Live at The Hop (Wakefield) on Friday, 14th August 2015
The Hop in Wakefield is a cracking little venue, a labyrinth of tiny bars and rooms, with a reputation for putting on an excellent platter of music; tonight is no exception.
First up, Fighting Caravans from Leeds, not a band I'd had the pleasure of seeing before tonight but one that, I'm pleased to say, made quite an impression. Their music is best described as brooding bluesy rock, spiritually rooted not too far from Alabama but with early '70's psychedelic undertones - and all via Leeds! The singer seems perturbed, intense and dangerous, dressed like a psycho from a Tarantino movie in an old teeshirt and jeans! As if to prove those credentials he spins off the stage and lunges at the crowd, locked into some trance-like groove, the only thing missing is a box of serpents with which to taunt and tease further! Great drama, great music, great band - look out for their forthcoming EP due out October.
Tusk are another new band that I've heard of, but not seen before now. Again there's a hint of psychedelia in their sound but this time more of a '60's, UK modernist vibe. The musicianship in Tusk is second to none and they are pleasant enough to listen to, but on the night I feel that their songs lack a little drama, perhaps in deference to the earlier excitement of the Fighting Caravans set, and that is a shame. Swapping the billing-order around would have helped them greatly, that said, they're a young band full of energy, talent and drive and will go on to bigger and better things I'm sure.
It is left to Glass Caves to draw Wakefield's loudest cheers of the night. A quick look over my shoulder confirms that the room has filled-up nicely, at a guess no more than a hundred people though, a far cry from the near sell-out at London's Club Koko a week or so prior and I wonder if that messes with their heads at all? As if in answer the band open-up with 'Afraid', a new song that I've only heard once before and already it sounds like a classic with its chanting chorus of 'I'm not afraid, afraid, afraid, afraid... ' a beautifully desolate melody giving way to Glass Caves at full-tilt, harmonious and bruising; great stuff. Next up we're back on familiar territory with 'Driving Home' from last years' debut album 'Alive', the crowd lapping it up as more of their favourite tunes follow in quick succession. Guitarist Connor then picks up his acoustic guitar heralding another new song, 'Smokey', brilliant, which is then followed by yet another brand new corker entitled 'Journey' ("...a song about travelling to and from London"). "You're like our guinea-pigs", proclaims singer Matt, I suppose we are, but there are no complaints whatsoever! None of the new tunes sound out of place but their inclusion has revitalised their set, adding a whole new dynamic to the performance and offering a tantilising glimpse of the future shape of Glass Caves. All this, reinforced by the band's own enthusiasm, made tonight's performance one of the best Glass Caves gigs I've seen.
4-piece indie-rock from Wakefield