Brudenell Social Club’s Games Room hosted a very intimate gig with a close to capacity audience at the venues smaller stage. The lack of space was counteracted with an abundance of quality from three very different, but highly promising, bands. It was originally meant to be in the main room but was changed, I presume due to lack of sales. This turned out to be a bonus for the crowd as witnessing three talented and creative acts squashed into a small space gave you the feeling that you were witnessing something special. In a few years time I imagine plenty of them will be telling the story of when “I saw The Big Moon in a tiny venue at the back of a pub in Leeds, before anyone knew who they were”. I picked The Big Moon for this hypothetical reminiscing as they were the headliners but the sentence is equally as applicable to the other two support acts.
The first on stage, and the ones that impressed me the most, were Leeds based Sympathiser (formally Jasper House). They are a four piece with no gimmicks or pretence, performing completely in the moment and trusting their ability and creativity to win over the audience. Their opening number really showcased the levels of creative flair that the band possesses. It gave you the impression that they had just decided to jam on stage for a couple of minutes before properly getting going as they impressively switched from atmospheric blues riffs to catchy jazz influenced sections. Throughout their set they displayed a huge variety of different influences, even some 90’s style Mansun type moments. The highlight of this short set was their latest single “Too Much”, lead singer Sam Pycroft’s effortless vocals proved to be captivating. This band have a wealth of talent and deserve much more recognition in the future.
Sympathiser were followed by the ferociously energetic Virgin Kids. Despite lead singer and guitarist Asher Preston, who bares a striking physical resemblance to Ryan Jarman, having tonsillitis they didn’t hold anything back. They had a very Californian style similar to Wavves, surfer music undertones with explosive angst forming the main body of the work and elements of grunge. Never standing still on stage, constantly rhythmically jolting around, matching their energy input with the intensity of the music they create.
Both warm-up acts had set a very high standard for headliners The Big Moon and they pushed on from this kick start. From the very first track it struck me that they had arranged their songs so that the backing vocals were almost more integral to each piece than the lead. This was refreshing but it also clarified that they are a band who revel in their uniqueness. Each member of the band contributed either backing or lead vocals of a very high grade, and they were even more prolific in their musicianship and imaginative compositions. Pounding drums and wandering, rumbling. bass drove each piece as they switched from moody lows to frenetic explosions in the flicker of an eye. They all have casual and undeniably cool dress sense and demeanours but they stray away from the indifferent and distant personalities which often go hand in hand. On stage they are warm, bright, welcoming and engaging. Without exception they were smiley bundles of joy, clearly having a great deal of fun in the process. Highlights included “Nothing Without You”, “Sucker” and a frankly brilliant cover of Madonna’s “Beautiful Stranger”.