Live at Royal Park Cellars on Friday, 20th April 2001
The Royal Park Cellars has a rapidly growing reputation, and gets better every time you catch a band down here. Steve Kind and soundman Terry do an excellent job for young up-and-coming bands and more established names alike, with every band getting a fair deal and a good crack. The sound can leave a little to be desired at times, but venues like this trade more on their intimacy and atmosphere rather than the perfect recreation of a crystal-clear sound. It's a great venue to see a rock band in, simply cos you don't often get the opportunity to be so close to the musicians.
Former Brass Monkey and Charly Six frontman DANNY CARR kicked off the night, the third in the series of showcases designed to support the Bright Young Things CDs given away on the front cover of this month's Leeds Guide magazine in conjunction with the council. Danny doesn't feature on the CD, but came second in the former Battle of the Bands format BYT had a few years ago, so he opened the night due to certain bands deciding they weren't up for playing the Royal Park. Danny is ably supported by Mike Quarry from local rocky popsters 5ft4 on percussion, but Danny is the star here: his soaring, vibrant voice lending an emotional touch to his wistful, melodic and often touching songs. A cover of Patience by Guns 'n' Roses is probably the weak spot here, which says a lot about the character of Danny's set. For a solo spot, he has a lot of stage presence, and he knows just how to use that larynx of his to full effect, occasionally coming across a bit like Kelly Jones or Rod Stewart (this is a compliment, by the way!). He can work a crowd too: he's one of the few musicians on the Leeds rock scene who I can think of to have the audacity to get the audience to sing along to a song they don't know... and then they bloody well go and do it. Finishing off his set with the rock 'n' roll smashing of his acoustic guitar, Danny made a lot of friends here tonight.
Three-piece Leeds/Harrogate band NYM were up next. They come across as nice lads on stage, but just don't have the tunes to cut it. Bass player Evan looks the part and has the confidence of a seasoned pro but singer Gareth looks more nervous than a pregnant nun. His vocals are fairly weak and the melodies are samey and predictable. Drummer James seems nervy too and loses beats here and there. Songs wise, Nym are a tad lo-fi with hints of pop in there. If you mixed up the Manics, Supergrass and the Pixies you might be somewhere near. They have the occasional interesting idea, but never really carry them off. Overall, Nym need to work on their sound as a whole, write some new songs and get some confidence especially.
Headlining are INERTIA from Kippax. Now Inertia started badly. The songs had no direction; they lacked vigour and weren't playing especially well. However, as time went on they improved and actually ended up being really quite good. Inertia have two singers, Dean and Rob, both of whom have impressive voices, and a good rapport with the audience. Bass player Becky seems nervous and lets the side down a little as far as stage presence is concerned, but doesn't really put a foot wrong. Inertia are like a mix between the Stereophonics, Jeff Buckley and Oasis, but don't really have their own sound yet. What they do have is boundless enthusiasm for what they do and a damn good time. A cover of Day Tripper could have swung it either way but by now Inertia were doing looooooads better and it proved to be a bit of a highlight. Finishing with their song from the BYT CD, Life's a Bitch (which is incidentally far better live than on the CD), Inertia entertained but didn't really revelate. But if you wanna see a no-strings rocky pop band who wanna have fun, Inertia are well worth a look.
Pete from now-defunct local rockers Cube tried to 'help' me with my review but I think he'd been on the Babycham again:
"With their Wheatus-looking singer, it remains to be seen that Inertia can really appeal to all teenage dirtbags. Bass, oh bass, oh bass me up baby, as she twangs her twig like a broken axe, keep it real in your own real world... there is a height somewhere and that's five foot four and you crashed my Danny fucking Carr."