Live at Brudenell Social Club on Friday, 21st April 2017
POST WAR GLAMOUR GIRLS
'SWAN SONGS' ALBUM LAUNCH
BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
FRI 21ST APRIL 2017
In some ways it seems about 5 minutes since the Brudenell Social Club hosted Post War Glamour Girls' debut single launch in 2011, and in some ways it seems a lifetime. There have been so many memorable miles on the PWGG journey since and here we are again, for the launch of their 3rd album (4th if you include last year's 'Live at St. Austin's' release), 'Swan Songs' - recorded in summer 2016 on a two-week holing up in Skerray in the remote north of Scotland. Stops are always very much pulled out for milestone PWGG shows, and we a have hand-picked undercard too, so hopes tonight are high
First up were supposed to be Fawn Spots, but with one of their number stricken with appendicitis (get well soon), the opening spot is taken by New Woman. We only catch a little of this two-piece, but the spikey, angular post-punk does sound good, and more to the point, as they point out "we were added super, super late - we're the emergency services of the Leeds music scene!". It is appreciated, New Woman...
Next up are old favourites Blacklisters. I think I've written this before, but they are Leeds' best ever answer to The Jesus Lizard. I mean this as a very high compliment. Always an engaging live spectacle, they don't disappoint here tonight - of course they don't. Billy announces that he 'is going to drink some wine', and then that he has 'drunk some wine' before launching into a set of the usual driving, pulsating, heavy yet goosebumpy, raucous Blacklisters energy and aggression. Great stuff.
But tonight is a Post War Glamour Girls night.
As we have come to expect, PWGG have gone about things in their usual slightly cantankerous way and tonight will be playing Swan Songs in full on the day of its release. It means that no one can be particularly familiar with the songs - although a couple have been streamed ahead, and the album was available to listen to on GoldFlakePaint for a day or two beforehand. It is likely we will never get to hear most of these songs again live once we have had time to live with and love the album, but that's how our beloved PWGG roll - not many other acts exclude all of their singles from their live set... nor indeed drop their early singles from their debut album. Or release their second album in two halves, months apart. But it's all very much part of their scheming appeal.
And they always go to great effort to make launch shows special.
Tonight, aside from the stellar support, we have a digital light show as a backdrop - sometime kaleidoscopic, sometime frizzy static, sometime imagery of heads bowing - created by PWGG bassist Alice Scott, that sets the tone across the performance. We have a white 'swan' feather blizzard at the crescendo that fills the Brudenell like the aftermath of a pillow fight, and we have the on-stage assistance of long-time associate Rob Slater from The Spills.
The whole performance sees Post War Glamour Girls on top form, seemingly chomping at the bit to share the new output in their favourite venue. The rhythm section of Ben Clyde and Alice Scott providing the splintered, pounding drive, James Thorpe-Jones snaking around the stage filling sonic spaces with shards of barbed guitar and James Smith, seemingly balancing belligerence at the state of things with contentment at the night itself, is in the crowd as often as not, ranting, sermoning and generally giving the slightly manic performance of a foremost frontman. The new songs are as intriguing a mix of dark and light as ever, and it promises to be a pleasure to get to know them all properly.
At the end of the album show, we are treated to a rare PWGG encore ("we don't like encores...BUT, if you want more we have prepared more....") of probably the best-loved track from each of the previous studio albums - 'Sestra' from cherished debut Pink Fur and 'Cannonball Villages' from acclaimed follow-up Feeling Strange. The whole event is pervaded by a real feel-good factor - the Brudenell Social Club really does love PWGG and PWGG really do love the Brudenell back - and my overriding image is of a band in their element, silhouetted against their self-made backdrop of primary coloured scales, crowd going wild as the love-in reaches its peak.
Another momentous Post War Glamour Girls affair.