I was genuinely looking forward to tonight’s gig. One of my all time favourite venues (The Cockpit, Leeds) with a line-up that’s undoubtedly up there among the best of the year.
Punctuality isn’t normally high on a band’s list of priorities but Arcane Roots arrive right on time, waltzing casually through the crowd before clambering on stage,barely recognized by anybody who isn’t already familiar with their alternative rock styling’s. Considering the fact that it’s so fucking cold you can see your breath and everyone else’s, it was always going to take a seriously good support act to warm up the crowd. Arcane Roots are all that and more and it surely won’t be long until they make the jump to major headliners with a sound as inventive and strong as theirs. ‘You Are’, from their EP ‘Left Fire’ is already taking on ANTHEMIC qualities with soaring group vocals and hooks packaged with Biffy Clyro-esque off-kilter guitar riffs. Throw in front man Andrew Groves’ uncanny resemblance to Simon Neil and it’s easy to see where the comparisons are coming from but Arcane Roots showed tonight why they’re a different animal altogether. In songs like ‘Long & Low’ and ‘In This Town of Such Weather’ they show an ability to mix electrifying screams and shit kicker guitar riffs with moments of real sentiment and falsetto vocals and tonight’s crowd certainly thaws out, quickly warming to the task of flinging themselves around and (In the case of a few guys down in front) singing along to every word. It’s a fantastic start to the night and it’s testament to the band that the 30 minutes they were given seems to go by in the blink of an eye.
Taking on the poisoned chalice of having to follow that act are Dinosaur Pile-Up. Their drummer Mike Sheils is bizarrely bombarded quite abrasively by the crowd with requests for him to take his coat off and then his glasses. Sufficed to say it’s an odd start to their set, but they’re truly an effortlessly cool band and they don’t pay too much attention before ripping into their set. Effectively playing to a home town crowd in Leeds, their musicianship is a lot more simple but certainly no less effective. They sound like the devilish illegitimate love-child of Nirvana and Feeder, especially during songs like ‘Never That Together’ and ‘Barce-Loner’, all relentless grunge riffs and lazy vocals from talented singer Matt Bigland, driven along by fantastic drumming from Sheils. Who has finally taken his coat off, to the frankly baffling delight of some audience members. There are also some more subtle, atmospheric breakdowns worthy of one-time tour mates The Xcerts in songs like ‘My Rock n’ Roll’, showing why this is another three piece capable of making a lot of different noises, all of them very impressive.