Caro: Oporto, Leeds

Leeds based alt-rock band Caro draw a big crowd to Oporto in Leeds. Supporting is Talmont – a South East London trio who formed at Goldsmiths University, combining a soulful vocal and richly textured synthesised melodies. Second support is female fronted Litany from Harrogate. Beth sings about innocent topics as powerfully as Adele and captures the crowd as the rest of the band fuel the sophisticated funky pop beats similar to La Roux or London Grammar. A real delight.

Male three-piece Caro are as cool as cucumbers headlining the evening. They open in unison striking power chords, the bass mimicking guitar and rim hits from the kit. Interesting tones are introduced in distorted low bass which compliments frontman Adam’s higher range vocal which resonates across the room to dominate the songs.

Adam reminds me of Adam Levine with his voice and in his appearance (and name). His modern pop techniques on top of skilled guitar, heavy bass and intricate rhythms means Caro add their own touch to alternative rock particularly as they layer pad sounds in some tracks later in the set. Adam’s guitar effects are dreamy as he plucks melodic phrases and he balances his dynamics to allow space for his lyrics to be heard.

The trio are tight and appear reserved and polite on stage without much movement although the stage is a cosy fit. I’m reminded of Fiona Apple’s ‘Waltz’ as they begin ‘Cold Comfort’ in ¾ time and create an eerie sound, beginning with solo guitar and the band entering halfway through.

They introduce ‘Out To Get You’ which highlights intriguing characteristics in Adam’s voice and the arrangements strike me as quite theatrical. We hear a walking bassline and an unnerving monotonous guitar part with discordant moments. The kit keeps the song energised as the crowd nods along to the spooky vibes amplifying the room.

Contrastingly, most of their songs are upbeat with catchy hooks mixed with grit from the effects they have chosen, at times it is unclear as to which instrument is making which sound, particularly to see the stage over the busy crowd listening intently. Their variation continues as they flip from a Jeff Buckley sound with soft elements and a massive vocal crescendo to then a little ditty about ‘a goblin who feeds on love’ called ‘Monster Mime’ – telling a story in a similar vain to Maccabees.

They play their new single ‘Eyes On The Ground’ announcing they’ve ‘only played live once before’ but it goes down a treat. Long vocal moans carry over the synthesised walking melody and they deliver a complex arrangement in perfect harmony.

A key moment is near the end of the show where Adam vigorously uses a shaker into the mic followed by a sensual vocal over a groovy bassline. ‘Closet Lunatic’ released this year is the highlight of the set as the last track with a mesmerising lead guitar tone and a big climax repeating the lyric ‘underneath your goody two shoes is a dirty pair of socks that you’re never gonna wash’ blasting into a heavy full band outro.

A talent packed evening with three exciting acts well worth discovering. Caro are making a loud noise in Leeds and are sure to keep getting louder across the UK.

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