Live at Brudenell Social Club on Saturday, 24th February 2007
The Brudenell has played host to a number of extremely special shows in recent times, and tonight Vessels laid down a pretty good claim as to why this should go down as one of them. The homecoming gig of their UK tour, tonight showcased some of the very best in emerging talent from Leeds, culminating in one of the finest shows Radio One's favourite unsigned band have ever performed.
i concur's guitarist Chris played with Vessels during their closing number at last year's Leeds Festival, and his new band find themselves on a bill with their friends tonight. Unfortunately the crowd is still fairly sparse, but the band's blend of classic guitar indie with ambient, eclectic post rock goes down well with those in attendance. Their sound is full tonight, with shimmering guitars bouncing around over a strong and confident rhythm section. Their music needs some development, and I Concur need to take some time to ensure their songs demand the interest of their audience, but it's nice to find a band so sure of their sound so early on in their career. Give them a year, and I can imagine bigger and better things.
Downdime don't really fit the bill tonight - it's a straightforward guitary-synthy-indie affair with nice vocals and some catchy melodies. As much as it would certainly appeal to its target audience, it's nothing particularly special or unique. Still, they have a hardcore elite of fans nodding along at the front, and with the attention they've been getting, who can blame Downdime for treading the same old water?
Itch, on the other hand, are fantastic. Occupying ground somewhere between The Cure and yourcodenameis:milo, and fronted by a man who inexplicably wears an army helmet onstage, Itch deliver an enthralling and exciting performance. Screeched vocals over largely clean guitars, energetically showcased by a group of obviously talented musicians, is the name of the game here. It works incredibly well, and despite its alternative nature the whole thing is entirely catchy and memorable. One of the most refreshing local bands around at the moment.
Immune have some technical glitches and the singer looks to be in a bit of a mood, but once that's over the set progresses nicely. They have some nice progressive synth noise going on, with a strong vocal and a real sense of identity, but watching them I get the impression that the people most into Immune's music are Immune themselves. It's impressive and atmospheric, but at times irritatingly self-indulgent, to the point where it detracts from the unmistakable quality of the music they're playing.
And so on to Vessels, the main event. They've been on tour for a while but the fatigue doesn't show. Vessels pour every ounce of strength and passion into a phenomenal 40-minute performance that showcases everything that's right about this band and its blend of post rock, electronica, indie and metal. They have an incredible talent of knowing exactly when to make that chord change, strike that note, power into that rhythm, drop the beat out, whatever. Every single moment of their music seems meticulously crafted yet wholly natural at the same time. Tonight's performance curiously omits current single Yuki, but includes an abundance of fresh material, including one song where sort-of-frontman Lee J. Malcolm drops his guitar and thumps away at a second drum kit, resulting in a breathtakingly huge sound. The band, of course, close the night with the enormous Look At That Cloud!, their signature song since their formation 18 months ago. It's slow and brooding - perhaps a little too slow tonight - and culminates in one of the most emotionally powerful climaxes you're ever likely to hear in music. Radio One recently tipped Vessels as the hottest unsigned band in the country. On this performance, there's no argument from me.
Punked-up psychedelic indie pop.
Alt-americana / Post rock.