Sea Pinks at one of the more intimate venues in Leeds, Wharf Chambers, had a very underground, counter-culture, feel to the night. It was populated by alternative, true indie-cool, types, not hipsters, and there was even one man reading a book in the corner between acts.
First of these ultra credible acts was The Tall Boy, a solo performer armed only with a guitar and a drum track. It was a joy to witness the creativity of one man making the same amount of noise a whole band would. Next up was one member of Former Bullies, as the rest of the band were unavailable due to work commitments. Band member Nick took to the stage alone with just a guitar and his impressive vocals. His timid but relaxed delivery provided soothing gentle tones which combined with his shy persona really won over the audience. Nick was later joined by a stand-in drummer as the tracks picked up pace for some very infectious numbers and riffs.
Penultimately came Leeds based Hilary and the Hate Crimes, my personal highlight of the evening. Comprising of Hilary Cowtown from Cowtown, obviously it is a condition of her involvement that every band she is in somehow incorporates part of her name, and members of Two-minute Noodles and d’Astro. They packed vast amounts of energy into a short set, Hilary in particular as she impressively thrashed out some complex and intricate drumming patterns. They began with some big atmospheric numbers before progressing to moodier angst ridden grit, reminiscent of the first The Horrors album but with added twists. The vocals were punk inspired and possessed a hint of Ian Curtis from the early Joy Division, “Warsaw”, period. It was a towering and memorable set complete with plenty of experimentation with structure as each track built and evolved from its base point.
Finally Sea Pinks picked up from where Hilary and the Hate Crimes left off. This performance helped cement the notion that there is a lot more going on with Sea Pinks than is perhaps obvious on first listen. The wandering bass lines really drive each track and seemed far more prominent than on their albums. Lead singer and guitarist Neil Brogan’s vocals were flawless as they transport you into a daydream state, profoundly he achieves this whilst seemingly expending a minimal amount of effort, the words trickle out of his mouth in a constantly impeccable stream. His lyrics make you sympathise, relate, and wish for better times, while simultaneously providing you with hope for the future and lifting your spirits, “Yr Horoscope” being a prime example. The sheer talent of Sea Pinks combined with the tiny venue and an audience with their finger on the pulse of credibility make you feel like you were at the birth of a movement, hopefully one where bands like Sea Pinks begin to receive the plaudits they deserve. Their carefully planned set gathered pace as it progressed underlining what a great live act they are.