Live at Joseph's Well on Saturday, 1st June 2002
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Sometimes a band comes along with a little extra. I had seen this band in Leicester on the Wednesday, its Saturday now and I'm in Leeds for only the third time in my life. Star Bodixa begin their set with "Give Me Rain", their limited edition single released on Uglyman. It hits you right away in a Spiritualised come PJ Harvey style and I congratulate myself on making that trip up the M1.
The crowd is a happy one, obviously a few friends and family in there, and that makes for a nice vibe. Some bands play, this band perform and that is largely thanks to the front person Anna, she commands a stage like she's been up there all her life, Universe Song is a fav of mine already and it is here that she persuades the crowd to let go and really get going with the whole set. Emily's harmonies give the songs an extra spark, Emily in fact is an important part of the bands stage presence, she much more than simply 'backing vocals'.
Overall there is a depth to their set, Star Bodixa come across as a band with three true radio friendly gems, the most catchy of which "Fairytailed" you can easily hear blaring our your radio as you drive home with the window down on its release this summer. At heart though, Star Bodixa are a deep band, and it is in their more thoughtful moments that this band really take you somewhere else. I had internal moments on both "Mr Trebus" and "Balloon", both timeless, gorgeous songs and very much the reason why I even considered a 100-mile journey north.
The set is longer than the half hour in Leicester and shows off their forthcoming album "And They Danced On Glass", a seemingly potent mix of their radio friendly summertime songs and their more brooding darker self.
If the album is anything like their live set then it should be every bit a debut album worth treasuring. Overall you get the feeling that Star Bodixa almost see their singles as an inducement for us all to let those special, deeper songs take us away. As this point in their early career you just hope that many people take that inducement, I certainly have.
Written by Sarah West
Joseph's Well that popular student pub and regular venue for up and coming bands in and around the Leeds area played host to Star*Bodixa who were making their first appearance this year, and since their enforced name change, 'Silverman' their Uglyman Records stablemates shared the bill, and opened the gig with some cracking songs from their dark and introspective new album "Speed of Life" (out now on UglyMan).
The music room had a small but lively audience, which quickly filled up when Star*Bodixa arrived on stage. The sound was a bit flakey for the first song but Om (I think that's his name?) soon sorted it out. The band opened with what is set to be their debut single 'Give Me Rain', - heavy guitars then falling to Anna's luscious vocals. They followed with the heartfelt "Mr Trebus - and what was that I saw Dave with, a 12 string Ricky!!! Then the ever popular "Aftertaste" with its soaring chorus and on through the songs from their debut album 'And They Walked On Glass', which is set for release in September - I can't wait. Anna changed the mood with a stunning version of the emotional "Film Song" which featured Emily (backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist) playing the flute - and were those real tears on Anna's cheeks?? Next the anthemic "Balloon". ..and finishing the set with the poptastic "Fairytailed" which Anna confidently predicted would be the single we all have to listen to it on our car radios!!! And what's this - an encore from Star*Bodixa... a rare treat with the calming "Rivers" ending the night's performance.. quite staggering!
The new versions of the songs were well received by the audience. The band were as competent as ever - tighter than I've seen them play, and they got the fans behind them. Anna (lead vocalist) showed that she can still work an audience, talking to them between songs, and there was a new rich heart-felt emotion to her voice on the ballads - particularly on "Film Song" , whilst belting out the up-tempo songs "Universe Song" and "Fairytailed". Emily's harmonies were a joy, and I even spotted bassist Daniel doing a bit of backing singing! Philip (Drummer) and Daniel (Bass guitarist) were very tight in the rhythm section, and David (lead guitarist) played some very subtle lead lines. Overall a good return to their home ground, and nice to hear the new productions of the songs Could have done with a bigger audience - but after all it is the World Cup, and the Millenium festivities - talking of which, I'll be in Millenium Square on Monday to see Star*Bodixa again!
"Give Me Rain" due for released on 15th July on UglyMan Records (available now to pre-order on-line through www.opalmusic.com).