Live at Royal Park Cellars on Friday, 31st January 2003
A night of ROCK down the Royal Park... when isn't it these days? The Royal Park is getting a name for itself now as a more rock sort of venue, possibly due to promoter Steve Kind's insistance that all bands rock at all times. That's not to say they've all got to be as heavy as Sepultura (or as minging). Just good quality bands who put a bit of heart into their performance (and I'm not talking about the Wilson sisters).
Up first are youthful Cornwall punkmeisters DAYWASTE, who waste no time kicking out a set of spiky power pop stuff. It's like China Drum crossed with 3 Colours Red... a British feel to something that's come to sound too American of late. Siblings James and Matt Daniel keep the harmonies tight and long-haired bass player Gareth Lee stays solid most of the time. Occasionally they drift a little with some ideas, but they have a couple of storming tunes that belie their years. They could do with a bit of work on the stage prescence, but that will come with time. Check 'em out next time they're in town. Cracking stuff. (Plus any band who've made the effort to come from Cornwall to play one gig in Leeds deserves respect.)
Coming second in the Who Travelled Furthest? contest are London's Drugdealer Cheerleader, with new bass player Bomber in tow. These guys know how to entertain, and put on a corking show for the slowly increasing audience. Singer Hilda bounces around like a man possessed, while Neil's Slash-isms never fail to impress. Sometimes the songs feel dated, but the band don't care: they're playing the music they love, for people who love it - sod everyone else. And songs like Tidal Wave Heart haven't aged well, but newer tracks like Social and Disneyize show there's plenty of life left in them yet. Love 'em or hate 'em, Drugdealer Cheerleader are a great live act, and are sure to pick up the hardcore niche of fans they thouroughly deserve.
Leeds' punk pop stalwarts Phluid arrive to close the show, and the frenzied and topless antics of DDCL have clearly upped the ante somewhat. Now Phluid are a band that people will love or hate. They're not breaking any musical boundaries, and they're not creating redefining sound as we know it. But, like DDCL, they couldn't care less, and concentrate on entertainment and good tunes. The newer songs like American Jihad show a harder edge that shows they're not all chirpy rock punk popscallions, but their catchy side always remains their strongest asset. They're tight - as you'd expect from a band that's been going some time - and a slick gigging machine. Singer Polly keeps the audience entertained both during and between songs with a cross between politicised rousing polemic and downright stupid bawdy comedy, a good mix that shows they're not too far up their own arses but have a conscience too. 21st Century Beatnik Baby and Rock n' Roll Cliche stick out as the two strongest tracks, but older tunes like Desolation and Pure still have a kick to them. If you don't like Phluid, you never will, but if you do, you'll love 'em. One of Leeds' finest (signed!) bands.