Posted by Tomas Cummings.
Reviewed on 11th September 2016.
Live at Wharf Chambers on Saturday, 3rd September 2016
Another weekend draws near, which means that there is a whole new set of gigs to choose from. However, do you go for the same slew of bands you're used to seeing? Or take the leap into the unknown to maybe find something you might like the flavour of? Usually we tend to stick to our comfort zones and enjoy what we KNOW we like.
This weekend was different.
Curb are newcomers to the scene and have put on their own DIY show at Wharf Chambers, hosted by Jar Mills Studios. Maybe a magical ritual had been performed that we have not been aware of, or perhaps by just emailing the bands, they managed to bag alt-rock veterans Where Fires Are as their openers and the hefty riff wielders Treason Kings as main support.
The carnage ensued most vigorously when Where Fires Are approached the stage sporting body paint in the band's colours of cobalt blue, magenta and white as if they were off to face battle on a psychedelic planet in dire need of some clansmen.
Opening their set with "When I'm Home" it becomes evident that this lot have even more substance to them than they did before. Vivacious and revelling in each other's company, creating an energy that was palpable in the crowd throughout their set which is no surprise from a band known to dip, drag, dive and dance throughout time, space and bodacious beats.
"I'm Here" was a standout track from the evening which started with a joint vocal harmony flying head first into an Incubus tasting riff - snapping into funky baselines with accented jagged guitars one minute when all of a sudden the song fills the entire room in a blanket of warmth.
Not mentioning "I've Got The Time" would be a crime. Yes, that did rhyme. Joking aside (unintentional that time) this song broke me a tad. Let's layout the menu - a foot stomping style anthemic appetiser, tripping melancholic keys avec brisk percussion for mains and a heap of 3 part harmony vocals injected with electricity for a chorus for dessert. Robbie and Matt proved themselves to have voices that can cause spines to shudder and hearts to stop, extremely powerful stuff. I have to mention that James' bass break is heart attack inducing enough on this song for this humble reviewer to drop his notebook. Ending with "Kill My Mind" which was clearly a crowd favourite paved the way for Treason Kings to mop up the body paint and my saliva from the floor.
This lot have been quiet for way too long. They hide away in their tower on the island of back breaking tunes in the sea of sound and come out now and again to tease us all. It's happening again. Robbie starts softly cracking out the beat for "Your Suit" and the atmosphere is palpable. Suddenly the main hook hits and a nest of angry crows join them on stage to add to the mayhem of hair, riffs and attitude.
The latest release from Treason Kings "Circles" was next on the menu, it feels like it embodies the prowess and power of a cult leader hypnotising the masses into doing their bidding which was in this case throwing bodies around the room like ice cream at a kids party. Moving from a tsunami of sound into a tide of deceptive calm, floating vocals over a beach of iron sand, crafted by the guitar tones which was soon brought to a destructive result. Some flip flops were lost. A track that stood out was "Settle Down" an older track from the band that had a new lease of life this night. Testing it out for their tour with L7 later this year, it had a 90s groove thrown in with a Biffy flavour - tangental yet poppy - that was much sweeter.
"Mouth to Mouth" a track that sounds like a fairy tale that is more true to the original Grimm tales which involves a dance not only through meadows but broken bodies and a vocal drawl that leads the guitars whilst the bass and drums flippantly cavort along.
Ending with the excellent "I Won't Go", I think there's one thing wrong with this band - they always leave you wanting more riffs which they delivered in the form of a rewind to the last breakdown. LOVELY.
So, finally the new band in the hood take to the stage looking unafraid and ready to roll. The stage now fully warmed up and ready to go. Hope they don't hit the pavement (attempt at humour, do feel free to laugh).
Straight off the bat into their first song and we are treated to the slower, heavy vibes of Curb. Heaving shoe gaze, grunge and late 90s alt rock influences into a spicy mix of trip hop beats, rolls and splits that compose into a more spacious sound than the previous bands. The vocals sprawl full of emotion across the audience, coupled with the strange tropical delay guitar tones now growing from the speakers. White hot heat bursts from the stage as the song reaches it peak that leans out then bursts gently into the crowd as if made from a supernova.
Following up was a track named "New York" that had more of a progressive feel to it, punctuated by a speedy, slippy riff that had heads bopping and pulled a huge vocal line which would not be out of place from some sort of demon lagoon creature looking for milk. Or something. Without warning a break in the waves allowed those tropical tones to lead you into a false sense of security before a pocketful of gravelly feedback slams you into an Explosions In The Sky style space out. You can feel the weight of the city and what it has to bear on it's shoulders.
"Bloodlove" reeked of Radiohead but had hints of The Cooper Temple Clause's distinct fuzz tones, rattling along by dissonant percussion on tracks made of steely guitar tones. The driving ascension of the dual guitars add an impassive stillness that resonated throughout the track's procession. To try and sum up Curb's sound at this stage would be futile, as they are still in their infancy and I could keep describing tracks with excessive adjectives and metaphor to no avail, so I will quote a friend from the night "They're like Alt-J having sex with Nirvana injecting Radiohead". Although the tracks were impressive, some felt that they could have more rounded vocal melodies yet they held their own with some of Leeds' finest. It will be interesting to see where Curb go next. For now you can check out their latest track "The Well" online.
TREASON KINGS are a rock/alternative band from Leeds.
Where Fires Are is an adrenaline-fuelled, energetic yet thoughtful, alternative rock band based in the U.K.