Posted by Jessica Salter.
Reviewed on 26th September 2011.
Live at Empire on Tuesday, 20th September 2011
This six-piece from Stockton on Tees enter the newly established Empire, a music venue which promises confidence for the sounds of up and coming artists across the country. Tonight, Young Rebel Set play the second gig of their autumn tour of the UK with a fresh and confessing sober stance, something they admit to feeling 'a bit weird.' They open with 'Down the line' an early demo underlining their distinct sound of a mix of rock'n'roll and urban folk. The arrangement of the harmonica and lead guitar complement each other, whilst the lead singer and song writer of the band, Matty Chipchase's distinctive vocals complement the song.
'Already forgotten your name' follows; the opening, reflects that of Jonny Cash's 'Walk the line' a clear influence upon the band, yet Chipchase's vocals distinctively capture the song's individuality of a modern, northern sound. At this point, the band seems more comfortable in their position, appealing to a mixed crowd of all ages who some, by the third song 'Measure of a Man' are singing along to the words. Chipchase's lyrics reflect heart-ache and grit which can be recognised through his husky vocals.
Although the six-piece's usual sparkle on stage is stimulated by a few drinks, the clear-headedness of the band portrays their concentration and true talent. 'Precious Days' and a new song 'Criminals,' are delivered with polish. 'Won't get up' follows and sparks pleasure from the crowd who are engrossed by the sombre lyricism but still able tap along to the strong drumbeat which carries the song through. Catering to the crowds desires, Young Rebel Set move on to 'Fall Hard' one of their most up-tempo songs from their debut album 'Curse of our love'. The lead guitar takes control on this song almost forcing the crowd to have a little dance, some obliging. At this point, the band truly come into their own and it looks like they could carry on throughout the night.
With the crowd at their mercy, the opening sounds of Chipchase's acoustic guitar and raw vocals silence the room as the opening cords of 'Red Bricks' take shape. This is a truly magical moment and the highlight of the night, as the downstairs room of the Empire is blown away by the arrangement of the drum's sounds of an army march complementing Chipchase's tender lyrics, utterly spin-tingling.
The band then launches into 'Walk On' a crowd favourite with the majority of the fans singing a-long. Previous single 'Lion's Mouth' follows with a strong bass and fast paced solo lead guitar which reminds us that each member of this six piece are essential talented members of this North Eastern piece.
The band finishes off with their most popular and arguably, their best song to date, 'If I was' a melodic song expressing the simplicity of romance and desire. The response from the crowd says it all; with the majority dancing and singing a-long to the lyrics of a band they have come to support and claim as their own. In the basement of the newly furbished Empire, Young Rebel Set provide an evening of storytelling songs that with more experience will become truly exceptional, but for now they've earned a well deserve a drink.