Esper Scout: Full Circle Arts Cafe, Leeds

The industrial nature of Full Circle Art Café’s location on Kirkstall Road is soon forgotten when you enter and realise that behind its unassuming exterior lurks a hipster’s haven.

Paintings by local artists adorn the walls, sumptuous sofas and cushions sit invitingly in every corner and veggie hot dogs are on offer in the kitchen. They might want to think about investing in a better heating system, however – how else are the punters expected to show off their Animal Collective t-shirts if they have to wear their coats all night?

If the world is destined to end on 21st December, then I can think of no better soundtrack than E N V O Y S, whose crushing post-rock/metal hybrid soon makes you forget that your hands feel like they’re about to fall off. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this four piece had sat around and discussed the idea of creating music solely for the purpose of providing a colossal musical backdrop to the sight of buildings crashing to the ground and people running for the hills.

With a stage as big as Leeds United’s trophy cabinet, there was little room for manoeuvre for the band, leading the guitarist to pull a procession of swoon-tastic rock moves on the steps, which had more than a few folks hot under the collar. The future’s certainly bright for this band – just as long as the world doesn’t cease to exist.

Most bands would struggle to follow the titanic sound of E N V O Y S and Insatellites are unfortunately no different.A promising start hints at a set of Brand New-inspired angsty alt-rock, but it soon loses its way and touches upon too many genres for there to be any sense of consistency. There’s certainly hints of promise for Insatellites, but they need to solve their identity crisis if they’re going to fulfil their potential.

After enduring a near-unbearable two-’song’ interlude by performance artist Herb Diamante, it’s time for the main attraction, Esper Scout – not that you’d particularly know it from size of the crowd, which had been steadily decreasing since the culmination of E N V O Y S’ set.

The gig was designed to launch the band’s new single ‘Gaps in the Border Fence’ and its accompanying video and musically there’s much to enjoy in Esper Scout’s woozy indie rock, particularly the tight rhythm section which helps ensure the evening enjoys a much-needed injection of momentum after the agonising performance by Herb Diamante.

However, the sheer volume of between-song ‘banter’ gives the impression that it’s an exclusive party for friends and family, which means I struggle to shake the feeling that I’m peering through the looking glass into a party I wasn’t invited to.