Hosted by local behemoth Futuresound Events, Tangerines’ appearance at Brudenell Social Club marks the end of a UK tour which coincided with the release of their debut album “Into the Flophouse”, released by RIP Records in May. Tonight also sees the bluesy garage rockers supported by not one, not two, but THREE local bands!
Leeds newbies Party Hardly kicked off the evening with their infectious brand of fuzzy power pop. It’s still early at the Brudenell but Party Hardly do not let the sparse audience deter them. They launch into their set with an admirable vigour, blasting through latest single ‘Have We Got Time’ and into the woozy, melodic refrain of trademark track ‘Jobs’. For a band who have barely been together a year, Party Hardly showcase a surprisingly cohesive and harmonious sound. It is both striking and refreshing to see a band genuinely enjoying each other’s company and relishing the opportunity to play together – at times it feels like Party Hardly are having their own private party, and the audience are merely envious onlookers.
Next up is the Nirvana-esque grunge of another local band, Wuzi. The rumbling vocals of lead singer Callum Smith are reinforced by a strong backdrop of distorted guitars and compelling, melodic bass lines. It is difficult to locate Wuzi in their northern English roots – they are obviously heavily influenced by the alt-rock of the Pacific Northwest and their sound fluctuates somewhere between Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Their set ends in a final roar of energy which results in an attempted mosh-pit from a small number of audience members (which sadly, fails – the venue is not yet busy enough for any form of controlled violence).
Bradford boys FLING are on next, and quickly become the unexpected highlight of the gig for the now packed-out audience, who are delighted by lead singer Charles McSorley’s flamboyant performance. Their music is defined by an abundance of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ against a backdrop of contagious, psychedelic melodies. Their lyrics oscillate between frivolous triviality and throbbing political statements, with not much in between. All this is accompanied by McSorley’s profuse topless stage writhing and histrionic posturing. Visually, FLING seem to be channelling the eccentricity of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie. Sound-wise, their self-described ‘wonky pop’ is not dissimilar to the experimental pop punk of Fat White Family. Their set is both chaotic and charismatic in equal measures. As a Bradford girl, I am both surprised and excited by FLING – anyone who knows Bradford will agree that the city is not renowned for its dynamic glam-punk bands!
After an epic trio of support bands, Tangerines finally take to the stage at around 10:30pm. They launch straight into their latest single ‘You Look Like Something I Killed’, which was mixed by MJ from Leeds band Hookworms. ‘You Look Like Something I Killed’ manages to be both raucous and mellow at once and is a triumphant display of the band’s trademark bluesy Americana. Tangerines are another band on tonight’s bill who sound out of time and place – their lo-fi, shoegazing dream pop coupled with frontman Gareth Hoskins’ very definite American drawl sounds more late 60’s American South than contemporary south-east London. Lead guitarist Miles Prestia exhibits raw talent with classically melodious riffs oozing from every song. This is perfectly complemented by Hoskins’ gravelly tenor which sits somewhere between Mick Jagger and Lou Reed.
Despite being musically stunning, Tangerines’ performance seems to lack some of the high-octane vigour of their support bands and Hoskins often looks bored – particularly when addressing the audience. I have it on good authority that this is part of the band’s live persona, and maybe it came a little too late in the evening, but it doesn’t seem to be grabbing the audience’s attention. The set highlight is an impressive instrumental interlude which really highlights the band’s dexterity and range. Many of the tracks from debut album “Into the Flophouse” deliver a delightfully sunny buzz of textural neo-psychedelia and musically, the live performance does this vibe justice. Tracks such as ‘Peckham Boys’ and ‘Long Way Home’ are upbeat and optimistic on the album but they seem to lurk rather more ominously when delivered live. Hoskins’ enunciation is gruff and raspy and lacks some of the polish of the album version. However, this is certainly not a negative – It gives the band a more visceral, raw sound which hints at something more than mere modern interpretation of 1960s proto-punk.