Live at Santiago on Thursday, 14th April 2011
As cities go, Leeds has a hell of a lot to offer when it comes to club nights, gigs, and general nightlife. Despite this, it's rare that you come across something truly original and entertaining. So, in the usual pursuit of riffs and alcohol, I decided to go along to a Mishkin gig. However, this wasn't just your average gig - it was the Rock 'n' Rum Burlesque Night at Santiago.
The label 'burlesque' tends to conjure up images of somewhat niche entertainment. Sadly this is generally enough to cause many people to shy away. However, given the opportunity, I'd highly recommend throwing out your preconceptions and paying a visit to Rock'n' Rum; where you'll find yourself immersed in a venue full of extraordinarily creative individuals offering a variety of truly original entertainment.
First up on the bill wasn't a band, but instead, a magician: Dee Christopher. You'd be forgiven foryour scepticism - magic tricks aren't generally something I hold too much stockin. However, within moments, Dee's combination of charm and wit had successfully won over the audience. An air of brilliant insanity enshrouded his performanceas he masterfully defied his viewers' expectations with a plethora of mindtricks - including a power drill to the eye - keeping the captivated crowd anxiously onedge.
Following Dee's brilliant warm up act, it was time for the first burlesque performance of the night. These acts were interspersed between bands; breaking up the evening nicely, and keeping the entertainment fresh and interesting. Each performer had skilfully crafted a number of enticing and provocative routines; ranging from the glamorously tongue-in-cheek to the mystically graceful. The talent of these girls ceaselessly shone through; and, sceptics be assured - they never once came across as 'cheap' or 'tacky'.
The first band on were Peterborough's Elephant vs Leopard. These guys managed to plough through an astonishing range of styles considering their line-up - simply a vocalist, bassist and drummer. With their genre landing somewhere between thrash metal and 1950's beat poetry, their tracks gushed exceptional riffs and mind blowing beats that laid the foundation for a vicious and energetic vocal performance. Fans of Dillinger Escape Plan should definitely look these guys up - they're somewhat reminiscent of the 'Irony is a Dead Scene' EP with Mike Patton. Only somewhat more messed up (if that's even possible?!).
Finally, after another incredible performance from the burlesque girls, Mishkin took to the stage. If you're an aficionado of the Leeds music scene, you'll have heard of these guys. They're a band who've been pushing their music exceptionally hard over the past few years - having toured China, supported the likes of Skindred, Sepultura and Enter Shikari, and even written and recorded a track for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Doubtless to say, with such an impressive biography, I expected a lot from these guys, and I wasn't disappointed. The band effortlessly balanced soaring, emotive vocals with an array of well crafted breaks, technical guitar licks and hints of electronica. Their sound can best be described as a funky, somewhat progressive, yet highly accessible take on metal - something like a 'heavy Incubus'. Couple this with their exceptional, yet not-too-serious stage presence, and you've got a flawless formula for winning over crowds. Definitely a band worth catching live; but before you do, head over to their website and check out the awesome animated video for 'GoodDay to Die'.
All in all, the night certainly surpassed my expectations and proved to be hugely entertaining. It was a pleasure to attend such a well orchestrated evening of eccentricity and incredible talent - it's truly rare to find a night that exudes this level of character, passion and flair. Needless to say, I highly recommend checking out the next Rock 'n' Rum - you won't be disappointed, and what's more, you'll be supporting a truly exceptional contribution to the Leeds scene.