Leeds Music Scene

Gig review of The Red Pills + Arizona Bay + The Asa Hawks + Alaska

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Reviewed on 22nd March 2011.


The Red Pills

Live at The Library on Friday, 18th March 2011

Another Friday night at the Library pub and the 360 Club is back on brilliant form. First band of the evening Alaska are greeted by a packed out room and the three piece rock band don't waste any time impressing them. Their music isn't anything new but it is pretty accomplished garage influenced rock. They make quiet an impact for just three people; the bass lines are great, the drumming solid and the singer brilliant. There is a detectable surf element to their music too which adds a wonderfully nostalgic edge as does the fact that they are dressed as Hunter S. Thompson (the drummer holding a cigarette holder in his mouth throughout). A good start indeed.

All of the excitement building up this gig has been about The Asa Hawks following their triumphant set on BBC Introducing with Alan Raw and they live up to the hype. Complete with female singer and a banjo the band play accomplished country which borrows heavily from Americana. They play a long set which does suffer from several lulls, however when singer Katy is given the reigns there music is really beautiful, moving even, and keeps the attention of those gathered. Occasionally when guitar, bass, banjo, drums and vocals are all involved it becomes a little overbearing and detracts from the splendour of their more stripped down sound but all in all it is a good crowd pleasing performance.

Arizona Bay are next up with a completely different sound. They have recently acquired a new guitarist but it really doesn't show as they blast through a brilliant classic rock infused set. Their music touches many genres most notably grunge as singer Rhys Williams belts out Chris Cornell-esque vocals and all of their songs are well constructed with accomplished breakdowns and a loud/soft dynamic which manages to avoid being too clich? There are also love-songs here in and amongst the harder-rock material and they too are successful if a little contrived but if The Asa Hawks were the must-see band of this evening then Arizona Bay have come through as the must-see-again band after today.

The Red Pills cannot really be encapsulated in a paragraph and their live show has to be seen to be believed. They take to the stage all clothed in some form of red apparel (except for the drummer who missed have missed the memo) and proceed to deliver a set of unpredictable, political, often humorous punk-rock that borrows a lot from the likes of The Buzzcocks. They clearly have a dedicated following who know all the words and appropriate hand gestures to songs entitled 'Harriet's Got Herpes' and 'Five Grand To Fuck Off'. Their antics don't impress everyone though. Front man Tom pogos around throughout to the delight of some and annoyance of others and finishes the set by taping his mouth shut and proceeding to tape together members of the audience which leads to a small pile-on and several people walking out in disgust. This unfortunately over shadows their music which at times is actually very good. The guitar parts are wonderfully bluesy and the lyrics entertaining if not inspired. Perhaps the best way to sum up seeing The Red Pills live is to liken it to the feeling you get when you apply Bonjela to a mouth ulcer... it's painful but also strangely satisfying.



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4 bands associated with this article.

The Red Pills

Punk 'n' Roll Music

Arizona Bay

Leeds' leading grunge revivalists

Who Went

8 attendees

I Went