Live at The Library on Friday, 4th May 2012
Tonight marks the beginning of a great weekend of live music in the city as Live At Leeds returns but this evening the place to be is 360 Club and the upstairs room at The Library is packed out accordingly.
Ska/Reggae ensemble The Indecision are first up and they come complete with an array of instruments from guitar and drums to synth and a two piece brass section forming the foundation of their comprehensive, feel good sound. The aforementioned horns cut through well and are used sparingly enough to remain commanding throughout the set creating a pleasing amount of pomp and bombast. The penultimate number is a real standout largely due to the powerful organ sound complementing a strong vocal display but the four to the floor drum beat drives the set effectively keeping momentum high throughout. The final number is a more contemplative and slow burning affair displaying another facet to their sound but it is an odd choice of song to close on and would perhaps be better placed mid-set allowing for one of their more typically buoyant numbers to leave a lasting impression. The Indecision are unquestionably all talented musicians in their own right but together they provide a real spectacle and considering that they are still in their infancy as a band they are excellent.
Backyards have improved a great deal since their own early performances at 360 Club and tonight they trial newer material to great effect. The influence of bands like The Smiths is very apparent in both the lyrical styling and more sombre musical moments but this never feels like mere The Queen Is Dead imitation. Technically each song is meticulously structured and highly ambitious; the standout track for instance includes every time signature and it is performed virtually flawlessly. At times Backyards do border on pretentious and the violin does feel a little saturated with effects but there is no questioning the band's ability to create beautiful music which ebbs and flows emotively. It's a moving and well received display and if they continue to improve at this rate then Backyards will be a real force to be reckoned with.
Black Diamond Bay bring a change of pace with their lo-fi, high energy dance sound. They are a 360 Club favourite largely thanks to their charismatic male/female vocal duo and accessible sound and their songs are all incredibly well produced. However, a large portion of their actual live music is lap-top fed and while the guitarist delivers (with the help of several effects pedals), the bassist is left almost redundant due to the backing track. Again it is a virtually faultless performance but you are left wondering if a live band is necessary at all. Moreover they suffer from a slightly stagnant, self-conscious audience who do not fully immerse themselves and an act like Black Diamond Bay would surely be better suited to a late night club setting where their obvious talent could be fully appreciated.
This evening's showcase of local talent comes to a close with the last ever performance of Danny and the Lost Souls; a four-piece who have gained much acclaim for their shows across Leeds over the past three years. There is a fitting amount of nostalgia about tonight's show as the band strut through a commanding soul influenced set littered with seventies guitar licks and Danny Toeman's enthusiastic, almost gospel preacher inspired, spoken interludes. Toeman has always been a slightly divisive front man and today he, unfortunately, dominates the set. He frequently refers to the performance as 'his' rather than the band's, stealing focus on several occasions, even stopping mid-song to comb his hair at one point. While and there is no questioning his musical abilities or capacity to captivate an audience, the rest of the band too deserve recognition for what they have achieved as every member of the band has had their part to play in making Danny and the Lost Souls one of the slickest and most enjoyable live bands on the circuit. They will be sorely missed.
"Everything is incorporated into Backyards' sound; much more than the simple Indie dynamics of guitar, bass and drums. Keyboards make an appearance, string sections...and music that is atmospheric; contrasting between dark and light, upbeat and melancholic." - AltSounds.Com
The Indecision: Leeds based, 6-piece Ska & Rocksteady.