Live at The Library on Friday, 13th January 2012
The 360 Club (located upstairs at The Library pub) is a venue full of benefits. The sound is excellent and although the intimate club is by no means the largest setting in Leeds, (you're never more than 10ft away from the bar - another bonus!); the charming location is deceptively wide, creating ample space for upwards of 250 people. Tonight the place is generously occupied, which is a credit to the four unsigned acts on the bill.
First up are Leeds five piece, Damn Dirty Apes. Within a minute or so of the quasi rock group's opening track, proceedings are brought to a halt due to "technical difficulties". Front man Stephen Suess apologises and the band resume their inaugural offering. Moments later Suess would have to repeat himself, as for a second time the band ceases playing. Finally the group reach the end of the first song despite guitars cutting out and two uncomfortable pauses. As the set continues, a serious lack of stage presence from the band makes for a tedious performance. Most notably would be bassist Matt Cooper, who appears to be hiding behind the P.A speaker with his back turned on the audience. The band's Facebook page provides an accurate description of the group's musical identity: "They have been described as 'a poor man's Clutch meets a poor man's Gallows". The key adjective is "poor". Even time signature transitions within the songs are not smooth and come across as awkward. To be fair, 50 watt amps are not helping matters much. With closing track, unimaginatively entitled: "Blind Faith" Stephen Suess' lack of vocal range is as noticeable as his arse cleavage. Perhaps he believed the unnecessary removal of his shirt and forgetting his underwear would add to the band's presence on stage... it didn't.
Daze Edge don't exactly have a hard act to follow, and yet the self proclaimed "space rock" group fail to excite the indifferent crowd. Tonight is only the Leeds quartet's second ever live performance, which is commendable as they appear smoother and more lucid than the pervious act. Yet, you can't help but notice front man Dave Brady, (sporting a waistcoat, complete with a bow tie) and the rest of the band are somewhat out of place on the bill. "Space soft rock" or "Space indy" might be a more accurate description of young group's sound. A lack of energy from the band fails to engage the audience and predictable, melodic, synth heavy verses, with up-tempo choruses soon become monotonous. An uninspired cover of "Feelin' Good" is almost cliché in its unoriginality and an inexplicable rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Let's get it on" leaves the spectators bemused; any latecomers making their way into the 360 Club at this point must have wondered if they were in the right place.
The penultimate band to pick up their sticks and picks tonight is 12:27. Having made the short journey up the M621 from Heckmondwike, the garage-rock four piece appear to be ready for business as they take to the stage. Instantly grabbing the attention of the crowd and injecting some much needed life into tonight's proceedings, the young group exhibit all the spirit and conviction of an act that have been together since 2008. Tighter than George Osborne's latest budget; an honourable mention for the rhythm section, especially drummer Bill Stowell; the gritty sounding lads can also write catchy numbers. Songs like "Don't Talk to me like you know me"; beginning with a simple three chord riff into, the song kicks into a gratifying groove with some nice melody based lead work from guitarist Ash Ingham. Front man Thom Smith displays raw vocal talent and a nice range throughout the memorable chorus, and Ingham produces an impressive solo; the lead guitarist has a striking tone and continues to impress throughout the set. An unexpected cover of "These boots are made for walkin'" creates a nice up-tempo interlude, even if it is not the most inspired choice of cover song. Closing track, "The Devil Drinks Jack Daniels" has a slightly punk rock vibe and builds to an energetic crescendo, and is a pertinent end to their engrossing performance.
Finally at the top of the bill are sleazy rockers Honeycomb Love. Immediately drummer Luke Vex pumps up the audience by informing them: "It's time to step it up a notch". The tremulous trio tears into opening number, "Smoking Overdose"; a ferocious juggernaut of chug-heavy riffs, which resonates through guitarist Matt Hipkiss' monstrous 5150 head. The most experienced act of the night; HCL are a slick, dynamic rock and roll machine, augmented by effervescent song titles such as "Two Tickets to the Gun Show" and "Bad Taste in Women". The latter of which boasts a supremely infectious chant-a-long chorus, which is delivered with raw passion from bassist/vocalist Ollie Bombshell. However, it's the little things that make the three-piece so effective as a live act: whether it's smooth, polished backing vocals, entertaining crowd interaction, a seamless guitar change mid-song or simply just looking the part. This is a band that appears effortless and in their element on stage. Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole performance; amidst all the vigor and dazzling fret work is the virtually tangible sense of delight emanating from the group. The elation from the Leeds based sleaze peddlers is intoxicating and soon the atmosphere inside the 360 Club is teeming with revelry. Ollie Bombshell offers a "free pick" to whomever displays the best dance moves during closing track "TKO"; as soon as the drums and bottom end kick in with the indelible intro riff, the dance floor is acquired by pint-clutching punters, evidently intent on earning themselves a "free pick". Honeycomb Love are so rock n' roll, not even a curfew can stop them. The show is officially over, yet the band can't resist throwing in a cover of "Motherload" from underground heroes Asomvel, which marks the end of exceptionally enjoyable set from tonight's worthy headliners.
4 piece Indie Rock/Alternative band from Leeds
4-piece alternative/rock band