Grammatics vs Blue Roses: Nation of Shopkeepers

As soon as I heard about this gig I knew it would be something to remember. Two local acts with critically acclaimed début albums released this year, coming together to play a joint acoustic (ish) set, and for free! Nation of Shopkeepers, a fairly new venue in Leeds, has already made a name for itself within the Leeds music scene for its plentiful quality free gigs.

First up on the bill was Just Handshakes (We’re British) who had to rename themselves for the night as Polite Foreign Greetings due to advertising issues. I’m losing count of how many times I’ve seen them live recently, as they always happen to appear on the bill here there and everywhere at the moment. One thing that is evident is that they are getting better very quickly. Their music has the innocence of twee yet is more substantial somehow, and, in my opinion, they are definitely one of the freshest bands around Leeds currently.

The venue was heaving as the full line-up of Grammatics and Laura Groves and Josh Taylor of Blue Roses took the stage. What followed is difficult to describe but falls somewhere close to mind-blowing. The members of each band seemed to compliment the other’s songs with ease; it’s sad really that they can’t do this all the time, their sounds are that complimentary. For example, Blue Roses song ‘Coast’ felt more empathic alongside Grammatics’ rhythm section and Owen Brinley’s backing vocals. This performance was a great showcase for the talent of Leeds and Bradford at the minute, especially with two of the best singers you’ll find in music this year. There’s more to West Yorkshire than the Kaiser Chiefs…