Spangle’ is a treat. The opening bass line on final track ‘Manila’ rushes up from the depths, gulps for air and sets it all dancing. It’s probably the weakest of the four songs, but that’s measured against a high standard, and lots of people might find they prefer its less fractured approach. Mark it as “must check”.

Birdflew The Life & Death Of…

Despite their blurb containing the fated phrase “girls can rock”, ‘The Serious Contenders’ was pleasantly surprising. They claim to “unite…blues guitar with catchy pop music”, which they do with some degree of success. Sam’s voice is well-suited to blues singing, but her voice is often lost under Anna’s excellent guitar, and doesn’t contain enough sex appeal to support the atmosphericallycharged lyrics in ‘My Advice’.

No, not the over-exaggerated national panic of the noughties but the latest effort from Wakefield based songwriter Richie Day. It’s always risky offering your influences as a musician to us all too bitter hacks. In the case of Birdflew, the bar is set ambitiously high with the accompanying press release citing The Smiths, Joy Division, Radiohead

Perhaps not a step forward either stylistically or lyrically, but beautifully produced and, with their typical abundance of melody, you’d have to have a hard heart to really criticise. Spencer Bayles

Sam Saunders

Sam & Anna The Serious Contenders

vibrations 30


‘You Can’t Stop Me’ contains the most interesting instrumentals; a reggae-type hook that crescendos towards the end. There are some aural tit-bits that give intrigue to the tracks, but often come too late for the impatient listener. Could be a Radio 2 favourite with Terry, but their tender age (19 and 17) suggests they need to learn some of life’s harsher lessons to add a bit of grit to their performance. Elly Snare

The Little Darlings Fit For Purpose EP The Little Darlings are a four-piece band who stem from Leeds, Their musical influences are The Cardigans and Mazzy Star, and surprisingly, they have taken this rather familiar style of music and have made it their own. ‘The Heat is in The Flowers’ could easily be the soundtrack for a television drama show such as Teachers - after hearing it a second time, I could not help but hum the very catchy melody. The vocals provided by Jo Nettleton on this EP are simply beautiful, yet haunting - after the record finishes you can still hear Jo’s vocal echoing around your head. This is a must for all of you who have just had exam results, finished degrees or own a copy of The Breakfast Club -This is the sound track to your lives. Enjoy! Puru Misra

A fantastic first effort, well arranged and with a hint of greatness. Puru Misra

SINGLES Blue Roses I Am Leaving (XL)

on swells of synthesiser.

Justin Myers

Greg Elliott

Exit State Bad Days The 39Steps Ghost Writing Having already launched the careers of promising acts such as Wild Beasts and Tigers That Talk, Bad Sneakers Records are on somewhat of a roll. With this release from Leeds’ very own producer and musician DJ Kato a.k.a. The 39Steps expect even bigger things for the future.

This, the second single from debut Coming Clean, ‘Ghost Writing’ offers up four minutes of slick production, thick Influences from home grown U.K acts beats and a delightfully mellow and an such as Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead can easily be recognised on aptly haunting vocal provided by Laura tracks such as ‘W’happen /escape/ hold Fowles. There’s plenty of comparisons to be made with nineties trip hop era, on tightly’. The vocal arrangements are provided by Komla MC, presented in the from Massive Attack through to Sneaker manner of Maxi Jazz of Faithless fame. Pimps. Effortlessly cool.

Sometimes you come across an album and think ‘if only I could hear this live’, and I believe this album is one of those performance records, and to really understand their full potential, Tiger Shadow must be seen as well as heard.

I can hear the energy and the enthusiasm, but on this recording what I’m not hearing the full live assault, and the frequent changes of tack are close to losing the thread. There are reminders of This Et Al and of Wintermute, but with a rough-cut quality.

Sam Saunders The alias of Shipley resident Laura Groves, Blue Roses has spent the last few years forging a distinctive sound The Rosie Taylor Project built on bold, inventive musicianship and Lovers Or Something Like It otherworldly vocal talent. This release (Bad Sneakers Records) highlights the strengths which have lifted her head and shoulders above her ‘Lovers Or Something Like It’ develops quite a charm after the first few listens contemporaries and earned her a spot on the XL roster. with its haunting lyrics and casual bursts of trumpet. It’s very reminiscent of Bright ‘I Am Leaving’ sets gorgeous hooks Eyes, very laid back. The good news and a driving, finger-picked melody is that it gets better and better on every against a rich backdrop of fascinating listen, the bad news is that b-side ‘Sloe instrumentation and looped harmonies, Gin Fizz’ sadly fails to make the same all contained within a delightfully kind of impact. With a slow, drawn out compact song structure. horn at the beginning, it actually sounds quite annoying and from then on the rest By contrast, the previously unreleased of the song never really picks up in the ‘Moments Before Sleep’ has an appropriately languid feel, drifting along same way ‘Lovers’ does.

Tiger Shadow The Rise of The Tiger Shadow

This is not a bad thing if you’re a fan of Faithless. If you don’t like Faithless though, don’t let this be the decision that stops you purchasing this album, as musically Tiger Shadow also have more organic, raw and untamed sound.

while ‘Rio De Janeiro’ races.

Title track “Bad Days” is a decent slice of middle-of-the-road style rock more in tune with Lostprophets than the Foo’s. The only real kick comes in the form of vocalist/guitarist Roy Bright. It’s a good anthem, but I hear nothing new. ‘Saviour’ doesn’t move away from the style of ‘Bad Days’, but ‘Death Of A Rockstar’ is brilliant! This is the kind of song Exit State should be aiming for. It gives the band a much darker feel, but is still catchy. Not a new sound, but the best thing on the CD. Patrick Gunn

The Sugars Gossip EP

Rifle Fire Rifle The Doppler Effect

To begin with, this isn’t really an EP. It’s a track, with three mixes of an older, probably more successful track backing it up. As for Gossip itself, it sounds, well, like a Sugars track. Except a bit less memorable than some of the others.

A restless, punky band; their mileage and gigs to the month ratio are high. ‘The Doppler Effect ‘ is chopped up indie rock with excitement in 4/4 and 3/4 sections. ‘Melodica’ makes a showing and a signature riff sticks in the memory. ‘Born To Exile’ is more single minded,

I am conflicted. I like The Sugars. Or rather, I really like the idea of The Sugars. But the ideas cupboard needs a serious restocking. If Way To My Heart was the fresh sirloin stake cooked half hour after purchase, this is the backof-the-cupboard pasta and tinned tuna.

Tom Bailey

vibrations 31


I refuse to accept that there isn’t better to come from this band. But an injection of creative inspiration seems necessary. Rob Paul Chapman

PREVIEWS

LIVE Messina/Monster Killed By Laser/The Jesse Rose Trip/Just Handshakes (We’re British) @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Zu/That Fucking Tank/ Chickenhawk @ The Library, Leeds 27 September

Eclectic. That’s one word you could use to describe tonight’s bill of fare. Barmy also springs to mind, but in a good way.

Quite incredibly, it really is of secondary importance that fabulously deranged metal screamers Chickenhawk and precision riff monster duo That Fucking Tank are playing at this gig. All you really need to know is that Italian metal/jazz/ skronk/math trio Zu make one of the most astonishing live noises you have ever heard. On paper, sax, bass and drums doesn’t sound like it’s got that much potential for aural mayhem. But saxophonist Luca Mai feeds his baritone sax through a host of effects pedals, Massimo Pupillo plays his bass like a bass, a guitar and a synth and Jacopo Battaglia is punching his laptop when he’s not smacking the polyrhythmic shit out of this drums. This band must be seen to be believed.

Just Handshakes are one of those bands you’ve heard about 8 pages ago hopefully. Of course, being as mighty cute and nice as Clara Patrick et al are could help. Clara does the bashful yet sultry look over her keys whilst singing sweet and high in a Deerhoof style and Michael does some pretty interesting guitar harmonic stuff. Interesting times ahead.

Steve Walsh

Leeds Jazz 25th Anniversary @ 7 Arts, Chapel Allerton, 22-26 October After a concert on 6 October to launch the new season, Leeds Jazz celebrates its 25th year of promoting in Leeds with a five day extravaganza of modern jazz. The line up features double saxophone quartet Outhouse augmented by five Sabar drummers from The Gambia; acoustic improvising trio Speeq augmented by muscular saxophonist Alan Wilkinson; a trio featuring saxophonist Jan Kopinski; a specially convened quintet including pianist Huw Warren, saxophonist Julian Arguelles and guitarist John Parricelli; and at the time of writing one more big name band yet to be announced. The final night is given over to two films examining modern jazz artists. Steve Walsh

Jesse Rose has an ego and a voice as big as her candy-striped shoulder pads. She does sound a bit too Winehouse for comfort, but her Ida Maria rambunctiousness and ear for a tune make her very likeable. Monster Killed By Laser. Horrible. The bass is torturous. It knocks over my beer. My sinuses shake, my legs quiver, my stomach turns. This is ultra music. You don’t enjoy it – you experience it. Messina: imagine Mars Volta minus the riffs plus Carling. To give him his due, Matthew Broadbent is lively and throws himself about gamely, songs are structured loosely but that jangly guitar is so bereft of character. The jury is out, but my current verdict is ‘guilty as hell’. Rob Wright

Humanfly/Solitary Mass/Citadel/Trampled Under Hoof @ The Packhorse, Leeds

Solitary Mass unfortunately experience a mass exodus, but what they lack in audience they make up for in hair and noise. Doomy sludge bass grinds over machine gun snare - this is relentless stuff and I find myself wanting a bit of light. Humanfly look bored when they finally take to the stage and it all looks a bit wobbly... until the core of ‘Another Week In The Theme Park of Death’ erupts. Then comes the new stuff, a huge thrashing bulldozer of chrome. This is the stuff that the gods listen to when they wipe out galaxies. Rob Wright

Kong/Chickenhawk/ Shield Your Eyes/These Monsters @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds Note to promoters: it doesn’t hurt to call the reviewer ‘king’ once in a while. Simon and Brew truly are the best of hosts when it comes to quality music in Leeds… Ahem. Thanks Simon. Tonight, king meets Kong. What a beautiful set up, as are the drums and cabs filling the dance floor. Up close and uncomfortable. I hadn’t seen These Monsters for a while and was bracing myself for dreary postrock indulgence. What a misjudgement. Trimmed down to a neat yet hairy four, the sound is punchier, crunchier and riffy yet melodic. Like a sodomised Muse form. Lee Castrovalva carries the set to a soaring falsetto climax and me to a complete reappraisal. Hats off to Shield Your Eyes’ drummer – he pulls of time changes that involve imaginary numbers. SYE aren’t math, they’re differential, meaning messy and indecipherable. Plus they keep on pausing to tune up and failing to engage.

Kicking the evening off are Trampled Under Hoof. Growls and sludge mix to create a Sepultura on go slow sound. The mix is not perfect, but with sevenstringer solos, crazy time changes and song titles like ‘Omnipotence’, this is serious stuff.

With Matt the drummer playing in the crowd and Paul the vocalist playing to the drummer in a passionate synergy, this is as vicious and intimate as it gets. Blistering speedcore in drop D pummels the crowd into submission as guitarist Robert and bassist Ryan pop up in the Citadel are probably too young to audience to bring the pain. Boys no remember most of the bands they sound more, Chickenhawk are now The Men. like but thrashcore is thrashcore. More Kong are the stuff of nightmares. SOD than Slayer, these guys are three Red outfits, semi transparent masks parts serious and one part whacky. and loud, unpleasant pronk. Magpie Which is a shame because Josh has a good range and leaps around like a frog screams epithets to Jack Daniels before launching into the triple whammy of on a hot plate, but his constant gurning ‘Leather Penny’, ‘Blood of a Dove’ and is unnecessary. Mild restraint required. ‘Whet Your Knives’. After that it does vibrations 32


up ‘Cover Your Tracks’, the temperature drops several degrees and the walls vanish. And then it gets better. Truly, the double falsetto harmony of ‘Coast’ is Just Handshakes have been brought one of the most beautiful things I have in to support at the thirteenth hour ever heard. There is poignant sense and there could not be a more fitting of loss in all this too, with Rory and Rob Wright bunch of Indie-viduals. When Clara Emilia murmuring the words forlornly, performs, it’s like being chatted up by an that plucks at your soul like Owen at his impossibly shy and cute girl, while the Omnichord. ‘Inkjet Lakes’ and ‘Broken boys pump out rhythms and tunes from Wing’ both come over as passionate Grammatics Vs Blue Janpan via Sowetto. Outwardly simple, billet-doux to the Leeds scene, but it is Roses/Just Handshakes but deeply complex. And they say I will the Metro-pleasing (‘a night of covers’) (We’re British) “marry a nice man who looks like a Blue cover of ‘Killing Moon’ that SWALKs @ Nation of Shopkeepers Peter presenter”. Which is good. the whole thing. God, I feel lucky – I’ve No way am I moving. Not for anyone. I just been serenaded by two of the most There is no room left in the space before got here at 7.15 for this seat and I will beautiful voices in Leeds. I hardly notice the stage; the atmosphere is stifling, but not be intimidated into moving. Not by the other 200 infatuees. Laura and Owen both look cool – Owen anyone. for once looking the weary-eyed veteran, Rob Wright Fair to say, Grammatics and Blue Roses Laura the terrified but calm neophyte. But as the pair, accompanied by Rory, fans are hardly terrifying – not like Emilia and new drummer James, strike lose it a bit – It’s loud and aggressive but emptying fast before your eyes. The final act of neatly deconstructing the drums reminds us that this is just a show and these are nice boys after all. Which is quite scary.

Motorhead or NMA fans - but this is a very special night (kudos to Fezz). Very special indeed.

British Wildlife @ The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Leeds-based label and promoter British Wildlife seem to think a Sunday at the beginning of August is a good time to showcase some examples of what’s happening in the world of noisy guitar combos right now. Me, I think it’s an excellent idea. The Tupelov Ghost can’t play because of, would you believe, Swine Flu, and despite being a one man mosh pit, Twisted’s singer keeps complaining about a dreadful sore throat. The rest of the band thump out spritely and zesty punk pop songs and the singer finishes the set slumped behind an amp stack, spent. The night threatens to turn into a music themed episode of Casualty as What Price, Wonderland’s drummer announces after every song that he feels really, really ill. This is probably at least partly due to the fact that the trio play an exhilarating mash up of post-punk, jazz and thrash metal with most songs flashing by at a dizzying and drummer disabling 100mph. Holy State don’t complain of any maladies but then they don’t say much of anything really. The lumbering predictability of their soulless and trudging metal could be the result of blocked sinuses though. Although displaying no signs of illness at all, Uprights nonetheless possess one of the biggest and filthiest bass sounds I’ve heard in a long time. The trio display an understanding of the kind of economic invention practiced by The Fall or Wire with an added undertone of incipient craziness. Guitarist/singer Alex Greenwood hides the evil glint that must surely lurk in his eyes behind a pair of welders goggles. vibrations 33


Since I last saw them, Wonderswan appear to have grown musical balls as big as boulders, a (metaphorical) condition most bands wouldn’t mind catching. Most of them may look like typical indie kid whelps, but the opening instrumental comes on like nothing less than Led Zeppelin crossed with Dinosaur Jr. Thereafter we get an endless stream of effortlessly creative and melodic powerhouse rock. Bloody marvellous. Spin Spin the Dogs are clearly mad, though. While guitar, bass and drums bash out eccentric but expertly played jazz punk, the singer roams freely around the Brudenell spouting improvised as well as written gibberish that’s initially entertaining but quickly palls. Headliners Cowtown (is there anyone in Leeds who hasn’t seen Cowtown?) may be rapidly becoming an institution but they’re still as fresh as smelling salts up the groggy nose of rock and roll. Five out of seven ain’t bad. Steve Walsh

Codes in the Clouds/ Solus Locus/BLBX @ The Packhorse As a stark contrast to the rest of tonight’s proceedings, BLBX kick off this evening of post rock with a mix of processed drums, processed synth and processed samples. The sounds that the duo create are impressive. The only thing that bothers me is that they are completely out of time on a lot of occasions. And standing through 30 minutes of continuous music can also become quite tedious. It’s brilliant to see Solus Locus back and they haven’t changed a bit to be honest, but the progress that they have made as a band was obvious. Guitarist Lewis has fantastic stage presence, throwing, while keyboardist Mike bobs around enough to lose his glasses at one point. But the loss of ocular aids and some minor technological problems aren’t enough to stop the band. SL rip through a set comprising of new material and the old stuff that helped them gain such a following last year. If the samples had worked we wouldn’t have had such a laugh watching them anyway.

biggest rival on the UK scene – Vessels. What they need are some proper vocals, to give the songs an extra kick. It’s nothing against Codes in the Clouds of course, but they need something else to help them stand out. Patrick Gunn

Delorean Drivers/ Belladonna/The Kiara Elles @ Joseph’s Well I know that this is terribly unprofessional, but on occasion, I’m just not in the mood for live music. Perhaps even more unprofessional, I’m telling you. But bear with me. This is the launch night for new indie label Vandal and despite a lot of hype and chatter, The Kiara Elles do little to lighten my mood. Chiara Lucchini has obvious star quality, albeit in a “look at me” Italia Conti type way. All 5 members look improbably well groomed and beautiful. They make perfectly acceptable contemporary indie pop with a Ting Tings leaning that sounds like just about everyone. It’s fine. I decide I don’t like them very much.

MoorFest 2009 Abandoning the rain soaked moors above Addingham for its new location cradled in fields and hills around Skipton, the Moor Music Festival resembles nothing so much as a village fete with drugs. In fact, it’s defiantly non-commercial stance harks back to what you would imagine music festivals were like in the 1970’s. This is such a pleasant change these days that even the sun decided to bless the event. What better way to flush out the fug left by dancing like a loon till the early hours than by letting Monster Killed By Laser pummel your senses back into shape? Since acquiring a vintage Moog player and a, er, bongo player, the band seem to have gone Prog in a big way. The last song featured vocals and was either new or a cover of an obscure Hawkwind ribcage rattler. The organisers were clearly in the mood to keep people awake as wired punk pop trio Japanese Fighting Fish were next up on the Leeds SoundPeople stage. The band are tight and a lot of fun and I bet it’s been a long time since singer Karlost has been so wrung out and red faced before two in the afternoon.

I quickly revise this opinion and crave for their immediate return to the stage approximately half a song into the Belladonnas. If Kiara Elles were a little jarring, this is an entire Tesco aisle of pickles, jams and stir-in sauces worth of jar. I’ve since heard the album, and it’s actually alright. But man alive they are hard work. Determined to take a miserable evening of grumpiness to its logical conclusion I head to the front of what is now a capacity crowd, fold my arms, scowl indiscriminately, and prepare to dislike Delorean Drivers intensely. Five minutes into the set and I am smiling, jumping, singing and proclaiming this the best band I’ve seen all year. And I still think I mean that.

The music they produce is joyous. A heady mix of pop, electro, disco and hands-in-the-air choruses that could charm even… well… me in a really, really bad mood. The band are grinning ear to ear and so are the audience. The first thing that strikes me about This is music as collective experience. Codes in the Clouds is the amount of I have no idea how half the members merch that they’ve brought to the gig. So of Xi have managed to come up with expectations were high. Unfortunately something this good, but praise be they the opening song is plagued by an amp have. Isn’t live music great? problem that causes the band to stop Rob Paul Chapman mid-song. The music itself is decent post-rock, but as far as ingenuity goes, Codes aren’t anything compared to their

On the Earl Hickey stage, Sheffield quartet Crookes play with an infectiously sunny disposition but they don’t have the skill to pull off limp wristed indie jangling in the same way that, say, Darren Hayman does. They seemed to take the indifference of the audience personally, but the same lethargic reception greeted most bands in the afternoon. Having ditched any idea of a coordinated trawl through the line up, I spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around. On the novel Shed Stage (yes, the bands played in, or more accurately in front of, a shed) London trio Silent Front came on like a more pumped up Fugazi and turned in gloriously dynamic set of screaming metal. In the Homespun tent, East Park Reggae Collective were just finishing a set of expertly played, if a bit vibrations 34


clinical, jazzed up reggae. Drawn back once again to the Shed stage by the perplexing sound of Shield Your Eyes the band initially sound like a bit of a mess, but it’s not long before their raw, jagged and freewheeling music begins to make its own compelling sense. After this, things started to fragment badly as multiplefestivalstageitis kicked in. So, Tsienna’s vacuously bombastic prog metal held me for less than one song, while the last two songs of Digital Earth’s set suggested this new York band’s digi-rap-soul may have some legs if they can look a bit less embarrassed on stage. The Lucid Dreams initially seem to be committing Tsienna’s crimes but turn out to be rather good. Back in the Shed, Nottingham dual guitar and drums heavy drone outfit Kogumaza (sound like the shifting of tectonic plates, while on the Leeds Sound stage Just Handshakes (We’re British) superficially cheesy pop is probably a lot more subversively interesting than two songs were able to convey. Bouncing back to the Shed, Wooderson are either not up to the math metal they want to play, or had a technical mare of a gig (like, why put the drummer actually inside the shed?). As the sun set, Friday’s casualties emerged to swell the crowds. Gary Stewart’s Chris DeBurghisms get a larger audience than my prejudices think is justified, before the Rosie Taylor Project shuffle on stage and use six people to make a noise that is hardly there at all. The band write fantastic songs but are too self effacing for their own good. Arguably, the festival doesn’t really get going until Neil Hanson bounces on stage and bellows “We’re International Trust!!” Despite recent line up changes the band still sound like the motorcycle of rock and roll about to career drunkenly off the road. I abandon their slightly belligerent bonhomie (“I hope you’re all wankered....because we are!”) for Bilge Pump’s more advanced form of guitar histrionics in the Shed. Bilge Pump have been a big influence on the slew of math metal jazzers around at the moment, but they still do it better than all of them. That Fucking Tank were scheduled to play after but it ended up being Andy Abbott doing minimalist guitar riffola improv (eh?) with two mates in a guitar, bass and drums trio. The music built from a formless aural soup to a monster of a riff but fizzled out. Reviewing duties over, Wild Beasts brought my festival to an agreeable end.

With 3 main live music stages, a couple of smaller dance tents, a shed stage and a multitude of other new age frippery, there was plenty going on. Children with painted faces, parents dressed as pirates, grandparents dressed as robots (and much more besides) creating a jolly good vibe as I worked out my plan of attack from the live schedule. I started with the Earl Hickey stage first which included a real ale bar at one end and took in the experimental nonsense of Laura J Martin, whose output would be well suited to children’s TV soundtracks, followed by the rabble rousing Jordan Senior and his Merry Men. A taste of the great outdoors followed as I checked out the shed stage. Pisco were just warming up so I sat and watched the trio’s brief but entertaining set as they blended kung-fu guitars with arcade game synths to a crowd of two dozen at most. Squelching my way through the tail end of Kid Kanevil before diving into the Leeds SoundPeople stage I catch a quartet called Sketches who sounded pretty good in a wannabe Bloc Party kind of way, despite playing to only 50 or so people. Indeed the average audience size had not passed 100 for most of the live acts until now so some of the bands struggled to create an atmosphere. This was also true during the forgettable Hard Time Orchestra’s trawl through the songbook of the American Depression. Nevertheless, as darkness fell, the crowd began to swell and about 200 were not disappointed with a blinding set from Leeds based trip hoppers Black Diamond Bay, despite the band being arguably upstaged by a group of dancing robots! The 7-piece have come on a bundle since their earlier

incarnation Tarentum and there’s clearly some craft in their material. Indeed they are the first band I see to get an encore. With belly full of ale, it’s back to the Dub Quagmire Heaven tent to mulch the rest of the evening away with 500 others, losing all the fillings in my teeth whilst passively smoking a small forest of Moroccan woodbines. Day two kicks off with the Rosie Taylor Project who owe much to Belle and Sebastian. The Cubical are one of a growing number of psychedelic outfits who seem to grace many a festival these days. Next it’s more soothing dub fun with Vibronics and the crowd seems to be made up entirely of dreadlocked mothers with babies strapped to their chests. Still sounds great though. Jon Gomm’s unique style of stripped down acoustic folk serves as welcome respite and the Earl Hickey tent for once is packed. I stay for the next act, the surprisingly enjoyable Rosie Doonan, playing with her new backing band for the very first time and lo and behold, boasts a great voice and catchy songs. Into the home strait and I can’t resist the old school rave of Utah Saints who are loud and fast; the crowd lap it up as the marquee sinks slowly into the mud. Lacking essential bog snorkelling skills, I return to where I began and see Wild Beasts finish off day two in style. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them perform again and their new album material shows greater depth and maturity although it would have been nice to hear more old favourites. They finish however, with a splendid rendition of ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ and send everyone home happy. Mike Price

Steve Walsh vibrations 35


vibrations 36


SECOND HEARING

an l Chapm Rob Pau

Mopping-up the miscellaneous stuff we’ve been sent that doesn’t fit anywhere else in exactly 20 words from exactly 2 listens. Miscellaneous Submission of the month: The Forcefield Kids Home Superior issues-based hip-hop with Northern accents and glorious production. Distinctive and stuffed full of ideas. Sounds effortless. Almost certainly isn’t.

The Rest: Viva City Have You Ever Felt So Messed Up? Take 1x Passion Pit. Remove all traces of mellowness. Add rock vocal. Marinate in sunny delight and heat on “nuclear”.

The Perfect Crime Demo RAWK RAWK quiet bit RAWK RAWK double-kick drum a-go-go... and relax. Oceansize, Mars Volta, cod-opera? Your neighbours won’t thank you.

Carnations Pressures of Love Scruby guitar and rich baritone vocal. So far, so Cure meets Editors... until... old-school rave piano! Better than it sounds.

Loyal Trooper The Doctor Bands have managed with three chords, but three notes? Over and over... and over...? Pretty bedroom folk. But nothing earth-shattering.

Belladonna Hey Weirdo Katie White’s shouty sisters make entertainingly unpleasant din of bleeps, clattering and low-slung bass. Hard work over album length though.

May 68 Last Mile How long have the 80s “been back” for now? Long enough. Duran Duran with female singer locked in a wardrobe.

The Forcefield Kids Home Superior issues-based hip-hop with Northern accents and glorious production. Distinctive and stuffed full of ideas. Sounds effortless. Almost certainly isn’t.

Sick City Club Valletta Indie chancers intent on making “hit records”. Future of the mainstream on this evidence: to continue downward spiral to oblivion.

Chinese Bombs Demo Some decent ideas here, but let down by variable musicianship that gives the big bits the jitters on the run-up.

Takoma Star Stockholm Has been done a million times before, and will thus be popular with young EMOs unfamiliar with this other million.

Shirley Lee Dissolving Time Of “cult 90s indie-band” Spearmint. Nope, can’t really place them either. But this is an infinite improvement on most indie-dross.

The High Plane Drifters Sweet Poppy Jean More wonky musicianship, but abrasively chunky none-the-less. Vocal mix of metal-crooner Arno Carstens... And Eddy Vedder... No wait, come back...!

The Refreshers Slam The Door Large slabs of G‘n’R and other assorted riffmonkeys. Does exactly what you expect it to, but still unpretentious fun none-the-less.

Isobel Harris The Attic Recordings Surely there must be enough folk in the world by now? Do we need another Celtic-flavoured songstress? I blame Enya...

Hayze New Day Parade Terrible, terrible band name. Serviceable if utterly uninspired indie rock. Did I mention the terrible, terrible band name? Oh good.

Kissy Sell Out Youth Robert Smith vocals plus assorted bleeps and pings. Quality, if trying too hard to be both anthemic and edgy simultaneously

White Belt Yellow Tag Tell Your Friends Sounds like Doves, but less casually formulaic, more generous with the ideas quota. Surprisingly good, and nicely compact at 2.34

Ebony Bones! Bones Of My Bones Bow Wow Wow for now? Abundant handclaps, bottles, bin-lids... Animal on drums, Banshee on vocals. No, an actual Banshee. Good.

Real Estate Fake Blues This is actually rather lovely. Ambles along shambolically with the drummer seemingly playing a different song, but evocative and wistful

Ape School Ape School Not bad this. Seems comfortable springing the odd surprise. Has the bedroom-demo feel of Plastic Fuzz if marginally less inventive. vibrations 37


One for the road

Mik artistik Interview by Rob Paul Chapman Illustration by Simon Lewis

Ever seen a live show by Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip? Or been “hustled” for a paper bag portrait by an hypnotically persuasive chap in a West Yorkshire drinking establishment? If so, you’ll have come into direct contact with a one-man whirling dervish of unbridled mania and charisma. You’d also be likely to have the same preconceptions of what this force of nature would be like off-stage. You’d brace yourself for an eminence of eccentric excess, a tirade of tangential tales, a rollercoaster of rambling revelations, a….Hang on. Who is this warm, softlyspoken, slightly nervous-looking bloke at the door…? That’ll be Mik. School leaver, dead end jobs, art college, homelessness, reinvention as the country’s leading biro-and-paperbag portrait artist (a fairly niche area in the art world in fairness). There’s a lot to talk about. His pictures hang in the national portrait gallery and he is about to open another new exhibition in Bradford. On top of that his music/performance project goes from strength to strength with high profile festival slots, a new live album “Slammer” and over 2000 CD sales at just the Latitude and Glastonbury festivals alone. Here he tells Rob Paul Chapman what he’s learned through an eventful life: 1. People are onions, relationships are jigsaws You have people in your life that you live with and that you’re related to and you understand, you’ve got them sussed. But then there are others that you might have lived with, but you don’t really understand what’s going on behind the veneer. We are a bit like a jigsaw. Some people are the right shape for us and we fit together. Other people we find harder to get, because they’re the wrong shape for us, they don’t fit.

Everyone has more layers to them than they let on. If you really are a ‘what you see is what you get kind of person’ then stating the fact seems a bit strident. Why would you need to tell anyone that?

2. Looks can be deceiving I’ve been drawing portraits of people on paper bags for 25 years. Someone might be sitting there in a suit and glasses looking fairly innocuous and he will come out with the most grotesque, mad, crazy story. He might just look like an insurance salesman, but I am always surprised. Or people can look completely extraordinary with mad hair and bits of jewellery everywhere, but they can be dull as fook. They put all their energies into presentation, but there is nothing interesting underneath. It’s the guy in the cardie who scares the shit out of you! He might say, “well I’ve actually been doing ballet for 4 years, but then I got into a ruck with the ballet teacher and went to prison for two years, and when I came out I discovered twitching and have devoted my life to drawing birds, but only in green biro…”

3. The truth often hurts I was drawing this woman in King’s Cross Station, you know an alcoholic on the streets. She started telling me her life story which was really harrowing. I sat talking to her for about an hour and a half, and all this time I was drawing. She looked like Johnny Winter. Her hair was white and she had this big fur coat on and a big purple case. She was a really dramatic creature, but when I showed her the picture she didn’t like what she saw. She grabbed it and tore it up. I was hurt, because I was trying to be truthful. I didn’t want to flatter her, I wanted to show her as she was. It felt a bit shit. Maybe I was a bit naïve; perhaps I should have just given her some TLC for a while instead.

4. We’re all grubs I am a lot more articulate through my art than I am in real life. Life is a lot harder. When I’ve got a paintbrush or a microphone in my hand I feel “it’s ok, I know this”. There’s a sense that it fits like a glove. People seem to think that as an artist you can look into people’s eyes and capture some of their soul, and I used to think that. It’s like it’s some kind of divine job, but it’s not. We’re all just grubbing along. We’re all grubs! I look at people who are really good at tiling, or can make a wardrobe, and I can’t do that. I can’t even work a phone! I am good at drawing, singing, telling a story, telling a joke, and maybe running up and down the canal and being a Dad. Then there are the other things that I’d like to be good at…

5. Courage is relative to your comfort zone I am a complete physical coward, I would run away from a fight. But I can walk into a pub in the middle of Seacroft with only a brown paper bag and a biro and walk up to a big bunch of lads and ask them if they would like their own personal paper bag. So off I go, and then after a while, someone will go “Ere Terry, it’s you that is, it really is you!” It’s a power. It’s like snake charming. And yeah, it does take a certain amount of bottle to do it. It’s a shock to me when people say that I am fearless. I’m just a bag of bloody nerves! But the only way I can deal with it is to throw myself into it. If I don’t do it I will end up in a little foetal ball in my bed upstairs for six months, because I’ve not been able to deal with it. It gets easier though. vibrations 38


6. Your passions will always find a way of coming to the surface When I was young I was drawing all the time. When I had a pen in my hand it made me feel content. When I left school – which was a grammar school – I only had two O Levels. I had no confidence and I’d had a really shit time at school. I just ended up getting a job in a printing works for a few months, and then went to work in an insurance office. But I spent most of my time drawing all over the invoices. I didn’t even know I was doing it. Until after about 18 months when I was sacked!

7. Acceptance usually comes as a surprise My mate was saying “go to art college” and I was like [adopts whiney voice] “I can’t!” So I went along and got in the queue, and there were all these people with proper portfolios under their arms and I had four or five drawings tied up with a rubber band! I nearly had a breakdown in that queue, I just felt so depressed. I thought I was going to get laughed out of the place. I unravelled these drawings and the guy cocked his head to one side and went “these are good these” and at that point a little bell went in my head and I thought “oh, I am an artist after all then!” I just thought ‘phew, I won’t have to work in an office anymore.”

8. Artists rarely take the easy option I’ve been to auditions to get onto shows, and people will say you’ve got do this song or that song, but I find myself writing some new material on the way in, and I end up doing something completely cold. Then I think “why am I doing this? Why am I jeopardising what could be a really good career move?” You’ve got to become like a child. You’ve got to forget all of your life experiences and just meet the people that are out there in front of you. You have to start from the point of them saying “who are you?”

9. Great art exists in deep space I know that if I do X, Y and Z it will equal a pleasant gig. And I know I can draw a portrait to a reasonable likeliness, but life can be fucking crap. So you’ve got to jump out of it sometimes, get as far away as possible, head into deep space. I forget that I’m a performer, I treat it like a giant waiting room, and we’re just keeping each other company until somebody comes and lets us out. When you’re on the stage you’ve got a licence to do what you like. People expect it. It’s my party so everyone else just sit down and watch.

10. The character and man are separated by the realities of life I have 60p in my pocket until I make some more money. I’ve got a girlfriend who spends a lot of time looking after me. I work hard, and I try to be a good dad and be a good partner and keep the house clean. I just hung up the washing before you arrived, I’ll do the ironing, a bit of vacuuming. I like cleaning. I am a domestic goddess! It might surprise people, but they’re making a judgement based on what they see for between 20 minutes and an hour. Tell your kids, ‘don’t be a musician’. Go and become a chartered accountant, otherwise you’ll be a begger for the rest of your life. No matter how good you get and no matter how many albums you sell, you’ll still be poor. But I don’t believe that really. I’m not going to starve, you’ll always get a meal if you can draw!”

vibrations 39


Performance tips No.56

Don’t make judgement errors

By not seeking the right advice, you can find yourself in difficult situations. If you’d like to know where you stand in relation to contracts, legal matters and industry-related issues, then why not join the Musicians’ Union? The Musicians’ Union can offer you advice on all of these things, as well as free instrument insurance, public liability cover and access to a huge network of your fellow musicians. Contact us today to see how we can help you:

0161 236 1764 www.musiciansunion.org.uk LiveInTheNorth@musiciansunion.org.uk

Vibrations Magazine (Leeds, UK) - October 2009  

Bi-monthly print music magazine covering bands in Leeds, and West Yorkshire (UK) featuringJust Handshakes (We're British), I Concur and Leed...

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