Live at Joseph's Well on Wednesday, 1st February 2006
It seems that everywhere you turn these days, someone is writing a review or on TV or maybe just down the pub declaring the excellence of the current Leeds music scene. Without wanting to jump on the bandwagon, that's exactly what I'm going to do! When you can wander down to the Well on a Wednesday night not even vaguely recognising a name on the line-up (hopefully this isn't just my naivety) and be treated to a night of ballsy rock fun that would make Leeds Festival blush then surely things are on the up and up, and up and up. Maybe I'm getting carried away, blindsided by the delirium five pints of cider can cause, or light headed from the lack of food I ingest as part of the typical scrounging student diet but not one band came near to disappointment.
It's very hard to compare unique female singers, without wanting to fall into the conscribed clichés of Debbie Harry, Kate Bush or the more recent addition of Karen O to the movement. So I won't, which is probably the reason opening band Metro's lead singer Sally Tucker managed to astound the tiny audience which had assembled for the opening act. Even this dwindling crowd of maybe 15 who were hugging the walls, afraid of bounding into the no man's land that was the middle of the floor were shell-shocked into a slight jive. The sound was solid and thick as the bass smashed the few lucky punters into submission, and the American inspired rhythms reminiscent of an early Green Day only endeared the trio further. Simple lyrics in the catchy pop of tracks such as 'Alter Ego' somewhat detract from the sterling efforts on show, but just maybe keeping it simple really is better.
Second act Melody Maker swagger onto the stage full with all the jaw-dropping confidence the monkey man Ian Brown himself would be proud of. They quickly burst into a set of early nineties sounding gritty rock, which prompted a general swelling of the crowd. With all wall hugging antics now long and gone the band ripped through a neat set of subtle buzzing riffs that even induced some Bez style maraca shaking from an elderly fan. Drifting in and out of consciousness through the numerous tunes, could be seen as a bad review of the set however the gentle Charlatan-esque rhythms simply lulled me into appreciation.
Up next, The Portraits, their diversity hitting us with sixties swing to pop joviality in equal measures. By now the evening is already shaping up to be an unexpected jewel in the sand, so the determined crunch on show served up as the perfect starter for what was to be a fantastic final effort. But more of The Portraits, the vocals tore the Well up with the speakers taking a serious beating and thankfully loving every minute of it as did the crowd who were by now as excited for the final onslaught as I had become.
And so to The Lies, quite frankly impossible to pigeonhole. Garage, mod and soul all screamed from the rooftops and reigning down upon the willing spectators. The front duo of Fletch and Jason put on an amazing spectacle for the all the right reasons. The cheeky grin and mid-flight banter of the stand up comic, the groove and verve of the sultry soul singer, and the frantic passion of early The Jam making every chord struck seem like it was the last of their lives.
For all aspiring musicians or singers dreaming of a life of stage prancing delight, these guys are the real deal proving that even in the humblest of locations you can still create massive rock moments. The sharp annunciation of the vocals into a deafening scream, on tracks such as 'Drowning' made this one of the most enjoyable evenings this cruel winter has had to offer. By now the £4 pound entry seemed my shrewdest purchase in a long time, and enough to ensure another few quid spent down at the Well in the hope of another blinding set.