It was cold and eerie night in the games room, of Brudnell Social Club in Leeds. A troubled looking young hipster-type, stumbles around an intimate stage, his guitar creating a whirlwind of fuzz as everyone stands in awe and confusion. It’s a local shoegaze band, by the name of, Northern Shore, and they’re the opening act for what was due to be a special, yet dark night.
The first band continue in a melancholy, yet at times uplifting set, of fuzzy artisticness. The way they seem to weave about the stage, as the front man occasionally pops onto the mic, is quite magical. The guitars are atmospheric and create a soundscape like no other, that engulfs the whole room. Their single ‘Divide’ really catches your ear, midway through the performance. With the swishing of ethereal guitars echoing through the room. The instrumentation fits together perfectly, in a strange broken kind of way. On their last song, the singer wanders into the crowd area and starts screaming in cries of political activism. Something about the Tories, and how they don’t give a f**k about us. An idea quite popular at the moment, between independent music scenes.
The next act Polevaulter, were a loud and relentless Alt-noise band from Huddersfield. They provided the audience with an angry and passionate post punk explosion. Their set was fittingly messy at points and disjointed, but it fitted the vibe perfectly. The band members, look like the poster child for the post-punk genre. Discontent and frustrated at society, as the singer yells emotionally, yet apathetically, over a trashy and jagged guitar track, backed by belting drums. They finish abruptly, and just how they started with an aura of ‘who cares’, as they wander of the stage, after performing an all-round quality set.
No one quite does it like Narcs. A savage alt-rock/post-punk four-piece from Leeds. They’ve been about, all over the UK independent circuit recently, and with good reason. They put on an absolute crazy live performance. The lead singer of the band wanders into the middle of the stage, wearing what looks like a turtle neck. It’s as if he’s about to do an opera, as he scans the room. I can’t help feeling he was a little p***ed off at the turn out tonight. Just an observation, but the way he nonchalantly wandered the room gazing at everyone in the spaced-out crowd, was somewhat odd. Although, it definitely added to the performance, and put a sort of story behind the music. I hear him muttering something about not making any money through music, maybe it was bitterness about the modern music industry. Regardless, their set was brutal. The frontman took centre stage/dance floor, with his piercing heavy vocals. However, there was a musical masterpiece going on behind him, with the band. All the members playing on the stage, were really getting into it, as the singer slowly walked around the dance floor in an eerie kind of way. It was as if he was about to have a mental breakdown, which just added the wonderful hellishness, that is Narcs!
Spectres set was something very different. Their dark and muddy guitar sounds, rumbled the room relentlessly and made everyone stop and take it in. There wasn’t much moshing going on tonight, however there was some serious pieces of art going down. Spectres really do push the boundaries of music as an art form. They have crazy soul-lifting chorus’s with mind blowing fuzz-filled verses, in front of galloping drums, that create an insanely unique kind of sound, that I’ve never heard before. At times their music doesn’t make sense, but at the same time, there’s a strange collective ‘wall of sound’ that pierces through the room. It’s unlike the wall of the 90’s, filled with fuzz and euphoria. It’s something a little different and a little darker. The kind that makes your hair stand up on ends.
With speeches of overthrowing the Tories and a collective bitterness against mainstream society, tonight had me thinking about something a little deeper. That maybe the darker and grittier sound of the scene, is a reflection of current times. A sense of all hope is gone, a white flag proclaiming that the kids aren’t okay. It’s like a modern repeat of the punk-era or 60’s counter-culture, just now the enemies weapons, are more technologically advanced. However there’s a glimmer of hope there. A bucket overflowing with our passions. Brimming with music, beer and countless clique sub-cultures of friends, that we’ll lose touch with in time. A stark reminder that history repeats itself, and if we stick together as one, and fight for what we love, all will be okay. Just for the record… This was my first time at the Brude, and it definitley won’t be my last. Cheers for an unbelievable and memorable night guys, keep it up. The scene needs you!