The very hip Headrow House, in Leeds, hosted three local and very credible bands, which despite varying degrees of notoriety are all at the beginnings of hopefully long music careers. First on stage was Peakes, a band so new that I am yet to find any social media presence from them. Fronted by an excellent female vocalist backed by synth and pounding drums, Peakes offered a similar style to that of Woman’s Hour and London Grammar. While providing high quality vocals the vocalist was an unassuming but mesmeric stage presence. The forcefulness of the drumming also particularly caught the eye.
DUSK then carried on from the solid foundations laid by Peakes. They had a bit more punch, in their drums and synth especially, but Holly Matthews’s vocals had more of an ethereal quality. They experiment well with structure, including some swift gear changes and the occasional drum solo. A large proportion of the quality work they produce comes from the wide array of keyboard skills on show from Sarah Hayes. Her playing style regularly switches from classical to creating a sense of dread then back to light, floaty, tones. DUSK are a band with wide ranging appeal and I can see them having a bright future. Finally it was the turn of KRRUM, a multi-faceted act who created a great atmosphere despite being let down slightly by the sound engineer.
KRRUM arrived on stage to an animated visuals backdrop and began with “Morphine”. Their unique blend of styles and influences is heavily marketable and seems to slot perfectly into Radio 1 playlist territory. You could easily imagine “Evil Twin” being used in a trailer for ‘Made In Chelsea’, and whether you think that is a good thing or not it is certainly good for KRRUM, and a busy Headrow House lapped it up. They incorporate elements of indie, synth-pop, R ‘n’ B and electronic, bass heavy, dance music which all slot together perfectly. Unfortunately a couple of these many ingredients seemed to get lost in the mixing desk as you could see them being performed but there was no audible evidence of it. Many a time the chorus vocals, performed by Alex, were way too quiet but you could see he was straining and doing his part. From all the press you read about KRRUM pre-gig you except Alex to be the front man, as he is certainly the poster boy (literally) and it seems to be his project but he is definitely not the lead singer. The weight of the vocals are performed, impressively, by their guitarist. Towards the end they featured their latest singles “Evil Twin” and “Hard On You” as their set got increasingly more infectious, more funk influenced bass lines appeared and the tempo rapidly picked up.