Leeds Music Scene

Gig review of Liars + Broken Social Scene + Chickenhawk + Los Campesinos! + Sky Larkin

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Reviewed on 28th November 2010.



Live at Constellations Festival 2010 on Sunday, 14th November 2010

I'm fat, and I'm old, and my back hurts. I want this noise to stop, and I wanna go home.

I'm watching Liars. They're a bit like a blow job off a transvestite. If you squint you can convince yourself it is amazing, but if you look closely it just isn't what you wanted at all. The waves of nauseating self horror roll over you and you think "What am I doing?! I don't like this! I like well constructed indie pop with catchy tunes!" - but occasionally the frenzy overtakes you and it all becomes so wrong it is right.

I hate to break it to you, but if you haven't taken enough Ketamine Liars are basically shit.

You know Bill Bailey's routine about how U2 are just two chords through a bunch of reverb and echo? This is like that but they don't even know the two chords. Enough with the vocal processors already. I have got nothing against hellish noise per se, as long as it makes me dance.

You can tell how good a band is by how many pretty girls and fat old Belle and Sebastian fans there are dancing like bastards in front of them when they play. I count three girls in the whole crowd, and they all look miserable. This is music for boring student boys who smell of beards. Every god damn time their bleepy screamo electro punk is about to overtake me and my legs start moving, the anorexic Chewbacca stops doing his weird little girl skipping and they go right back to the endless droning echo of doom.

I find myself imagining that the giant mirror ball has fallen and crushed the h*psters below and the dry ice has turned into mustard gas and everyone is DYING. I feel like going to their house and stealing their albums by Can and Suicide and replacing them with some Beach Boys and AC/DC. Hey Liars! We can all tell how clever and cool and talented you are. Anyone who wanders through sonic space with genre defying abandon the way you do is probably going to one day make the best record ever made. Today your spaceship never quite got off the ground. Please stop tarting around and get on with ROCKING MY FACE OFF, if you don't mind, because at the moment, you are only better than silence for brief flashes. Although I must say that watching the security people's facial expressions during your set was the highlight of my day. They went in shifts 'cos they couldn't stand it for more than a song or two. So that was pretty funny.

The graffiti in universities is always really adorable, the way it is correctly apostrophised and the grammar and spelling are faultless. The best graffito in the smoking area opines 'You can't say cunt in Canada!' which brings us seamlessly to Broken Social Scene. Their sound is buttery gorgeousness. We all knew they were better than The Arcade Fire all along and they have matured into a stadium band looking for a stadium, basically. There are times when it is like watching Bruce Springsteen or something. Normal people would probably love it.

All the odd edges of their on-record production are ironed out. It's beautiful, but where Liars are too interested in their own cocks to make my cunt wet, Broken Social Scene haven't got enough balls any more.

They've contrived to make a series of great records at precise moments across a decade, so that they are semi-legends to about three successive generations without anyone ever really knowing what they look like or anything. That's brilliant, but my Broken Social Scene record was the self titled one when they sounded like three Pavements playing in a wind tunnel, and for all the astonishing wonder of their set, I really miss the arms aloft screaming abandon of their youth. Or my youth, whatever.

You've become a very beautiful young woman Broken Social Scene. Tonight was like watching your ex girlfriend get on the bus and ride away to a better life that takes place in sports arenas. You deserve it babe.

Instead of mentioning Chickenhawk's mathy post hardcore for people who haven't ever had gay sex, I'm gonna talk about myself for a bit. I used to work in a call centre for A Very Big Ticket Company. Everyone in that call centre used to sit round, with their fantastic haircuts and their amazing skinny legs, and pose with that month's Artrocker. I didn't understand why they laughed at my rubbishy guitar wank music that wanted to be The Stone Roses.

Where are they NOW, eh? Now I am an ageing indie hipster who reviews for Artrocker and is in Leeds' premier twee little mediocre indie-punk band that sounds a bit like The Vaselines?! Oh, my pathetic little triumphs. I disgust myself so much it makes me touch myself.

So yeah, I really like Los Campesinos! Gareth is clearly the most maladjusted vegetarian bell end since Morrissey was still alive, and he's got the lyrics to match. Winningly, he screams them at the top of his lungs like Krusty the Clown singing "I Wanna Go To Camp Krusty".

Technical problems delay their set and they are convinced they only have time to do a few songs. So they bang them out like a machine gun serial killer making a last stand against the Babylon.

Opener 'In Media Res' is actually a bit ponderous and awkward live, but then it turns out they have just been toying with us. They bounce into 'Death to Los Campesinos!' and the whole room EXPLODES into an orgy of dancing indie kids. Do you know in Wild West movies where somebody throws one punch and the whole bar room goes up into a brawl with women standing on pianos slicing out with high heeled shoes and everything? It was like that.

There's nothing better than a whole room full of people spontaneously starting to do the same thing all at once. I was in a supermarket once and I happened to look up at the exact moment 'Superstitious' by Stevie Wonder came on the tannoy. The whole supermarket - old biddies, everything - suddenly started funky dancing their trolleys round the aisles. Anyway, this is the best moment of my life since that, really.

They're funny and anthemic and melodic and funky, like some sort of twee indie hip hop pop in heaven. They've got hand signs and call and response dynamics and twenty seven instruments flailing in all directions at once and they're the best band we've got. See? It is possible after all to be clever and cool and loud and exciting without being some sort of trustafarian pretentious h*pster art-twonk with an effects pedal! What great news.

My girlfriend's brother said he heard a fantastic conversation during Sky Larkin's set. It went like this:

Idiot 1: "She's fit!"
Idiot 2: "Nah, she's got stupid hair. Look at her hair! That is such stupid hair."

Naturally, both idiots had huge great bouffant bird's nest stupid sex hair. FUCKING KIDS THESE DAYS.

If we could set the issue of 'her' being a fit girl who isn't bald aside for a second, Sky Larkin are still great, bouncing around their hometown playing their spiky, poppy songs which are all interchangeable 'cos they sound the same but who cares, they're wicked? And their drummer makes the world's best sex faces while he hammers those drums. Maybe time to write some choruses soon, but you go on with your bad selves Sky Larkin.

Oooh, who else did I see? Dog Is Dead are what happens when music students are allowed to play pop music. They've got a saxophone and a Friendly Fires CD and they aren't afraid to use either of them. My natural inclination is to set them on fire for the good of humanity but I must admit they are wonderful smiling dancing fun.

Superhumanoids are OK if you like skinny little synth pop monkeys with broken electric drums. There's a band who sounded a bit like The Killers on the small stage. Could have been Cloud Nothings, might have been Polarsets. I dunno. I was only there to buy a burger. Anyway, it's pretty good in an epic Americana way, very pretty.

I missed Runaround Kids 'cos I was in a cafe nursing a hangover and another burger, but you'll be hearing about them soon enough as they are teenage punk rock heaven. I didn't see Sleigh Bells because I was sneaking around the University campus peeing in bushes, drunk and happy in the nice shiny winter night. It felt like wandering round Hogwarts Magical School of Mystery and Middle Class Privilege.

Really, then, it isn't you, Indie Music, it's me. Like I said, I am fat and old and I am tired of echoing effects pedals and guest appearances by Johnny Marr. He just wanders up to anyone he feels like and goes "Hi, I'm a living legend! Wanna play with me?" and they all lie down and open their legs. Obviously I love Johnny Marr so much I talk to him when he isn't there, but WHEN will someone be punk rock awesome enough to just tell him to fuck off home to his mansion? Stop him now before he plays the guitar with every band in the world.

But seriously folks, as festivals of pretentious posturing and self satisfied unnecessary musical complexity go, Constellations was brilliant. I especially enjoyed feeling superior to people who like normal music with tunes and that. I hope they do it again next year, by which time hopefully some little seventeen-year-old who knows two chords will have eaten all our indie heroes alive and burned the musical landscape to dust with the fire of her screaming feedback pop.




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On 1st December 2010 at 15:34 Anonymous 7994 wrote...

if any of you 144 betty-philes out there are wondering why i am banging on about artrocker, a much edited 300 word version of this rubbish appears in this month's issue



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