Live at Cockpit on Tuesday, 23rd January 2007
The last time Watford went head to head with Leeds, the action took place on a football field and the results were a little different. With The Cockpit tonight resembling more of a battlefield than a football field the sparks were bound to fly. Representing Leeds, and with the daunting task of opening tonight's proceedings, The Hydropaths certainly have their hands full. Their bouncy punk racket and odd tender acoustic sing-along provides enough entertainment and cheap laughs in between to sufficiently banish any first gig nerves. Featuring members of Leeds legends Dead Pets, there'll certainly be more from these lads in the future.
The Plight however, are an altogether different beast. I'm unsure weather the huge empty space between band and audience is because the kids are too cool to dance, or the more likely reason that they're absolutely fucking terrified. Either way, vocalist Al is having none of it, lunging at the crowd at any opportunity, stuffing the mic in whoever's face demands it, and the crowd love it. Being that they are a member down tonight (their bass player has gone AWOL in the States), you'd expect a cobbled together half-set and a fistful of disappointment, but you'd be wrong. The band perfectly demonstrate the star quality that elevates them above being just another Leeds band by taking what they've got, turning it up to 11 and rocking the fuck out. And that's a lot more than we could have asked for.
When talking about star quality, Gallows are sure to get a mention, and these lads are fucking scary. Vocalist Frank Carter dives into the crowd headfirst, mic-stand in hand and proceeds to violate anyone that gets in his way. His mic-stand takes the worst of it, at one point appearing to upset him before he crunches it into a useless mess with his boot. Guitarist Laurent Bernard carves a similar path behind him, taking the opportunity to get out and about and up in a few faces, although I doubt he needed an invite. Everything you've heard about this band is true, and then some. To describe one of their shows, you'd need to use words like "carnage", "insanity" or "chaos", and I'd be willing to bet that there isn't a moment tonight when the majority of the crowd don't fear for their safety, at least until the music stops. Between songs the band are positively charming, a respectful nod towards the Leeds scene from Frank sees not only tonight's support acts, but a fist full of other Leeds bands getting a shout out. Basically here is a band who's hype you can believe, as talented and visceral as you'd heard, with an album as good as they come, all without ego. A certain Leeds based, riot predicting band might do well to take note of that.
Raucous rock and roll punk rock with an folk tinge.