Leeds Music Scene

Gig review of Department S + Expelaires + Klammer

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Reviewed on 15th July 2015.


Department S

Live at Brudenell Social Club on Thursday, 2nd July 2015

Post-punk Thursday descends upon Hyde Park's Brudenell Social Club, with some the UKs finest - old and new - entertaining an intimate and dedicated crowd this evening.

In fairness, Post-punk could be anything which came along after the global 1970s movement, although tonight's bands are definitely what one would consider the first wave, emerging from a time and space immediately after that of their Punk forefathers and continuing the DIY ethic with what some deemed more experimentalism and far less Mohawk.

The event kicks off with Klammer, who are only a few years into things collectively, although they sound every bit like they are fresh out of the early 80s, perhaps thanks to one Paul 'Poss' Strickland on vocals as well as Steve Whitfield on lead, both of whom were heavily involved in the local music scene back in the day. Klammer by name might sound Krautrock-esque, and yet without a synthesizer in sight, their songs rely on guitars alone for a sound akin to many of their predecessors. Teamed with ranting vocals - also a staple during the initial post-punk wave - together with some hefty drum beats, one can easily see what Klammer aim to achieve in terms of sound and any who appreciate this genre would be hard pushed not to foot-tap and head-nod along. The sprinkling of folk here for tonight's first act did just that, with closing number Big Lies - clearly one of the Klammer lads' favourites, which sees much stage-strutting and finger pointing from singer Poss - draws a handful onto the floor for a dance off. All up, a good performance from the local four-piece who continue to make a name for themselves around Leeds and wider afield.

Another local lot known as Expelaires are next to take to the stage, a band whose origins lie very much within the scene as it unfolded over thirty years ago. Leeds based, and at that time very much championed by the late John Peel, Experlaires had a relatively short spot in the lime light, with many original members opting to move on to form collectives such as The Sisters of Mercy, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Mission to note those best-known. Their sound has remained intact however, and the band continue to throw their early 80s tunes down with no real difficulty and entertain a now growing crowd which does appear to include a handful of fans wanting to witness some of their former heroes. Lead vocalist Paul 'Grape' Gregory, donning a suit, comfortably delivered the simple yet catchy lyrics of Nasty Media, one of the few old school punk sounding tracks with the rest swaying toward the dour. Guitarists comprising of a lead, bass and acoustic complete the line-up and together, they dish up extremely tuneful melodies on top of deep bass lines, with vocals which start off monotone and build during the choruses, and much reverb layered over the top. Nothing out of the ordinary here, although clearly still with the capability to deliver, the set trucks along nicely and all present seem happy enough.

To complete the affair, on come Department S, half suits and shades and ready for action. Again, very much a post-punk derived ensemble, with long-standing member and vocalist Mike Herbage helping to concoct the band on the demise of Punk/Ska collective Guns for Hire, Department S deliver a set which produces a sound similar at times to the two prior acts although much more polished - not surprising, with over thirty years industry experience behind them (all be it with a substantial break mid-way) and fast approaching their tenth year since reforming. Kicking off with former single Clap Now, everyone here is instantly booted up the rear by its fast-paced, jingly riffs and minimalist lyrics. They have a presence which screams 'experienced', and whilst not having retained all of the band's original members, this is clearly whom mostly middle-aged punters have turned out to hear play this evening. Going Left Right is another notable number which is unleashed mid-gig and helps to keep the fans engaged. Despite the ever-present darkness which almost seems obligatory to any band which originated from this era, Department S have mostly a bouncy sound, with disco beats giving the appearance of far lesser a hard edge than some, including the prior bands from this evening's show. There is much more energy present once this bunch take to the stage; again, surely expected after their longevity in the business and years on the gig circuit. A fair bit of banter entertains us in between numbers, with several stories of PiL, drugs, soldiers, love and Mott the Hoople, the latter having been involved in much of the bands early production work. Debut single Is Vic There, one of Hoople's works, is saved for the show's close and its wolf howls courtesy of singer Herbage are well received.



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3 bands associated with this article.

Department S


Alternative/Post Punk band based in Leeds, U.K.

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1 attendee

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