Tweeting that this was their last gig before putting some hard graft into album number three, it was no surprise this Leisure Society gig had such an atmosphere. From a pub that was typically chilled out for a school night, to the heave of bodies that soon filled the dance floor, made the anticipation almost palpable. By the time support act Dan Michaelson hit the stage, the place was packed and the crowd eager.
It would have been difficult for people unable to see the stage to notice that Dan Michaelson’s set had even started, with a style that gently crept into your consciousness like a cat burglar. Sat with just a guitar, his accompaniment and drenched in blue light, Michaelson certainly knew how to set the mood. His voice was quiet, husky and at times incomprehensible – strangely comparable to that of Rolf, the piano-playing dog from The Muppets. Don’t let this put you off too much though, his set was filled with emotion and was genuinely heartfelt from start to finish, with a sombre style that lulled you into a state of relaxation that you didn’t know you could reach in a live setting. The overall reaction however, was one that indicated this support could well have been a little mismatched, when compared to the more up tempo main act and left a rather unsure tone. The talent was there, but Michaelson needed a little more live presence.
The Leisure Society had no such trouble. As soon as they hit the stage, it was clear this was exactly where they wanted to be, with their fans. Opening with ‘We Were Wasted‘, Nick Hemming’s vocals filled the room in this eerie tune and was a statement of the standard to come. They didn’t disappoint, following with ‘Save It For Someone Who Cares,’ showcasing a hint of The Divine Comedy in its blend of harmony and upbeat tone, despite the lyrics. The feeling of sentiment in this set was clear and apparent in their first single ‘The Last Of The Melting Snow‘ – some true affection seeped into its performance and was reciprocated by the awed silence of onlookers. The banter from LS reinforced that feeling, asking the crowd to scream like they were at ‘a Metallica concert’ as they took commemorative photographs. With a set list that seemed near-perfect, in songs like the instantly recognisable ‘Darkest Place I Know‘ and by putting their own unique stamp onto the Erasure classic ‘A Little Respect,’ The Leisure Society’s harmonies, both vocal and instrumental, proved masterful and effective. Ending the pre-encore set with ‘I Shall Forever Remain An Amateur,’ they left to rapturous applause and with a heartfelt ‘thank you’, and here is where it should have ended. Instead the following three tracks felt a little too much for this intimate setting and were simply not as strong a finish. This wasn’t too much of an issue however, after a set as divine as theirs; I doubt anyone gave a monkey’s.